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In Response: CBS Sports 2016 ACC Football Preview

Time for a bit of critical analysis, CBS Sports.

You may be wondering why, of all topics and conferences, The Bracket Yard is choosing the ACC for its first piece of responsive commentary.

The answer lies in the predecessor to this site. For six years, this website’s editor wrote for (and founded) a Boston College blog. By his own choosing, said individual is no longer affiliated with the network on which it is located, but the ties to Boston College and the Atlantic Coast Conference in general remain. Internet hangouts which were friendly to that site include All Sports Discussion, ACC Nation, and BC Interruption, with many, many Twitter folks stimulating good discussion.

With the shackles loosened, your faithful editor is free to write whatever the hell he wants at his own leisure. Today, it’s back to the ACC and the CBS Sports treatment of the 2016 football season.

Overrated?

Let’s agree with at least a few of the columnists who view that team as Miami. They are 26th in the AP Preseason Poll and are one of those teams that has had, and scuppered, high expectations on an annual basis for roughly the past decade. Granted, they had an eight or nine-win season every now and then during that stretch, but it has also been peppered with mediocrity.

Mark Richt may prove to be a great hire in Coral Gables, but highlight the word “prove.” Confidence in the Hurricanes rides high in August, but Richt must show the college football world that Miami can back it up with big wins.

From this comfortable seat, Virginia Tech does not appear to be all that overrated at all by much of anyone. This is a program replacing a legendary coach and coming off of some very average years. Another so-so season with a bowl berth is a logical prediction, so overrated they are not.

Underrated?

One team nobody went with is Duke, so we will. The CBS Sports punditry has them fifth or sixth in most ACC Coastal finishes, but lest we forget that David Cutcliffe has, in fact, turned this program around. Winning their division seems like a stretch, but considering that the division has no real standout team, how big of a stretch is it? This team is being overlooked by most and, given recent results, probably should not be.

ACC Champion?

This will probably not be decided in December, but on Saturday, October 29 when the Clemson Tigers play at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Tigers and Florida State Seminoles are arguably the ACC’s best teams, and CBS is right to suggest the strong probability that one of these two will win the conference. By the way, it’s Clemson again.

ACC Atlantic Finish?

The writer whose ACC Atlantic finish most closely matches the opinion of this site is Dennis Dodd. Clemson and Florida State going 1-2 in the division makes a lot of sense, with Louisville and NC State as the second tier of good but not great teams. When you get to the bottom of the division, it’s Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest, three teams that have not factored at all in recent years.

The Eagles lost some pieces on defense but their offense is likely to be better (since it can’t get any worse). Even if the defense is not as good as the previous year, they can steal ACC games here and there to finish about .500 overall following a pillowy-soft non-conference schedule. As for Syracuse, Dino Babers will eventually work out, but this probably is not the year, and Wake Forest seems perpetually lost in the shuffle.

ACC Coastal Finish?

For this one, The Bracket Yard does not agree with any of the seven predictions. We say North Carolina first, Pittsburgh second, Miami third, Duke fourth, Virginia Tech fifth, Georgia Tech sixth, and Virginia seventh. This is a competitive division in which the top teams will not be separated by much.

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