With a nod to SB Nation’s Barking Carnival for the basis of this idea, we wanted to take a very early, top-line view of each ACC team’s prospects for 2013 with regard to schedule. What we’ve done to avoid diving into each and every game, however, is limit this look to just in-conference matchups (eight per team), and provide you with the basic info you’ll need on each squad. In particular, how much experience they have at the quarterback position, how long their respective coach has been there, and how many returning starters they have. Obviously, it takes more than just that information to surmise how a team will fare in a given year, but since it’s so early, this should be plenty to get a conversation going. All figures on returning starters are from Phil Steele.
Florida State Seminoles: Coach: Jimbo Fisher (fourth year); Quarterback: TBD; Returning starters: 10 (six offense, four defense); Projected conference W-L: 6-2
NC State Wolfpack: Coach: Dave Doeren (first year); Quarterback: TBD; Returning starters: 11 (five offense, six defense); Projected conference W-L: 0-8
Pittsburgh Panthers: Coach: Paul Chryst (second year); Quarterback: TBD; Returning starters: 14 (five offense, nine defense); Projected conference W-L: 3-5
Syracuse Orange: Coach: Scott Shafer (first year); Quarterback: TBD; Returning starters: 13 (six offense, seven defense); Projected conference W-L: 4-4
Virginia Cavaliers: Coach: Mike London (fourth year); Quarterback: TBD; Returning starters: 14 (seven offense, seven defense); Projected conference W-L: 2-6
A couple additional notes:
- The varying levels of uncertainty at the quarterback position obviously leave some of these predictions to change in the coming months. Once those situations are worked out, we’ll have a clearer picture on where those teams will fall.
- In the same breath, seeing all that uncertainty at QB means that teams with veteran defenses may be able to feast on inexperience. Specifically, looking at Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech to potentially break out with regards to this note.
- With 12 of 14 defenses bringing back at least half of their starters, expect a slight reversal from last year’s high-scoring games, back to defensive struggles all around the conference.
- Of the three new coaches in the conference, Syracuse’s Scott Shafer could potentially have the most to work with, but I wouldn’t say that amount is overwhelming. The fact that all three are in the Atlantic division provides a very muddled hierarchy there, once you’re done putting Clemson and Florida State at the top.
- While the projections up top place North Carolina and Miami at the top of the Coastal division pile, I do believe little separates the division’s top four (Miami, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech), meaning 7-1 can easily be 5-3 for any of them.
- Due to lack of depth in Raleigh, I believe in Duke and Syracuse’s rebuilding projects more than I do NC State’s. This could come back to bite me, but I think Dave Doeren’s squad is another year out from getting the personnel he needs for his system.
Agree completely? Disagree vehemently? Write to your heart’s content below.