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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

The Confidential’s 2013 Football Preview

For long-time followers of the Confidential, you are familiar with our weekly polls.  This year, we will not begin our poll until after the Week 1 games.  This is something that we would like to see the major polls also do.  Watch some games before deciding 1 to 25.  But what we WILL do is provide our expectations regarding the tiers for the ACC teams (plus Notre Dame and Louisville).

Tier 1: The National Title Contenders: Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame, and Louisville

For this quartet, not making a BCS game would be a disappointment.  While there are other teams that would not be complete shockers to make a BCS game, these are the ones who not only have that expectation–it is a legitimate one.  All four of these schools are ranked in both major polls this preseason.  In fact, all are in the top 14 of both polls.  Louisville is obviously going to have to overcome a weak schedule to make a national championship game, but it remains possible.  Meanwhile, Clemson is a legit title contender with Boyd and Watkins.  Although Florida State and Notre Dame have some key personnel to replace, there is too much talent to ever count them out.  These schools are in a 4-way tie for #1 to begin the season.

Tier 2: The BCS Dark Horses: Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina

For this quartet of Coastal Division teams, the ACC Championship Game provides a path to a BCS bowl.  If they can win their division and pull an upset in the ACC CG, a BCS bowl could happen.  But, realistically, these teams have to be considered long shots.  Miami and North Carolina missed bowl games last year due to sanctions, while Virginia Tech had a very subpar season.  Although Georgia Tech appeared in the 2012 ACC CG, the season still had an air of disappointment.  Nevertheless, the potential is there to land in the Orange Bowl.  These schools are in a 4-way tie for #5 to begin the season.

Tier 3: Bowl Game or Bust: The Rest

The remaining schools ALL have bowl potential.  Of course, of these schools, only Pitt and NC State went to bowl games in both 2011 and 2012, and their combined record was 25-25 over that span.  Maryland and Boston College have each gone 6-18 the past two seasons.  Duke and Wake Forest have made one bowl game the past two seasons, but are a combined 20-29.  And Syracuse and Virginia have alternated 8 loss and 8 win seasons over that span, resulting in a 25-25 record.  So the downside is that ANY of these schools could fall short of a bowl game.  For now, the goal for these 8 schools is to just make a bowl. An 8-way tie for 9th place is how they begin the season.

What do you think?  Can you make a case for a Tier 2 team in Tier 1?  Who falls out?  What about Tier 2 and Tier 3?  Have you signed up for our free ACC Survivor League?  Why not???

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