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College Football Preview: ACC

Duke Johnson, Miami
All ACC Team
QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
RB Duke Johnson, Miami
RB/FB David Sims, Georgia Tech
WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
WR Devin Street, Pittsburgh
OL Cam Erving, Florida State
OL James Hurst, UNC
OL Seantrel Henderson, Miami
OL Bryan Stork, Florida State
OL Will Jackson, Georgia Tech
DE James Gayle, Virginia Tech
DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
DT Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest
DE Mario Edwards, Florida State
LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College
LB Spencer Shuey, Clemson
CB Ross Cockrell, Duke
CB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
S Merrill Noel, Wake Forest
S Tre Boston, UNC

Conference Realignment for ACC: Both Pittsburgh and Syracuse arrive from the Big East/ American Athletic, Pitt in the Coastal and Syracuse in the Atlantic. Maryland will move off to the Big Ten next season but they should soon be replaced by Louisville in 2014.


1. Clemson Tigers National Rank: 9th
The Tigers enter 2013 with the chance to have one of the most explosive and exciting offenses in the nation. Much of that is thanks to senior quarterback Tajh Boyd and junior Sammy Watkins, both who could figure into the Heisman race. The defense should also be much improved with the returns of end Vic Beasley and linebacker Spencer Shuey.

2. Florida State Seminoles National Rank: 17th
Even with E.J. Manuel off to the NFL and some losses across their roster the 'Noles have the talent on their roster to win their second straight ACC crown. Their backfield is stacked with talent with James Wilder and Devonta Freeman and their offensive line should remind some people of Alabama's last year. If redshirt freshman Jameis Winston takes over for Manuel anything is possible.

3. NC State Wolfpack National Rank: Unranked
The pressure is on for new coach Dave Doeren who arrives from Northern Illinois. The Wolfpack want to win now and they have the talent to do just that. Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas should likely take over Mike Glennon at quarterback and NC State has a lot of great receivers.

4. Maryland Terrapins National Rank: Unranked
It is actually kind of amazing the Terps won 4 games last year even with so many injuries. Senior C.J. Brown should likely take over the quarterback role full time this year after missing a lot of time in 2012 and has a true talent to throw to in sophomore Stefon Diggs. If Maryland stays healthy and they find a quality pass rusher a bowl is a real possibility.

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons National Rank: Unranked
The Demon Deacons could be the dark horses of this conference this year as a lot of underrated talent returns. Senior Tanner Price returns at QB along with wide receiver Michael Campanaro who averaged nearly 8 receptions a game a year ago. If guys like senior nose guard Nikita Whitlock and defensive back Merrill Noel step up Wake Forest could sneak up on people.

6. Syracuse Orange National Rank: Unranked
Syracuse's first year in the ACC won't be easy with the graduation of Ryan Nassib and the loss of coach Doug Marrone to the Buffalo Bills. The Orange have talent at the back positions with the return of seniors Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley.

7. Boston College Eagles National Rank: Unranked

Boston College went 2-10 last year and they have the talent to improve in 2013. Senior quarterback Chase Rettig returns after a 3,000 yard season and ranks fourth in school history in passing yardage. The defense has a talent in senior Kevin Pierre-Louis but there isn't enough playmakers to make a bowl this season.


1. Miami Hurricanes National Rank: Unranked
The return of a number of important playmakers means that the 'Canes should fight for an ACC crown especially in the weak Coastal division. Senior quarterback Stephen Morris returns along with explosive back Duke Johnson who didn't disappoint as a freshman in 2012. Miami's offense should put up a lot of points but if their defense improves anything is possible.

2. UNC Tar Heels National Rank: Unranked
In coach Larry Fedora's first year in Chapel Hill, the Heels proved that they are legit ACC threats going 8-4. Senior QB Bryn Renner proved to be one of the conference's best quarterbacks, recording 28 touchdowns. Replacing back Giovani Bernard will be priority number one as the Heels will likely rely on both A.J. Blue and Romar Morris.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies National Rank: Unranked
After a 42-13 the past four years the Hokies stumbled to a 7-6 mark last year, a startling fact. The defense should, as usual, be dominant with the return of senior end James Gayle, senior linebacker Jack Tyler and cornerback Kyle Fuller. If they get cornerback Antone Exum back healthy this defense should be the best in the ACC. But, unless Logan Thomas and this offense returns the Hokies won't improve much.

4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets National Rank: Unranked
The Yellow Jackets did reach the ACC championship game last season but it was mostly because of default as both Miami and UNC were ineligible. 16 starters return including dangerous back David Sims who ran for 612 yards last year. Sophomore Vad Lee is also back at quarterback after splitting time with now departed Tevin Washington in 2012. This defense should also be improved with the returns of senior Jeremiah Attaochu and sophomore Jabari Hunt-Days.

5. Pittsburgh Panthers National Rank: Unranked
The Panthers enter the ACC with questions at quarterback and back but should still be a strong team in 2013. Tino Sunseri who has started the last three seasons for Pitt is gone and who will replace him is a question mark. Junior Trey Anderson and Rutgers transfer Tom Savage will compete for the job. Whoever starts has one great target in senior Devin Street.

6. Duke Blue Devils National Rank: Unranked
6-7 may not be a cause of celebration for most BCS programs but Duke felt great about it. The Blue Devils snapped an 18-game streak of seasons without a bowl and even though they lost a heartbreaker to Cincinnati they were definitely happy about the experience. Junior Jamison Crowder and former defensive back Brandon Baxton should give the Devils some receivers to build on.

7. Virginia Cavaliers National Rank: Unranked
The excitement around Virginia died quickly last season. After a 8-5 surprising 2011 campaign the Cavs managed a 4-8 mark last year. They should likely start a new at quarterback after Michael Rocco transferred with sophomore David Watford. Junior back Kevin Parks and tight end Jake McGee are talents but won't be enough to change the fate of this season.

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