With the 2014 NCAA Football ACC Futuresseason ready to begin, many fans are wondering why the Atlantic Coast (ACC) is seeking more respect.
ACC teams have a few prize possessions that previously belonged to the SEC, including a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship! Now a certain measure of respect is sought. That’s primarily a result of the enormous 2013 season by Florida State. Now the ACC has to try and maintain that ACC Futures momentum.
There’s no doubt that the Seminoles have set the standard for the ACC after winning the last national title of the BCS era. That title has changed the perception of the Atlantic Coast Conference which had only won two BCS bowl game between 1998 and 2011.
Most important now is that the league has a challenger team to FSU in Clemson. Clemson lost to FSU last year, but beat Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. Then it could be the League newcomer who won two BCS bowl ACC Futures games in their old Big East or will it be someone else?
So let’s look at some things ACC fans can watch for this season like:
- Louisville joins the ACC while Maryland leaves for the Big Ten.
- The new coach for Louisville is Petrino who’s back at the helm after some crazy circuitous paths the lead him back to the Cardinals. Louisville is listed at +1375 to win the ACC title.
- This will be the first year Notre Dame has four games scheduled with ACC teams hosting North Carolina and Louisville and visiting FSU and Syracuse.
- The ACC quarterbacks for 2014 will only see four returning full-time QBs and only Duke’s Boone was a starter before 2013. The QB in the ACC with the most starts is Winston of FSU, who as a redshirt freshman started all their 14 ACC Futures game during their title run for the National Championship, winning a Heisman in the process.
- Of the two divisions, the Atlantic and the Coastal, the latter ACC Futures division may be a crap shoot. In that Coastal division Miami is the preseason favorite, and strangely Duke the defending division champs, and North Carolina actually had more first place votes than the Hurricanes of Miami. It appears the Coastal is anybody’s to win!
- The Hurricanes have RB Johnson back after breaking his ankle last season against FSU. Johnson is also one of the ACC’s top offensive players. Miami-Florida is +1825 in sports betting odds to win the ACC championship.
- What will the Blue Devils Duke to improve over last season, which was their best season in history with 10 wins, the ACC Coastal Title, and playing in the Chic-fil A Bowl. Coach Cutcliffe was the ACC Coach of the Year, and believes that the program at Duke is growing much stronger. Duke is a longshot, though, to win the ACC title, with SBG Sportsbook listing them at +3250.
- The ACC has a specialty in special teams as last season the teams had a combined 16 punts and kickoffs returned for TDs while Switzer of North Carolina set a NCAA record for a single season with five TDs in punt returns.
- Second year teams Syracuse and Pittsburgh, both 7-6 last season, have vowed to be better in their 2nd year.
- The big games for the ACC this season are FSU’s opener with Oklahoma State in Texas, Clemson playing the Georgia Bulldogs, and Virginia Tech visiting top ranked Ohio State. Then later Boston College receives the Southern Cal Trojans and the Hurricanes play Nebraska on the road.
- The winners of the Divisions have been predicted as Duke winning the Coastal and FSU winning the Atlantic Division and also the ACC Title game. Florida State is also the favorite to win the 2014 NCAA National Championship game, with odds at +525.