Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bilo College Football's Buy Sell Report 2017: Atlantic Coast Conference

With Virginia wrapping up the 2017 Spring Football season in the ACC, it's time for me to start taking a look at who I am buying into, and who I am selling on in the ACC for the 2017 season. There is certainly going to be some change at the top of the conference in 2017, with 2016 national champ Clemson graduating a majority of the stars that drove them to the title. Opportunities abound in both divisions. Here is my list on who I am buying, and who I am selling for the 2017 ACC college football season:

The Buy List (Will have at least 8 wins in 2017)

Florida State: Why not buy in on the Seminoles for 2017? They are currently my number two team in the nation heading out of spring, right behind Alabama, who they play in the opener. I figure the Seminoles as a dog against Bama in the opener, but there is always a shot that they can pull off what would be a minor upset in my book. Either way, I do not see an opportunity for a loss the rest of the way, with the exception of a huge revenge date with Louisville. Florida State looks like a strong contender for the 2017 final four.

Georgia Tech: Call me crazy, but I have a very good feeling about the Yellow Jackets in 2017. Tech looked flashy at times in 2016, but I feel that they can go all out and make a run at a very good bowl spot this fall. They certainly don't win the ACC, but they are going to be a nasty out in league play.

Louisville: They return the Heisman trophy winner in Lamar Jackson, and he may not even be the best QB in the league in 2017 (DeAndre Francois). The Cardinals do return a ton of talent across the roster from the team that flamed out at the end of last season with losses to Kentucky and LSU, and they got hosed out of a win over Clemson. Louisville is the only team in the conference that could be poised to push Florida State.

Virginia Tech: I am buying in on the Hokies solely based on the fact that I am a believer in Justin Fuentes. I do not necessarily like much else about this football team in 2016, but with Fuentes as the coach, and Bud Foster still running the defense, I believe that the Hoies will once again perform above their station.

Clemson: I almost sold on Clemson based on the fact that they have lost so much, especially with every starter on offense at a skill position being gone, and a chunk more on defense. Clemson is not Alabama. They have never reloaded well after these kinds of losses, and although I believe that Dabo Swinney can coach, there is a ot to be concerned about coming into 2017. I am still buying the Tigers for now, but only barely.

The Sell List (Will win 7 games or less in 2017)

Boston College: I spent enough time around this campus and program to realize that there is never any major buzz around this program, but there is zero buzz right now. There is a new AD coming to town, and BC is running off of a two year ACC record of 2-14, despite making it to a meaningless bowl last season. I am not a believer in Steve Addazio as head coach of the Eagles, so for all of those reasons, I am out on the Eagles.

Duke: What David Cutliffe gets out of the Blue Devils in any given year is simply amazing. The problem  have is that the program lost Thomas Sirk to injury right before the season started, and they never recovered. I do not think that they have enough talent to make a dent in the ACC race in 2017. I am out.

Miami: The Canes have been a joke of a program ever since landing in the ACC. Mark Richt got more than he should have last season out of this mess of a roster with QB Brad Kaaya, but he is gone, and there is no telling out of spring ball as to who takes over. I think that the Canes will disappoint, again.

NC State: This program has turned into a revolving door of average coaches and average talent. Dave Doeren was solid at Northern Illinois, but there has been no magic in Raleigh since he arrived. The natives are getting restless, and unrealistic expectations are being bandied about by the fan base. I am not high on my personal expectations, obviously.

North Carolina: I am not a big Larry Fedora guy. This program has long been under performing, and should have won their division last season, but instead found some magical way to lose four games instead. Mitch Trubisky is gone, and they are starting over again at QB, and the rest of the talent is not great. I don't have a good feeling about this.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers lose both Nathan Peterman and James Conner, among others, and that is a load of talent to replace for the Panthers, and they still failed to get close to competing for a division title. With so much talent gone, I don't see improvement as an option.

Syracuse: The Orange goes on one run every 20 years or so, and they are in the middle of a horrific rut. Dino Babers is trying to instill some sense of pride in the Carrier Dome, but still, they won just four games in 2016. Don't look for miracles where there are none.

Virginia: We are in just year two of the rebuilding project under Bronco Mendenhall, who still makes zero sense to me as coach of the Cavaliers. The program has been mired in losing for much of the last decade, and there is no such end in sight for 2017.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons looked way ahead of schedule last season under Dave Clawson, but I think that where they finished last season is again the expectation. I do not see a team that is ready to win five or six games in league play and compete hard in and out of conference. The talent is just not there for me yet

Note: I can change my mind between now and the first week of the season, based on happenings in fall camps. I will update this piece at that time.

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