Is it Clemson vs. the world once again?
It's been a wild few months, and as of now, it looks like we're going to have college football. The past few years, I've examined the win totals for every team across every FBS conference to find value, and we will do so once again. This season, though, with many of the teams not getting a lot of work in the spring, there will be new challenges. Because of that, new coaches and quarterback battles could cause some slow starts.
For those who have not read these articles in the past, I'll give opinions on every team, even if the win total number is exactly what it should be. Because of all of the uncertainty with the season, you have to be 100 percent sure of your wager before locking up the money for a couple of months. The bet could also be voided if the season is shorter than 12 games, which could occur if there's another flare-up of COVID-19. To start things off, let's take a look at the ACC.
Note: Win total numbers courtesy of Caesar's.
Boston College (O/U 5)
Non-Conference Games: Ohio, at Kansas, Purdue, Holy Cross
Schedule Quirks: Five of first six games at home, and second road game isn't until Oct. 22 at Virginia Tech.
QB Battle: Dennis Grosel (returnee) vs. Phil Jurkovec (Notre Dame transfer - if awarded a waiver for immediate eligibility)
Roster Notes: 13 starters back, but brand-new coaching staff led by former Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. Eagles should have a strong run game and lost only three sacks from last year's defense.
Prediction: Lean to the over, although most of the wins will need to come before the bye.
Clemson (O/U 11.5)
Non-Conference Games: Akron, at Notre Dame, The Citadel, South Carolina
Schedule Quirks: Three of four non-conference games are in November. In ACC play, Clemson hosts Virginia, Louisville, and NC State.
QB: Trevor Lawrence
Roster Notes: 12 starters back, but need to replace four offensive linemen and Tigers have already lost expected No. 1 wide receiver Justyn Ross to a season-ending injury. Just one starter returns in secondary.
Prediction: Lean to the under, as I just don't think Clemson will go undefeated. Could lose at Florida State or Notre Dame.
Florida State (O/U 7.5)
Non-Conference Games: vs. West Virginia (Atlanta), Samford, at Boise State, Florida
Schedule Quirks: Early bye (Week 4), Seminoles host Florida and Clemson this year.
QB: James Blackman (working with this fourth offensive coordinator in four years)
Roster Notes: 17 starters back, but new coaching staff. We'll see if the defense and offensive line can improve from last year.
Prediction: Under is the play here. Team will be better, but the Seminoles' schedule is very tough.
Louisville (O/U 7.5)
Non-Conference Games: Murray State, WKU, at Notre Dame, Kentucky
Schedule Quirks: Open with two ACC games (NC State, at Clemson) and close with Virginia, Notre Dame, and Kentucky as three of last four.
QB: Micale Cunningham
Roster Notes: 15 starters back in year two under head coach Scott Satterfield. Nine of top 11 tacklers return, but this defense got gashed by better opponents last season.
Prediction: Lean to the under.
NC State (O/U 4.5)
Non-Conference Games: Mississippi State, at Troy, Delaware, Liberty
Schedule Quirks: Don't sleep on the road date with Troy in Week 3, which comes after hosting Mississippi State. Wolfpack play four of five at home after opening on the road against Louisville.
QB Battle: Devin Leary vs. redshirt freshman Ty Evans vs. true freshman Ben Finley (brother of former NC State star and current Cincinnati Bengal Ryan Finley)
Roster Notes: 12 starters back, but two new primary coordinators (Tim Beck and Tony Gibson) among five new assistants. Is head coach Dave Doeren's seat getting warm?
Prediction: Lean to the over especially if the QB play improves. There are wins to be had on this slate.
Syracuse (O/U 5.5)
Non-Conference Games: at Rutgers, Colgate, at Western Michigan, Liberty
Schedule Quirks: Three of the first four games are on the road; three of final five are in the Carrier Dome.
QB: Tommy DeVito
Roster Notes: Team returns only nine starters and 41 percent of their catches and 45 percent of their receiving yards from last season. Have to replace seven starters on defense, including top two tacklers and three starters up front.
Prediction: Lean to the over if DeVito improves from last year.
Wake Forest (O/U 7)
Non-Conference Games: at Old Dominion, Appalachian State, Villanova, vs. Notre Dame (Charlotte, N.C.)
Schedule Quirks: No ACC games until October, three of last four are at home.
QB: Sam Hartman
Roster Notes: 12 returning starters, but just three on offense. Biggest issue on defense will be replacing starting cornerbacks. Wide receiver Sage Surratt is the most reliable skill position player back, but he's rehabbing a shoulder injury.
Prediction: Under big time. This is my favorite total among ACC teams.
Duke (O/U 5.5)
Non-Conference Games: Middle Tennessee, Elon, Charlotte (all within first 12 days of season), at Notre Dame
Schedule Quirks: Five of first seven games are at home; Blue Devils also host Virginia and Virginia Tech in November.
QB Battle: Clemson transfer Chase Brice vs. Gunnar Holmberg vs. Chris Katrenick vs. Luca Diamont
Roster Notes: 13 returning starters, including seven of the top nine tacklers. But mostly unproven skill position guys on offense.
Prediction: No play here, as I come up with 5-6 wins.
Georgia Tech (O/U 3)
Non-Conference Games: Gardner-Webb, UCF, Notre Dame (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), @ Georgia
Schedule Quirks: Three straight home games to start season followed by back-to-back ACC road games against North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
QB Battle: James Graham most likely, but some freshmen could threaten.
Roster Notes: 17 starters return and a pair of SEC graduate transfers are expected to start on right side of the offensive line.
Prediction: Slight lean to the under as I come up with 2-3 wins.
Miami (O/U 9)
Non-Conference Games: Temple, Wagner, UAB, at Michigan State
Schedule Quirks: Four of the first five games are at home, two trips to Virginia fall later in the slate.
QB: Houston transfer D'Eriq King
Roster Notes: New offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee overseeing switch to spread attack. Five starters return along the offensive line but four of the top six tacklers from a top-20 defense are gone.
Prediction: 9 is about right.
North Carolina (O/U 8.5)
Non-Conference Games: at UCF, vs. Auburn (Atlanta), James Maddison, UConn
Schedule Quirks: Just three home games before Halloween, but Tar Heels miss Clemson, Florida State and Louisville in ACC crossover draw.
QB: Sam Howell
Roster Notes: 17 starters back. This team played a lot of close games last year (went 7-6), so improvement in the win column could be forthcoming.
Prediction: No play, as I come up with 8-9 wins.
Pittsburgh (O/U 6.5)
Non-Conference Games: Miami (Ohio), at Marshall, Richmond, Notre Dame
Schedule Quirks: Six of the first nine games are at home, but ACC road schedule is tough (Miami, Florida State, North Carolina Virginia).
QB: Kenny Pickett
Roster Notes: 15 starters back, but lose leading receiver Maurice Ffrench. Panthers could have the best safety duo in the ACC.
Prediction: Slight lean to the over.
Virginia (O/U 6.5)
Non-Conference Games: vs. Georgia (Atlanta), VMI, UConn (all three games in first 12 days of season), at Old Dominion
Schedule Quirks: Outside of Clemson and Virginia Tech, Cavaliers' road slate is fairly manageable.
QB battle: Brennan Armstrong vs. Mississippi State transfer Keytaon Thompson
Roster Notes: All five starters return along the offensive line, but dual-threat quarterback Bryce Perkins and his top two wide receivers and tight end are gone. Defense returns every starter but linebacker Jordan Mack and cornerback Bryce Hall.
Prediction: Over. Virginia is my second-favorite wager in the conference.
Virginia Tech (O/U 8)
Non-Conference Games: Liberty, Penn State, at Middle Tennessee, North Alabama
Schedule Quirks: Five of the first seven games are at home; Hokies miss Clemson and Florida State from the Atlantic and also get Miami and Virginia at home in November.
QB: Hendon Hooker
Roster Notes: Intriguing skill position guys and plenty back on defense. New defensive staff led by coordinator Justin Hamilton could be challenged early.
Prediction: Solid number. Come up with 8 wins.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.