As kickoff rapidly approaches SOTU begins our weekly Atlantic Coast Conference power rankings. Who can prove to be a top tier team in a conference of evenly matched opponents that trade victories each year? Which teams are making strides towards the illustrious ACCCG? How many C's is too many C's? All these questions and more will be answered with our evaluation of the conference power rankings.
1st - The top dog is a Tiger.
8/31 vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Prediction: Georgia 31-28
Clemson against Georgia in week one is an SEC-ACC matchup that has many similarities to our beloved ‘Canes own upcoming battle against rival UF. Vegas gives the advantage to the SEC in both games, but a highly charged Clemson team coming off of last year's major victory over LSU will have every opportunity in the world to pull out an upset.
The key factor for both parties as they square off in Death Valley will certainly be defense. Both teams feature top flight offenses, but with Georgia's secondary depleted by the injury bug and with Clemson returning a suspect defense from last year, the edge may go to whoever blinks first.
What to watch for: Can Clemson's defense improve enough to bring the Tigers into the BCS discussion? A solid victory over the highly ranked Bulldogs would indicate that they do indeed belong in that conversation.
2nd - Seminoles drop a deuce.
9/2 @ Pittsburgh
Prediction: FSU 24-14
This matchup boasts a slew of important debuts: Pitt's introduction to the ACC, the first conference game of the season, Tom Savage's resurrection as a Pitt panther after two years of transfer hiatus, and an opportunity for Jameis Winston to prove that he's more than a clever sound bite. This game should set the tone for each team as they move forward in their uncertain 2013 season. Florida State looks to continue the offensive pace left behind by EJ Manuel as the defense sets out to prove it can fill the gaps left behind by the major contributors who lined the NFL draft this past April.
What to watch for: Jameis Winston to backflip a Pitt defender and effortlessly heave a perfectly spiraled football into the endzone to not one but two Seminole receivers.
3rd - 1st is the worst, 2nd will never be best, 3rd is the one with the ManBearCane chest.
8/30 vs. Florida Atlantic Owls
Prediction: Miami 45-10
Check out Lt. Nolan's preview of FAU which was featured in our SOTU Pre-Season Storm Surge.
4th - North Carolina Tar Heels
8/29 @ South Carolina Gamecocks
Prediction: South Carolina 24-14
Larry Fedora faces off against fellow visor enthusiast Steve Spurrier in what will prove to be another great ACC vs. SEC showdown.
5th - Virginia Tech Hokies
8/31 vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (Chick-Fil-A Kickoff)
Prediction: Alabama 31-14
As a Miami fan I've spent my entire life feeling remorseless in each defeat of our rival Virginia Tech but this time... Well I certainly don't feel bad for them, but I sympathize in a way...
Hokie Mark's Rx for a Virginia Tech victory.
8/31 vs. Elon
Prediction: Yellow Jackets 45-10
8/29 vs. Presbyterian
Prediction: Demon Deacons 38-17
8th - Pittsburgh Panthers
9/2 vs. Florida State
Prediction: FSU 24-14
9th - Duke Blue Devils
8/31 vs. North Carolina Central
Prediction: Blue Devils 42-20
10th - Maryland Terrapins
8/31 vs. Florida International University
Prediction: Maryland 35-17
11th - Syracuse Orange
8/31 vs. Penn St. Nittany Lions (MetLife Stadium)
Prediction: Penn State 38-17
12th - N.C. State Wolfpack
8/31 vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
13th - Virginia Cavaliers
8/31 vs. BYU Cougars
Prediction: BYU 28-10
14th - Boston College Eagles
8/31 vs. Villanova
Prediction: Boston College 31-13