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Season Preview: ACC

Boy, that ACC sure has not turned into the SUPER conference it was supposed to be.  The addition of Miami has not panned out thus far like it was supposed to, and the recent lull Florida State has gone through has not helped either.  As of late, Virginia Tech has carried the ACC flag, and they have not exactly been a world-beater (See: loss last year to East Carolina). 

This year, Virginia Tech has again been tapped in the pre-season media poll to be the class of the ACC.  Here is the ACC pre-season media balloting, with first place votes in parentheses:

Atlantic Division

  1. Florida State (56)
  2. Clemson (14)
  3. NC State (10)
  4. Wake Forest  (7)
  5. Maryland
  6. Boston College
Coastal Division
  1. Virginia Tech (78)
  2. Georgia Tech (9)
  3. North Carolina
  4. Miami
  5. Virginia
  6. Duke

Find a TV for these games:

  1. Virginia Tech vs. Alabama - Sept. 6: Huge non-conference game.  Is the ACC better than its national perception?  Will Alabama rebound after a humiliating loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl? 
  2. Florida State vs. Miami - Sept. 7: Is Miami back?  Can Florida State build on last year's success and climb back atop the national landscape?  This week one contest between bitter rivals will show if these two dominant programs of the 80s and 90s are back.  
  3. Florida State vs. Georgia Tech - Oct. 10: GTech is a chic pick to take the ACC this year.  A win on the road would set up a huge matchup the next week against the Hokies.
  4. Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech - Oct. 17: The battle for the Coastal Division favorites.  
  5. Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina - Oct. 29: The Tar Heels lost some serious fire power at wide receiver to the NFL Draft this year, but do not count out Butch Davis.  That guy can recruit. 
  6. Florida State at Florida - Nov. 28: Bowden and gang travel to the Swamp to take on Tebow and the Gators.  Could have huge BCS implications. 

The ACC has nine bowl game contracts this season.  Yes, nine.  The Pac-10 has six.  Yikes.  Here are the bowl tie-ins for the ACC:

  1. BCS (Orange Bowl)
  2. Chick-fil-A Bowl
  3. Gator Bowl
  4. Champs Sports Bowl
  5. Music City Bowl
  6. Meineke Car Care Bowl
  7. Emerald Bowl
  8. Eagle Bank Bowl
  9. GMAC Bowl

The national perception of the ACC is pretty poor.  This year, however, may be when the conference as a whole regains some of the national credibility they lost the last few years.  Virginia Tech leads the way, but Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and N.C. State round out a much-improved top-half of the conference.  Do not sleep on The U either.  Miami has always been able to recruit superb athletes.  If that program returns to 75% of what it was in the 80s and 90s, the ACC will be a force to be reckoned with. 

Come back tomorrow for the Big 12 preview