Before diving into all the individual team previews, a few insane ideas popped into my head. I call them, you guessed it, bold predictions. What you are about to read here are things not likely to come true. However, even if they have a five-percent (or better) chance, we must, as football crazies, debate on them. These are for the Atlantic “We Kinda Got Notre Dame” Coast Conference:
No. 1 – Duke makes it to a second straight bowl game
My Thoughts: Games against NC Central, then at Memphis and Troy all look like locks. You are telling me they can’t scratch out three more wins from a schedule that includes Pitt, Navy, Virginia, Wake, who knows what to expect from Virginia Tech after last year’s disappointment and finally against a new staff at NC State? In fact, outside Miami and a trip to North Carolina, all the games are either wins or toss-ups in my opinion. Newer, crazier bold prediction … Duke wins the Coastal. You heard it here first, ladies and gents.
No. 2 – Florida State loses to Clemson, misses out on the ACC title game, loses to Florida and yet makes a BCS game.
My Thoughts: This prediction implies the Noles will run the table in its other 10 games. Only the Tigers and UF are ranked within the preseason top 25 polls, so it seems probable. But making a BCS game going 10-2, that’s another story. Take a closer look at those 10 games – a FCS team, Idaho, Maryland, Boston College. Yikes. Outside Clemson, Florida and Miami the next best team on FSU’s plate is either Syracuse, Pitt or Nevada. Double Yikes.
No. 3 – Clemson drops the Georgia game but still makes the national title game.
My Thoughts: I love this one! Basically this means that Florida State improves on its preseason No. 11 spot and South Carolina is right there at the end of the year to give the Tigers two big wins. It also implies that Georgia has a strong season so the loss never looks bad. What is crazy is that if all these play out, Clemson making the title game could mean a rematch with Georgia. This is a fun one to play out in your head.
No. 4 – Randy Edsall gets Maryland to eight wins and wins ACC Coach of the Year; however, he will not be with the club next season when they head to the Big Ten.
My Thoughts: Okay, now I really love this one. This came from the idea that Ralph Friedgen won ACC COY honors and was fired from the same Terps program. In Edsall’s case, however, I didn’t say fired; maybe he takes a different job, who knows? Let’s tackle the eight wins first. Outside of Clemson and FSU, the Terps have no ranked teams on their 2013 plate. Not just unranked but not that good. The other 10 are FIU, Old Dominion, at UConn, West Virginia, Virginia, at Wake, Syracuse, at Virginia Tech, Boston College and at NC State. The first three look easy enough and UVA/Wake/BC also look ripe for the picking if Maryland shows any improvement this year from last. I can talk myself into six wins, but I’m having trouble getting this club to eight.
Could this prediction be DOA? Possibly, but seeing as there are my Bold Predictions, lets run through a hypothetical: if they do get to eight, why wouldn’t he still be with the school in 2014? Bad attendance, better job, horribly run athletic department – take your pick. How about the fact that Edsall himself bailed on Connecticut after going to a BCS game?
No. 5 – Pittsburgh and Florida State relive their opening day showdown with a bout in the ACC title game.
My Thoughts: Okay, well the Coastal is bad, but is it bad enough for a 6-7 Big East team a year ago to win it in their first crack? Other than FSU the only other ranked team is out-of-conference Notre Dame. This basically comes down to whether or not they can match UNC, Miami and Georgia Tech’s division-winning 5-3 three-way tied record from last year. Wins over Duke and Virginia would put them at two. They barely lost to Syracuse last year and between passer Ryan Nassib and coach Doug Marrone leaving upstate New York (well not Marrone, he’s now the coach of the Buffalo Bills) the Orange look like they are in transition. A Pitt win makes for three out of the hypothetically necessary five. Miami and North Carolina both are at Heinz Field (is that an advantage? Can someone on my research staff check and see if Pitt has any home field vibe in a NFL stadium? *Editor’s Note: It gets rowdy*). They get the Rambling Wreck down in Atlanta. Hmm, I purchased three wins and maybe even a split of the other two. I just don’t see it. North Carolina was on probation last year and still looked good. Tech got hot after dumping Al Groh. Pitt might go 4-4 in-league and three of their four non-conference games to have a nice, seven-win season; I don’t see them playing FSU in Week 1 and then again on championship week, however.