Thursday, February 12, 2009

ACC schedule analysis

Late this morning, the ACC released its football schedule for 2009.

Here is an analysis of the schedules of the Carolinas ACC teams from staff writers J.P. Giglio and Ken Tysiac:

North Carolina finally gets a Thursday night home game. The Tar Heels will host Florida State on Oct. 22. Expect the dark blue jerseys and win for the Heels in that one, one of eight for the Tar Heels and Butch Davis in 2009.

The Citadel, Georgia Southern, Virginia and Duke are gimmes at Kenan Stadium. At Virginia Tech (also on a Thursday, Oct. 29) looks like the only sure loss on the schedule.

That leaves coin-toss games with UConn, ECU, Miami, Boston College and N.C. State. The Heels should go no worse than 3-2 against that group.

N.C. State gets all of its nonconference games out of the way in September with four straight home dates. The Thursday night ESPN season opener Sept. 3 will provide great exposure for the Wolfpack, and the Sept. 26 game with Pittsburgh will be a test.

The back-to-back games in between against Murray State and Gardner-Webb should be snoozers, though.

A stretch of three road dates in four games against Atlantic Division foes in October will go a long way toward determining how N.C. State finishes in the division as it visits Wake Forest, Boston College and Florida State.

And the season will come to an interesting finish because North Carolina is playing the Wolfpack this season instead of Duke in the season finale on Nov. 28. N.C. State's outside-the-division ACC opponents are permanent partner North Carolina along with Virginia Tech and Duke.

Pencil the Wolfpack in for 3-1 outside the conference, and 5-3 in the ACC because its conference road schedule is fairly difficult.

There are three wins out there for Duke in David Cutcliffe's second season — Richmond, Army and N.C. Central, although the Spiders, the defending Division I-AA champions, did beat Duke in the 2006.

The conference home dates are no bargain with Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, while road trips to Kansas and Miami are a lost cause.

Maryland, Virginia, N.C. State and UNC are all games Duke would have to win to make a bowl. With two I-AAs on the schedule, the Blue Devils have to finish 7-5. Fred Goldsmith's 1994 team can breathe easy.

Cutcliffe's looking at another 4-8 season, which for Duke isn't that bad.

Clemson isn't exactly testing Dabo Swinney in his first full season as head coach.

Aside from the annual rivalry game at South Carolina, the Tigers don't play a nonconference game worth watching. Middle Tennessee, Central Michigan and Coastal Carolina visit Death Valley in a schedule that isn't especially attractive to fans making difficult decisions about season tickets in a tough economy.

Inside the conference, Clemson comes out OK. Road games at Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami and N.C. State won't be easy. But the Tigers do get Florida State and Wake Forest - two of their stronger divisional opponents - at home.

A 4-0 record outside the conference seems good possibility, but 4-4 inside the conference appears likely, too.

Expect the Tigers to go 8-4 with a middle-of-the-pack finish in their division.

Wake Forest has a chance to start 6-0 and, like the 2006 ACC championship season, build up confidence for tough second-half schedule.

The Deacs get five of their first six games at home for quarterback Riley Skinner's seventh season with only a road trip to rebuilding Boston College on Sept. 26.

Jim Grobe continues to do the impossible and make winning eight games easy at Wake Forest.


Anonymous said...

Since when did Kansas become a consistent national power? At Kansas is a dead end? I know they were good 2 years ago and mediocre last year, but we must be living in the twilight game if you are correct.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, another ACC football season.


My beloved Auburn War Eagle will be the worst team in the SEC, probably going 3-9. If they were in the ACC they'd go 9-0 (including the championship game) and would be in the Orange Bowl.

ACC football is, and will always be, completely irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Carolina beating Florida State? Man, the Disturber really has lost it this time...

Anonymous said...

J, you mean the same Auburn that lost to Vandy, which by the way lost to Duke AND Wake. Auburn would be lucky to win 3 games in the ACC. SEC outside of the top two teams is SOOOOOO overrated.

Anonymous said...

NC State should challenge for the division title. They will go as far as Russell Wilson takes them. if he gets hurt, look for State to finish at the bottom of the division.

Anonymous said...

Even if Wilson were to get hurt, Glennon is definitely who you want to have as a back up! He is much like Wilson and luckily, we won't have to worry about Daniel Evans anymore! Glad to see the Pack with more depth at QB in the coming years! They are sure to be contender this year!!!

Anonymous said...

UNC over FSU?? LOL what you smokin' Gigilo??