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CNNSI: 2005 ACC Football Preview

Stewart Mandel offers his predicted ACC standings.

-- Mandel looks like he's thinking along lines similar to mine regarding the Atlantic Divsion (i.e., huge ass dogfight) since he predicts FSU to win the division with a 5-3 conference record. He expects NC State, BC, and Clemson each to go 4-4.

-- On Wake Forest:
At least they have one of the top punters in the country, Ryan Plackemeier.
When I played against the Deacs for the first time in NCAA Football 2006, I got a kick out of the fact that the punter was one of their three "impact players." I feel like they got the shaft on that one.

-- On NC State:
The Wolfpack managed to go 5-6 last year despite fielding the nation's top-ranked defense (221.3 yards per game). Any improvement at all from the quarterback position should be enough for Chuck Amato's team to return to a bowl game, though it remains to be seen whether Mario Williams, Manny Lawson and the rest of the defense will be quite so successful without coordinator Reggie Herring, who left for Arkansas.
A good quick summary, but don't get me started about Herring.

-- Mandel picks VPI to win the Coastal Division, although he does predict a couple of losses for the Hokies. Despite Miami's question marks, I still like them a little better than Virginia Tech. If Marcus Vick proves he can be a consistent passer, though, I'll change my tune.

-- Same old question posed to Al Groh's team: who gon' catch dat ball?

-- On North Carolina:
John Bunting got off the hot seat last season with a bowl berth and win over Miami, but he may find himself right back on it playing a non-conference slate that includes Utah, Louisville and Wisconsin, and doing it without four-year QB Darian Durant.
Hide the missus for that game in Louisville. Yikes. I think the Heels could actually beat Wisconsin; in fact, I hope th-- Whoa, I can't believe I started typing that.

-- Six wins for GT, which is perfectly realistic, because as many of us learned first hand last year, there is only so much that a defense can do.