The Confidential

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The Confidential’s ACC Football Roundtable: Preseason 2016

Every week, some or all of the Confidential’s correspondents will “roundtable” issues regarding the ACC, as well as recapping the week that was and previewing the week to come.  As we are still in the preseason, we are looking forward exclusively this week.

Q1: OK, with the football season right around the corner, who are the 5 best teams in the ACC (including Notre Dame) in order?  Which two are playing in the ACC Championship Game?  And who, if anyone, from the ACC will make the playoffs?

Steve Callahan (Notre Dame):  The Clemson Tigers are the best team in the ACC. Following them, is Florida State, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and the Miami Hurricanes.  ACC Title Game: FSU vs UNC. Playoffs: FSU

Harrison Huntley (NC State): Clemson, FSU, Miami, UNC, Louisville. Clemson and Miami playing in Charlotte.  I think any ACC champ would make the playoff assuming they only have a loss or two

Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): 1, Clemson; 2, FSU; 3. Notre Dame; 4. Miami; 5. Louisville.  Clemson vs Miami, with Clemson in the playoffs.

Q2: Looking objectively at your team, which team is your team most likely to upset?  And which team is most likely to upset your team?

Steve Callahan (Notre Dame): With an early home game and the Spartans having holes to fill in their starting offensive line, the Irish have a very good chance of beating Michigan State at home in the third week of the season. Since the Fighting Irish’s schedule doesn’t give them many opportunities to pull off an upset, Michigan State would be my choice, even if they are close in the rankings.  With only three away games this season, Notre Dame will avoid hostile environments and be less likely to get upset. I will pick the Miami Hurricanes as one team who can upset the Irish this season. Quarterback Brad Kaaya is special and will be looking to increase his draft stock with a big win in South Bend.

Harrison Huntley (NC State): That’s easy: FSU. It’s in Raleigh, and for whatever reason, NC State always does well against the Noles at home. I think Syracuse has the best chance to pull an upset, just because it’s on the road. Normally I’d say BC or Wake, but both are at home this year so State SHOULD be ok against these guys.

Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): Most Syracuse fans will say Virginia Tech because it is a home game.  But in Week 2, Louisville will have very little film to scout (and Colgate may not provide a preview of the entire offense), a Syracuse team without depth may be as healthy as it will be for any game all year, Louisville will still be “green” on its own, Syracuse is at home, etc.  I would not bet your kids’ lunch money on an upset, but it is my pick.  As for upsetting Syracuse, it is difficult with so few games to choose from. UConn is likely to be an underdog if Syracuse starts strong, so look for that as a potential loss in the same spirit as the USF win over Syracuse last year.  Sadly.  Frankly, it would be better for the ACC if B.C. or Wake Forest is the answer to this question–but both may be favored.

Q3: Who is one offensive player from your school for fans of other schools to keep an eye on in 2016?

Steve Callahan (Notre Dame): I know it may be cliché to choose the starting running back, but Tarean Folston is ready to be the star of the Notre Dame offensive attack. Folston was all set to be the starter last season but tore his ACL after three rushing attempts in the season opener. In 2014, Folston had four 100-yard rushing games, including 120 yards and a touchdown at #2 Florida State. Keep an eye out for the senior running back, who will be playing with a chip on his shoulder.

Harrison Huntley (NC State): You won’t see Jaylen Samuels on many watch lists, but that’s because he has no position. He can play RB, WR, TE, and anywhere in the backfield. He’s big and fast, a great combination.

Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): In this Dino Babers system, gotta go with the QB: Eric Dungey.  If he stays healthy and grasps the system, Dungey could put up huge numbers.  But those are some big “ifs” to watch for.  With a fairly decent compliment of skill players (relative to past seasons), we really may see Syracuse play fast and be fast.

Q4: Who is one defensive or special teams player for fans of other schools to take notice of?

Steve Callahan (Notre Dame): Cole Luke will be the leader in the secondary. The senior is coming off a little disappointing season after his breakout sophomore season. Luke only had 6 passes defended last year meanwhile he had 11 in 2014. Watch the 5’11” senior come back to form in his last year with the Fighting Irish.

Harrison Huntley (NC State): Nyheim Hines is a guy that’s so fast, he lines up at RB and WR. This speed is what makes him a great option when returning kicks and punts

Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): After 7 years of Scott Shafer as defensive coordinator and head coach, and with a very inexperienced and not-so-deep defense, this could be a struggle.  All the more reason that Syracuse will need to score a lot and actually convert turnovers (however many) into points.  With linebacker perhaps the area with most returning depth, and Zaire Franklin the junior that was a captain last year as a sophomore MLB likely to anchor that unit, watch Franklin.

Well, that is what these correspondents think.  What do you think?  Please feel free to share below.  And if you are interested in being a correspondent, see here.

2016 Syracuse Football–Are Any Prognosticators Optimistic?

The Confidential has already disclosed its over-under for Syracuse, placing it at 4.5 regular season wins.  Turns out, many are projecting Syracuse to win 3 or fewer games, and perhaps even finish last in the ACC Atlantic.  Well, for whatever its worth, Las Vegas used an over-under of 4 wins for Syracuse.  But, most of the feedback to the Confidential was that 4.5 regular season wins was a fair estimate given the new coaching staff, existing talent, and the typical overscheduling by the Orange.  But any prognosticators projecting Syracuse to go “over” the 4.5 regular season win total?  Did some research today.  Turns out there are some:

TodaysU predicts that the Orange will go 5-7, beating Colgate, South Florida, UConn, Wake Forest, and Boston College.

CollegeFootball News was more optimistic for the Orange, predicting 6-6.  They have Syracuse beating Colgate, South Florida, UConn, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina State.

CampusInsiders, similarly, has Syracuse at 6-6 by beating Colgate, South Florida, UConn, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina State.

Way back in January, Brent Axe predicted 5-7, with wins over Colgate, UConn, Wake Forest, Boston College, and NC State.

The NunesMagician blog also did some “fuzzy math” projections in January, coming up with 4.6 wins.  Hey, it’s “over” the 4.5 over-under!

SB Nation had a TON of analysis of the 2016 Orange football team, settling on 5.5 wins.  Definitely check out that article.

So… Syracuse fans… not everyone is doom and gloom.  There is some reason to not already look ahead to 2017 and instead see the very real possibility of a bowl game in 2016.

Did we miss anyone’s positive preview/projection?  What do you think?

 

Still Room for the Confidential ACC Survivor League!

The Confidential’s Survivor Pool is back for 2016!  2015 went down to the wire… see results here.  For 2016, we are back, continuing the double-elimination format!  Sign up today!

We are limiting this to the first 100 entrants.  Last year’s entrants were given a heads up to join.  Now opening this up to all ACC fans. 

Winner gets $50.00 via PayPal.  See the official rules here:

http://www.officefootballpool.com/pools.cfm?poolid=115035&p=2&pwd=n%2Arbaa

Pool ID Number: 115035
Pool Entry Code: n*rbaa

With thousands of ACC fans, sign up today!

The Confidential’s ACC Football Over-Unders

Every year, the Confidential does over-unders for each ACC school, based solely on the regular season.  In 2014, we had 6 schools correctly pegged within 1/2 a win of their ultimate totals.  In 2015, we improved to 7 schools correctly pegged within a 1/2 a win of their ultimate total.  And now it is on to 2016.  Remember, these are regular season wins only.  No bowl games or playoffs.  Here is the final tally of the Confidential’s over-unders for 2016:

Clemson: 11.5 wins

Notre Dame: 10.5 wins

Florida State: 9.5 wins

Miami: 8.5 wins

North Carolina: 8.5 wins

Louisville: 7.5 wins

Virginia Tech: 7.5 wins

Pitt: 7.5 wins

Duke: 6.5 wins

North Carolina State: 5.5 wins

Georgia Tech: 5.5 wins

Virginia: 5.5 wins

Boston College: 5.5 wins

Syracuse: 4.5 wins

Wake Forest: 3.5 wins

By far, the most controversial selection was Louisville at only 7.5 wins.  However, with road trips to Syracuse, Marshall, Virginia, Boston College, and Houston–it is asking a lot of the Cardinals to avoid tripping up against three of its four easiest conference games and two challenging OOC games.  Meanwhile, Florida State and Clemson remain on the schedule.  Notre Dame at 10.5 wins surprised some folks too, but look at who the Fighting Irish play and where.  In any event, it is what it is.  The Coastal, of course, is a mess.  Would any team winning it be a true surprise?  Meanwhile, the Atlantic has NC State, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest in a perpetual battle to avoid the cellar, it seems.

What do you think?  Would you raise Louisville and Florida State?  Lower Notre Dame or Clemson?  How many over-unders do you think will end up within 1 game (i.e. 5.5 wins resulting in 5 or 6 wins)?

 

The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: Clemson

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For Clemson, the over-under was set at 10 regular season wins.  Ultimately, the Tigers had an awesome season, going 12-0 (ultimately 14-1).  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for Clemson at 11.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016, courtesy of a great football site:

9/3 Sat @ Auburn
9/10 Sat vs. Troy
9/17 Sat vs. South Carolina State
9/22 Thu @ *Georgia Tech
10/1 Sat vs. *Louisville
10/7 Fri @ *Boston College
10/15 Sat vs. *North Carolina State
10/29 Sat @ *Florida State
11/5 Sat vs. *Syracuse
11/12 Sat vs. *Pittsburgh
11/19 Sat @ *Wake Forest
11/26 Sat vs. South Carolina

Very likely wins: Troy, South Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Boston College, NC State, Syracuse, Pitt, Wake Forest, South Carolina

Very likely losses: None

Verdict: Clemson is the best team in the A.C.C. unless the prove otherwise.  With a Heisman candidate at QB and an experienced team at many positions, how can anyone be confident that Clemson will not run the table again?  Well, upsets happen in college football.  Pretty much every year.  So Clemson could be upset by someone.  Still, the only games with realistic potential for non-upset losses are Auburn to begin the season and Florida State, neither of which are home games.  Better teams have stumbled with less difficult schedules.  So, while Clemson and ACC fans may be rooting for Clemson to go undefeated, it will be difficult.  Still, the Confidential will set the over-under for the loaded Tigers at 11.5 wins.

What do you think?  Will Clemson go over or under 11.5 regular season wins?

 

The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: Duke

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For Duke, the over-under was set at 7.5 regular season wins.  Ultimately, the Blue Devils racked up 7 regular season wins, adding a bowl victory over Indiana to conclude the season.  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for Duke at 6.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016, courtesy of a great football site:

9/3 Sat vs. North Carolina Central
9/10 Sat vs. *Wake Forest
9/17 Sat @ Northwestern
9/24 Sat @ Notre Dame
10/1 Sat vs. *Virginia
10/8 Sat vs. Army
10/14 Fri @ *Louisville
10/29 Sat @ *Georgia Tech
11/5 Sat vs. *Virginia Tech
11/10 Thu vs. *North Carolina
11/19 Sat @ *Pittsburgh
11/26 Sat @ *Miami (Florida)

Very likely wins: North Carolina Central, Wake Forest, Virginia, Army

Very likely losses: Notre Dame, Northwestern

Verdict: Duke followed up a few good seasons with an 8-win season to keep momentum going.  This year, Duke has a rough two-game stretch in Chicagoland against Notre Dame and Northwestern.  Beyond that, North Carolina Central and Army should be wins.  The conference schedule features a tough trip to Louisville, as well as a home game against Wake Forest.  Thus, it will all come down to the Coastal games.  It is not hard to see Duke match last year’s win total.  However, Duke’s specific slate is somewhat tough, with trips to Louisville, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Miami.  In contrast, the home game slate is North Carolina (local anyway), Wake Forest (other North Carolina foe), Virginia, and Virginia Tech.  With a tough schedule, not going to project improvement.  In fact, the Confidential goes with 6.5 regular season wins.

What do you think?  Will Duke go over or under 6.5 regular season wins?

 

The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: Georgia Tech

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For Georgia Tech, the over-under was set at 8.5 regular season wins.  Ultimately, the Yellow Jackets struggled mightily, ending up with just 3 regular season wins.  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for Georgia Tech at 5.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016, courtesy of a great football site:

9/3 Sat @ *Boston College
9/10 Sat vs. Mercer
9/17 Sat vs. Vanderbilt
9/22 Thu vs. *Clemson
10/1 Sat vs. *Miami (Florida)
10/8 Sat @ *Pittsburgh
10/15 Sat vs. Georgia Southern
10/29 Sat vs. *Duke
11/5 Sat @ *North Carolina
11/12 Sat @ *Virginia Tech
11/19 Sat vs. *Virginia
11/26 Sat @ Georgia

Very likely wins: Mercer, Georgia Southern, Virginia

Very likely losses: Clemson, Georgia

Verdict: Georgia Tech struggled badly last year.  Despite beating Florida State somehow, the Yellow Jackets were unable to do much of anything else.  Perhaps Paul Johnson is even on the hot seat.  In looking for very likely wins, it was a stretch.  Even Georgia Southern could pull the upset.  But the odds are that Georgia Tech will do better.  Law of averages.  Plus, a bowl game is far from unrealistic, with potential wins over Boston College, Mercer, Vanderbilt, Georgia Southern, Virginia and Duke at home.  Will that happen?  Maybe, maybe not.  We’ll set the over/under at 5.5 regular season wins.

What do you think?  Will Georgia Tech go over or under 5.5 regular season wins?

 

The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: Wake Forest

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For Wake Forest, the over-under was set at 3.5 regular season wins.  Ultimately, the Demon Deacons ended up with 3 regular season wins.  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for Wake Forest at 3.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016, courtesy of a great football site:

9/1 Thu vs. Tulane
9/10 Sat @ *Duke
9/17 Sat vs. Delaware
9/24 Sat @ Indiana
10/1 Sat @ *North Carolina State
10/8 Sat vs. *Syracuse
10/15 Sat @ *Florida State
10/29 Sat vs. Army
11/5 Sat vs. *Virginia
11/12 Sat @ *Louisville
11/19 Sat vs. *Clemson
11/26 Sat vs. *Boston College

Very likely wins: Tulane, Delaware, Army

Very likely losses: Florida State, Louisville, Clemson, @ Duke

Verdict: Wake Forest is in a tough position.  In a conference with Florida State, Clemson, and Louisville, they are battling with Syracuse, Boston College, and North Carolina State for relevance.  This year’s crossover games are Virginia and Duke.  The out-of-conference schedule is not too daunting, with Army, Indiana, Tulane, and Delaware.  While that may lend itself to three wins, that is about it. And don’t sleep on Tulane under its new coach.  All in all, there are six “toss-up” games for the Demon Deacons.  Wake Forest has a decent chance to beat Boston College or Syracuse at home.  Heck, Wake Forest could beat both and Indiana or Virginia to go bowling.  But we’ll need to see improvement over last first.  The Wake Forest over-under is set at 3.5.

What do you think?  Will Wake Forest go over or under 3.5 regular season wins?

 

The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: North Carolina

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For North Carolina, the over-under was set at 7.5 regular season wins.  Ultimately, the Tar Heels ended up with 11 regular season wins, sweeping the regular season after a disappointing loss to an underwhelming South Carolina team in Week 1.  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for North Carolina at 8.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016, courtesy of a great football site:

9/3 Sat @ Georgia
9/10 Sat @ Illinois
9/17 Sat vs. James Madison
9/24 Sat vs. *Pittsburgh
10/1 Sat @ *Florida State
10/8 Sat vs. *Virginia Tech
10/15 Sat @ *Miami (Florida)
10/22 Sat @ *Virginia
11/5 Sat vs. *Georgia Tech
11/10 Thu @ *Duke
11/19 Sat vs. Citadel
11/25 Fri vs. *North Carolina State

Very likely wins: James Madison, Citadel

Very likely losses: @ Georgia, @ Florida State

Verdict: Last year was a great year for North Carolina, with a final record of 11-3.  The 11-straight regular season wins was substantially impressive and the one regular season loss to South Carolina was in Game 1.  This year, North Carolina starts with an even more difficult SEC foe–Georgia.  Then, Illinois on the road.  Should be a win, but a Big 10 school at home is hard to characterize as a “very likely” win, regardless of the talent.  Despite the talent in Chapel Hill, it is hard to find “very likely” wins on a schedule that has many wins that would not be surprising, but just not enough certainty to be even surprised by a loss.  Virginia and Duke are on the road.  Who knows what Miami and Virginia Tech will be under new coaches?  All in all, the Confidential just does not see North Carolina doing nearly as well as last year.  That means an over-under of 8.5 regular season wins.

What do you think?  Will North Carolina go over or under 8.5 regular season wins?

 

Keeping Up With the Over-Unders

Every year, the Confidential does over-unders for each ACC school, based solely on the regular season.  In 2014, we had 6 schools correctly pegged within 1/2 a win of their ultimate totals.  In 2015, we improved to 7 schools correctly pegged within a 1/2 a win of their ultimate total.  And now it is on to 2016.  Here is a running look at the Confidential’s over-unders for 2016:

Notre Dame: 10.5 wins

Florida State: 9.5 wins

Miami: 8.5 wins

Louisville: 7.5 wins

Virginia Tech: 7.5 wins

Pitt: 7.5 wins

North Carolina State: 5.5 wins

Virginia: 5.5 wins

Boston College: 5.5 wins

Syracuse: 4.5 wins

By far, the most controversial selection was Louisville at only 7.5 wins.  However, with road trips to Syracuse, Marshall, Virginia, Boston College, and Houston–it is asking a lot of the Cardinals to avoid tripping up against three of its four easiest conference games and two challenging OOC games.  Meanwhile, Florida State and Clemson remain on the schedule.  Notre Dame at 10.5 wins surprised some folks too, but look at who the Fighting Irish play and where.  In any event, it is what it is.

Still to come: Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Wake Forest

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