With five weeks of the college football season in the books, where do we stand? I thought it would be an interesting exercise to look back at my ACC football preseason predictions to see where we stand after Week 5 of the college football season. Today, here's a revisiting of my ACC Coastal Division preseason picks.
My overall Coastal Division record through five weeks is 20-7.
Below I bucket my ACC football preseason predictions into three buckets -- Right on!, Needs Work and Hitting The Reset Button.
Predicted: 3-1 (wins Florida A&M, at Pittsburgh, at Clemson)
Actual: 3-1 (wins Florida A&M, at Pittsburgh, at Clemson)
Updated Outlook: Miami was my preseason pick to win the ACC with a record of 10-2 (7-1 ACC). After five weeks of play, I'm sticking with the Canes to play -- and win -- the program's first ever ACC Championship Game. The Coastal Division looks a bit weaker than we thought it would be heading into the season, as Georgia Tech hasn't played like the defending league champs, Virginia Tech got off to yet another slow start and North Carolina is currently embroiled in multiple NCAA investigations. If Jacory Harris can keep the turnovers under control, the U could even exceed my preseason predictions by running the table, something an ACC team hasn't done since 2000 (Florida State).
Predicted: 2-2 (wins Richmond, VMI)
Actual: 2-2 (wins Richmond, VMI)
Updated Outlook: A lot of college football prognosticators were ready to declare the Mike London rebuilding project in Charlottesville ahead of schedule after the Cavs' close loss at USC in Week 2. But Florida State came to town and quickly showed that the 'Hoos still have a long way to go, handing Virginia a 34-14 home loss. No breaks in the schedule for the next two weeks for Virginia, as they travel to Atlanta this weekend to take on Georgia Tech, followed by a home date with North Carolina. Virginia has some talent, and they will probably pick up an ACC win somewhere along the line, proving my 0-8 ACC record incorrect.
Predicted: 3-1 (wins Georgia Tech, at Rutgers, East Carolina)
Actual: 2-2 (wins at Rutgers, East Carolina)
Updated Outlook: North Carolina was the true wild card in the ACC race this year, with multiple NCAA investigations swirling around the program. After starting the season 0-2, UNC has at least recovered enough to win its last two games, though wins against Rutgers and ECU aren't all that impressive. The Heels jump right back into ACC play this weekend with a tough test -- at home against the 2-2 Clemson Tigers. Both programs will be looking for their first ACC win of the season. UNC could very well still finish the season at a respectable 8-4, but the Heels remain the toughest ACC program to predict given the NCAA investigations into Butch Davis' program.
Duke Blue Devils
Predicted: 2-3 (wins Elon, Army)
Actual: 1-4 (win Elon)
Updated Outlook: The Blue Devils couldn't notch a win against an improving Army program, and currently sit at 1-4. What appeared to be a tremendous offensive output against Wake Forest now seems like two programs with below average defenses. I had predicted just one more win for Duke this season -- at home against Virginia -- but even that game seems like a reach for Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Predicted: 3-2 (wins James Madison, East Carolina, at N.C. State)
Actual: 3-2 (wins East Carolina, at Boston College, at N.C. State)
Updated Outlook: Sure, I got Virginia Tech's overall record correct through five games. The problem was no one really saw the Hokies dropping a game to the Dukes of James Madison. And my unabashed homerism outlook didn't account for a full-blown starting quarterback meltdown from the Eagles. Though the Hokies are off to a slow 3-2 start, Frank Beamer's bunch has now rattled off three straight wins and is 2-0 in conference. The Hokies appear to be back on track and with a schedule that eases up a bit over their next three games -- Central Michigan, Wake Forest, at Duke -- the Hokies could find themselves right back in the ACC Coastal Division race with a tough stretch of November Coastal game standing between them and their fourth ACC Coastal Division title in the last six seasons.
Hitting The Reset Button
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Predicted: 4-1 (wins South Carolina State, at Kansas, N.C. State, at Wake Forest)
Actual: 3-2 (wins South Carolina State, at North Carolina, at Wake Forest)
Updated Outlook: As mentioned above, the Yellow Jackets don't seem to be in their anticipated reigning ACC Champion form. I didn't foresee an early-season loss at Kansas (who is just 2-3 and coming off a 55-7 Baylor beatdown). Nor did I see the Jackets defeating UNC and dropping a game at home to Tom O'Brien and the N.C. State Wolfpack. My preseason picks are just downright awful. I just didn't expect that big of a drop off from the defense. Moral of the story -- when you bring in a new defensive coordinator and a new defensive scheme, you need the right personnel to execute.