The ACC Coastal Division features newcomer Pittsburgh but should come down to Miami, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. I’m looking at win totals for this division and I don’t see too many surprises but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
Duke 5.5 (+120 over/-150 under) – The Blue Devils enter 2013 with bowl game experience but without QB Sean Renfree and WR Conner Vernon who off to the NFL. Defense is still an issue in Durham for coach David Cutcliffe. The schedule is actually pretty favorable. They get Georgia Tech and Miami at home but will have to go to Virginia Tech. The non-conference schedule should provide some wins. I’m actually going to say the Dookies get to six wins.
Georgia Tech 8 (-140 over/+110 under) – The Yellow Jackets have spiraled towards mediocrity under Paul Johnson since they won the ACC in 2009. They are just two games over .500 since then. Running the ball is never a problem. Passing the ball? Yikes. The defense should be better under coordinator Ted Roof and eight starters back. Tech has road games at Miami, BYU and Clemson while they get Virginia Tech, Syracuse and rival Georgia at home. I’m not sold on the defense or passing game yet. Take the under.
Miami, FL 9 (+160 over/-200 under) – Al Golden’s Hurricanes will have no problem on offense as Duke Johnson returns at running back and Stephen Morris returns at QB. The problem is defense where the ‘Canes ranked almost dead last in the nation. That should be improved but how much? Miami gets Florida, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech at home but they have potential roadblocks at Florida State and at North Carolina. I can see three loses on the schedule and two other questionable calls so I’m going with the under.
North Carolina 9 (+120 over/-150 under) – The Tar Heels return QB Bryn Renner and very prolific offense from last season. They have to replace Gio Bernard in the backfield bit there are plenty of weapons. The defense has to improve especially against the pass but there are some talented guys in place to do that. They open at South Carolina and have other road contests at Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech but they get Miami at home. If they get just enough defense, I love the over.
Pittsburgh 5.5 (-140 over/+110 under) – Paul Chryst returns for year two but faces a new challenge in the ACC. The biggest issue will be who is the quarterback? Tino Sunseri is gone so it’s an open job right now. The schedule is not exactly easy. They open the season by hosting Florida State and then have road games at Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Syracuse plus they host North Carolina, Notre Dame and Miami. I see a down year in Western PA.
Virginia 4.5 (-200 over/+160 under) – The Cavaliers slipped last year after a big season in 2011. There is potential with this team but it lacks star-power. Coach Mike London brought in several former head coaches to be assistants and that always concerns me. Too many chiefs and not enough indians… The schedule opens with home games against Oregon and BYU. They have road games at Miami and North Carolina. I can’t see the Hoos winning more than four this year.
Virginia Tech 8.5 (-145 over/+115 under) – The Hokies will go as far as quarterback Logan Thomas can take them. He had an unexpectedly poor year last season and now has a new coordinator who has worked well with top QBs before. The defense could be the best in the ACC, but they will face challenges if the offense can’t score some points. They open with Alabama in Atlanta and then have road games at Georgia Tech and Miami. I really like the over with this team.