For those who don't remember last year, Pittsburgh was the ACC champion with the Panthers knocking off Wake Forest in the title game. It was the first time in a while that Clemson didn't win the ACC or even appear in the game in Charlotte. We'll see if the Tigers can improve an anemic offense that struggled at times last year. The Atlantic also will be contested by NC State, who has the pieces on both sides of the ball to be a threat. The problem with the Wolfpack is that when there are expectations, they struggle to meet them. Of course, there's also the Demon Deacons, who return a lot of offensive firepower.
Related: ACC Football 2022 Predictions
The ACC Coastal could develop into a three-team race as Miami's recruiting has taken a step up with the arrival of new head coach Mario Cristobal. Pitt and North Carolina could threaten the Hurricanes if both teams can find new quarterbacks to replace their current NFL signal-callers. Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Duke all have new head coaches while Georgia Tech doesn't seem to be making much progress under Geoff Collins.
(Win totals provided by Draftkings)
Boston College (Over 6.5 +110...Under 6.5 -130)
Non-Conference Games: Rutgers, Maine, at UConn, at Notre Dame
Schedule Notes: Boston College has a chance to pick up a few wins early with home games against Rutgers and FCS Maine. There's a stretch beginning in late October where the Eagles play three straight teams off their bye week. They do get Clemson and Louisville at home, but have road trips to Wake, NC State and Florida State.
QB: Phil Jurkovec
Roster Notes: In a conference with so many good quarterbacks, I feel like Jurkovec gets a bit overlooked. He got hurt last season and could have put together some fantastic numbers considering the weapons at his disposal. Zay Flowers is back at WR and the run game should continue to be strong despite the offensive line returning very little. The defense has eight starters back with Josh DeBerry leading the way.
Prediction: Pretty good number as I have about 6-7 wins for the Eagles.
Clemson (Over 10.5 +110...Under 10.5 -130)
Non-Conference Games: Furman, Louisiana Tech, at Notre Dame, South Carolina
Schedule Notes: The Tigers open the season up in conference play on the road against Georgia Tech on Labor Day. Their Sept. 24 trip to Wake Forest looms large and is followed by a home date with NC State. Clemson's schedule closes out with three straight at home including a potential ACC title game preview against Miami in Death Valley.
QB: DJ Uiagalelei
Roster Notes: Uiagalelei had a miserable 2021 season with more interceptions than touchdowns. He has a hold of the job for now, but heralded freshman Cade Klubnik could take over if he continues to struggle. There are plenty of weapons with Joseph Ngata and Beaux Collins out wide and Will Shipley and Kobe Pace in the backfield. The offensive line needs to improve but should be pretty strong. Defensively, the Tigers will be as stout as ever with a loaded defensive line. The secondary is a little young so that could be an issue early as the group gathers experience.
Prediction: Slight lean to the under, but it's hard to count the Tigers out.
Florida State (Over 6.5 -135...Under 6.5 +115)
Non-Conference Games: Duquesne, vs. LSU (New Orleans), Louisiana, Florida
Schedule Notes: The Seminoles can show the college football world they are back in week two when they play LSU in New Orleans. Getting Florida at home to end the year is big as well. The ACC slate brings Clemson and Wake Forest to Tallahassee while the Seminoles travel to Louisville, NC State and Miami.
QB: Jordan Travis
Roster Notes: There are eight starters back on both sides of the ball. A lot of those are up front along an offensive line that has been battered the past few years. The hope is that their experience will lead to much improvement. Two of the top 3 RBs are back and five of the top six WRs return as well. The defense is without the conference player of the year (Jermaine Johnson II), but the experience on all levels should be huge. The question is if FSU can overcome potential adversity and not let it ruin the season.
Prediction: Lean to the under here especially at this price.
Louisville (Over 6.5 +105...Under 6.5 -125)
Non-Conference Games: at UCF, USF, James Madison, at Kentucky
Schedule Notes: Two straight on the road will test the Cardinals early. Yes, the Syracuse game is winnable, but the JMA Wireless Dome (new name for the Carrier Dome) will be rocking. They also have a sneaky-good JMU team and a road trip to in-state rival Kentucky. In-conference, Louisville hosts Wake Forest, NC State and Florida State while traveling to Clemson and Virginia. This is a slate that could produce a bunch of wins or a bunch of losses.
QB: Malik Cunningham
Roster Notes: Cunningham accounted for almost 4,000 yards last year. The WR corps has seen massive turnover with three of their top five gone, but a pair of transfers – Tyler Hudson (Central Arkansas) and Dee Wiggins (Miami) – have Tyler Hudson and Miami's Dee Wiggins are coming in. Tiyon Evans comes over from Tennessee to help out a deep running back group. Defensively, there are seven starters back with most of them coming in the front seven. A key secondary returnee is Ke'Trel Clark, who got hurt late last season.
Prediction: Solid number as I see 6-7 wins for the Cardinals.
NC State (Over 8.5 -150...Under 8.5 +130)
Non-Conference Games: at East Carolina, Charleston Southern, Texas Tech, UConn
Schedule Notes: The season starts out with a huge contest against in-state East Carolina on the road. The ACC slate features road trips to Clemson, Louisville and North Carolina while the Wolfpack get Florida State and Wake Forest at home.
QB: Devin Leary
Roster Notes: The hype levels are high once again for NC State with 18 starters back including the best linebacking corps in the conference. Payton Wilson and Isaiah Moore both got injured last year but should be at 100 percent. Pretty much everyone returns so it could be tough to score on this team. Leary had 35 touchdowns to five interceptions in 2021, but he needs a better run game after the top two RBs departed. The offensive line is pretty good with four of five starters returning. There's no excuse for this team in 2022 but Dave Doeren's team will have to make all the experience and talent count.
Prediction: I've got 10 wins for the Wolfpack but I'm definitely not taking it at -150.
Syracuse (Over 5 +120...Under 5 -140)
Non-Conference Games: at UConn, Purdue, Wagner, Notre Dame
Schedule Notes: The Orange have just one road game between week 1 and week 7. The problem is that afterward they play Clemson, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh back-to-back-to-back. The Cuse's season needs to get off to a good start to get to a bowl game because the back end is absolutely brutal.
QB: Garrett Shrader
Roster Notes: The offense stole coordinators from Virginia so the hope is that they'll open things up a little bit. Of course, it all begins with Sean Tucker who ran for almost 1,500 yards despite facing crowded boxes in almost every game. Shrader's weapons depend on a WR room with its top four options back and an offensive line that has four of five starters returning. Defensively, the secondary is one of the best units in the ACC. The questions come on the defensive line where a lot of the sacks departed. The Orange do return five of their top six tacklers.
Prediction: Five is my max and I'm not taking the under at -140 so no play here.
Wake Forest (Over 8.5 +110...Under 8.5 -130)
Non-Conference Games: VMI, at Vanderbilt, Liberty, Army
Schedule Notes: The Demon Deacons ease their way into the season with three potential wins before hosting Clemson to end September. They have a home-friendly slate which means the road trips are tough and include NC State and Florida State. Wake closes with two of three at home so that should help them should they need to make a late push to return to the ACC Championship Game.
QB: Sam Hartman
Roster Notes: The offense has seven starters back from a group that put up 40-plus points eight times in 2021. Hartman had 39 touchdown passes to 14 interceptions and three of his top four receivers are back. The run game is without their leading rusher, but the backups were pretty solid so if the offensive line continues to be strong, this team will be fun again. The problems were on the defensive side as the Demon Deacons gave up 40-plus five times. Six starters return and FCS Richmond transfer Kobie Turner could be a surprise up front. A couple of stops per game should be enough from this side of the ball.
Prediction: Solid number as I get 8-9 wins here.
Duke (Over 3 EVEN...Under 3 -120)
Non-Conference Games: Temple, at Northwestern, North Carolina A&T, at Kansas
Schedule Notes: There's an opportunity to get a few wins early which is important under new head coach Mike Elko. There's a small chance that the Blue Devils could be 3-1 in this portion before ACC play begins. Duke gets Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest at home with the toughest road games being at Pitt and Miami.
QB Battle: Riley Leonard vs. Jordan Moore
Roster Notes: Elko's hire should be good for a defense that gave up 45 points or more in the final six games. There are five starters back with the potential for an extremely young secondary. LB Shaka Hayward figures to be the best player on the unit. The offense has a pair of sophomores competing for the QB job. Both the leading rusher (Mateo Durant) and receiver (Jake Bobo) are gone. The offensive line is a veteran group and will be called upon to keep the QB upright.
Prediction: Three is my max so slight lean to the under.
Georgia Tech (Over 3.5 -115...Under 3.5 -105)
Non-Conference Games: Western Carolina, Ole Miss, at UCF, at Georgia
Schedule Notes: Year after year, this team continues to play a tough schedule and it's hurting when it comes to player development. They get two SEC opponents out of conference as well as a solid G5 team in UCF. The Yellow Jackets have four of their final five on the road and the home game during this stretch is in Miami.
QB: Jeff Sims
Roster Notes: Sims showed some progress last year, but only five starters return on offense. Leading rusher Jahmyr Gibbs went to Alabama so that hurts the backfield and three of the top four WRs are gone as well. The defense has even fewer starters returning with none of them being on the front line. This side of the ball could be in for a long year.
Prediction: Give me the under here. Such a tough schedule and so little potential.
Miami (Over 8.5 -120...Under 8.5 EVEN)
Non-Conference Games: Bethune-Cookman, Southern Miss, at Texas A&M, Middle Tennessee
Schedule Notes: The Hurricanes get an easy start to the year with five of their first seven at home. That is followed by three of five on the road, but there's a chance for this team to run off victories early. The road can be a bit rough with trips to College Station, Blacksburg, Charlottesville and Death Valley on tap.
QB: Tyler Van Dyke
Roster Notes: Van Dyke had an awesome 2021 season with 25 touchdowns to six interceptions and should see even more improvement with new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis coming over from Michigan. Top RB Jaylan Knighton is back so that stabilizes the backfield. The top two WRs are gone so someone else will need to step up. Defensively, seven starters are back and there's talent on all levels. One of the other big pickups for Miami besides new head coach is veteran defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.
Prediction: Solid number as I come up with 8-9 wins.
North Carolina (Over 7.5 +115...Under 7.5 -135)
Non-Conference Games: Florida A&M, at Appalachian State, at Georgia State, Notre Dame
Schedule Notes: The Tar Heels have two early sneaky road trips that could end up being losses if they aren't careful. They get a home matchup with Notre Dame after a bye week so that is beneficial. In ACC play, UNC gets Pitt, Virginia Tech and NC State at home and travels to Miami and Wake Forest.
QB Battle: Jacolby Criswell vs. Drake Maye
Roster Notes: No matter who is under center for UNC, it figures to be a downgrade with Sam Howell now in the NFL. There are only five starters returning on offense leading receiver Josh Downs (101 rec., 1,335 yds. in 2021) is a really nice foundational piece. Someone needs to step up in the backfield with Ty Chandler gone and that could be British Brooks. On defense, eight starters are back so improvement should be coming. The secondary features three returning starters and could get an additional boost from Ohio State transfer Lejond Cavazos.
Prediction: Seven is my max so I really like the under here for the Heels.
Pitt (Over 8.5 -110...Under 8.5 -110)
Non-Conference Games: West Virginia, Tennessee, at Western Michigan, Rhode Island.
Schedule Notes: The Panthers have five of their first six at home so they could really hit the ground running. Talking to some players at ACC Media Day, the game in Kalamazoo against Western Michigan is high on their priority list after losing to the MAC team last year. Pitt hosts the Backyard Brawl and Tennessee before facing WMU.
QB: USC transfer Kedon Slovis
Roster Notes: Losing Kenny Pickett, a Heisman Trophy finalist, is rather significant, but getting someone like Slovis could soften the blow a bit. Especially when it's combined with the loss of the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner in Jordan Addison, who transferred to USC. But otherwise, the Panthers return eight starters on offense. Seven are back on defense and this unit should be very strong once again. Three of the top four tacklers return, led by SirVocea Dennis at linebacker.
Prediction: The under is my play here. Pitt has some tough games later in the schedule.
Virginia (Over 7.5 +130...Under 7.5 -150)
Non-Conference Games: Richmond, at Illinois, Old Dominion, Coastal Carolina
Schedule Notes: The Cavaliers have four of their first seven games on the road, but they follow that up with four straight at home including matchups with Miami, Pitt and North Carolina. The non-conference slate is manageable especially if they can go to Champaign and beat the Illini.
QB: Brennan Armstrong
Roster Notes: It'll be interesting to see if the offense is as explosive through the air under new head coach Tony Elliott. Armstrong was fantastic in 2021, but had to be because the run game just didn't do enough and the defense was bad. He's got arguably the best WR corps in America with Dontayvion Wicks, Keytaon Thompson, Billy Kemp and Lavel Davis Jr. The other side of the ball still is a massive question mark so there's pressure on the offense to keep scoring because the D could be that bad. There's a slight bit of mystery though as UVA has shown very little to the public so far in terms of formations and things like that.
Prediction: I really like the over here, especially at this price. Armstrong and this offense should win a lot of games themselves.
Virginia Tech (Over 6.5 +125...Under 6.5 -145)
Non-Conference Games: at Old Dominion, Wofford, West Virginia, at Liberty
Schedule Notes: Two potential sneaky games in-state as the Hokies play Old Dominion and Liberty on the road. They have three straight at home after the opener, including a Thursday night tilt vs. old Big East rival West Virginia. The conference slate has tough road trips to North Carolina, Pitt and NC State while Miami and Virginia come to Blacksburg.
QB: Marshall transfer Grant Wells
Roster Notes: I have big-time concerns with the offense even though Wells could provide some much-needed stability at the quarterback position. The skill positions are decent, but there's no depth behind the starters so injuries would be a massive problem. The defense could resemble some of the old units of the past with new head coach Brent Pry, a former graduate assistant under Frank Beamer and Bud Foster, coming in. Pry was a great defensive coordinator at Penn State and he's got plenty of talent to work with. Dax Hollifield is a great linebacker and the front line has some talent as well but the key guys must stay healthy.
Prediction: Slight lean to the over. The reason why I'm not a huge fan is that the Hokies historically don't always win manageable road games.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.