ACC Football Preview 2012: Preseason Offensive Unit Rankings

Even Without Sammy Watkins for Two Games, Clemson Should Have the ACC’s Top Offense

We’re literally one day (and some hours) away from the start of the 2012 season, so obviously, we’re rolling out tons of arbitrarily ranked lists to peruse before kickoff. The focus of this list? Every ACC offense. Along with the ranked list, we’ll provide some background to legitimize said arbitrary ranking. Don’t agree with us? Voice your opinion in the comment section.

Want more lists? Be sure to check out the defensive and coaching rankings set to be posted later on today!

ACC Offensive Unit Rankings (Preseason)

1. Clemson Tigers: Clemson has lost very little on offense, after putting up nearly 34 points per game last year. If they manage to pick up the pace even further this year, and survive the first two games without Sammy Watkins, it should be a wild ride.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels: Installing the spread for an already-potent attack, new head coach Larry Fedora is excited about the possibilities. QB Bryn Renner should excel, and it will be interesting to watch how star halfback Giovani Bernard defines his role in the new formation, too.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: The ‘Wreck will once again sport their lethal triple-option, with more capable backs than I can ever recall. A-back Orwin Smith should shoulder a good deal of the load, along with QB Tevin Washington, en route to another season averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground.

4. Florida State Seminoles: Beyond QB EJ Manuel, it’s still uncertain who the primary weapons will be for the ‘Noles, but collectively, there’s just too much talent available for them to fail. With an easier schedule, they should be able to surpass last year’s average of 30 points per game with little difficulty.

5. NC State Wolfpack: The Wolfpack, like many of the ACC’s teams, will go as far as their star quarterback can take them. Mike Glennon hit a rhythm at the end of 2011. Should he continue that momentum, he and his team should deliver on the preseason “darkhorse” hype.

6. Pittsburgh Panthers: This ranking is based on an assumption that Ray Graham doesn’t miss a ton of time, and that Tino Sunseri can be a competent quarterback. Their attack will be based heavily on a strong run game. So as long as Graham’s healthy, they should be tough to stop on the ground.

7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: There are questions around the running game right now, but even if those persist, they’ve still got Tanner Price under center. Given his growth over his career, this passing game is in good hands, regardless of who’s catching the ball.

8. Virginia Tech Hokies: Logan Thomas could end up being the most dangerous dual-threat the school’s ever had (take notice, Michael Vick). Despite some shuffling that remains at the halfback position and inexperience on the line, he should be able to guide this squad with ease.

9. Syracuse Orange: Entering his third season as the starter, Orange QB Ryan Nassib is one of the more-tenured passers in the country. With real targets to throw to — he has several — Nassib should be able to help SU manage their rough schedule.

10. Duke Blue Devils: The Blue Devils have a top-notch receiver in Conner Vernon, and a program-defining QB (for them, anyway) in Sean Renfree. After averaging over 270 passing yards per game in 2011, this offense could very well be the fuel that drives this team to their first bowl game in 17 years.

11. Virginia Cavaliers: Not at all an insult to QB Michael Rocco or his receivers — we’re just not sure what this team’s capable of in the passing game. On the ground, however, the two-headed monster of Kevin Parks and Perry Jones won’t have much of a problem guiding the tempo for this methodical offense.

12. Boston College Eagles: With Rolandan Finch injured in fall camp, BC will have to lean that much more on a suspect passing game. QB Chase Rettig is talented, but the questions will be around whether his receivers can help him elevate his game.

13. Miami Hurricanes: After the mass exodus that took place at Miami this offseason, there’s not a whole lot of talent remaining. Are we supposed to believe that Stephen Morris and Mike James are leading this offense to victory behind half of an offensive line?

14. Maryland Terrapins: C.J. Brown leading a fairly green group of receiving targets was one thing. Now, with Brown out for the year, this offense has no proven leader, and a lot of issues regarding playmakers. They’re there, but it’s debatable whether they’ll be used properly this year.

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