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Will Florida State finish undefeated once again?

Philadelphia, PA ( - The last time a team went unbeaten for two straight seasons in FBS play was back in 1994-1995 when Nebraska was a combined 25-0. Since then, 22 teams have failed, including Florida State in 1999-2000.

Two of the 22 clubs were undefeated heading into the bowl game - Miami-Florida in 2002 and USC in 2005 - but the former lost to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl while the latter fell to Texas in the Rose Bowl. Outside of Boise State's one- loss campaign in 2010 (after a 14-0 record in 2009), the other 19 squads all lost two games or more. In fact, the average number of losses for all 22 teams coming off unbeaten seasons is three.

(As a side note, only seven of the last 52 teams with 12 or more wins in a given season came back with a better winning percentage the following year.)

Given all of those numbers, the likelihood of Florida State winning every single 2014 game is slim. However, due to the lack of quality opponents in the ACC, the Seminoles should win the conference with ease.

Time now to take a deeper look into the league, along with conference championship odds and regular season over/under totals courtesy of Bovada.


7) PITTSBURGH (40-1) - The Panthers are 12-6-2 as road underdogs the last seven years. They overachieved in their first ACC season going 7-6 and this year's schedule is easier with Boston College replacing Florida State. Nevertheless, instead of returning seven of their top nine tackles-for-loss leaders as they did in 2013, they bring back just four of their top eight in 2014. On the other side of the ball, there is a new quarterback behind an offensive line which has allowed 145 sacks over the last three years.

Final thought - Quarterback Chad Voytik led Pittsburgh over Bowling Green in the bowl game but doing it for a full season against better opponents will be his downfall. Over/under total - 7.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 5-7, 2-6. Take under 7.5 wins at -150.

6) VIRGINIA (66-1) - The Cavaliers are 4-14-1 ATS at home the last three years. They scored just 12 touchdowns in 27 chances inside the red zone last season - a 44 percent clip. If history has any say in the matter, that percentage will rise in 2014, meaning an increase in points scored. However, keep in mind that three sophomores will start on the offensive line. The defense will be much-improved with the return of Chris Brathwaite and the addition of true freshman, Andrew Brown. Moreover, it is doubtful such a veteran secondary will bring home a 12th-place league finish in pass defense for a second straight season.

Final thought - A very underrated defense will help Virginia win five or six games after just two victories in 2013. Over/under total - 3.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 5-7, 3-5. Take over 3.5 wins at even money.

5) DUKE (20-1) - The Blue Devils are 6-1 as home favorites the last three years. They outscored their ACC opponents 32-28 last year but were outgained by 41 yards per game. In fact, they tied Boston College for sixth in scoring defense inside league play but ranked next-to-last in total defense. With the loss of three starters on the defensive line as well as their top cornerback, look for a sharp decline in points allowed. However, the offense should post similar numbers to last year, which will keep the Blue Devils in most of the games they play.

Final thought - Duke had just two unders in 2012 but went for seven last year. Look for fewer unders in 2014. Over/under total - 8.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 8-4, 4-4.

4) GEORGIA TECH (25-1) - The Yellow Jackets are 1-4 as home underdogs the last four years. A change in philosophy last year (more shotgun snaps) coupled with a banged-up offensive line and a host of lost turnovers held the offense in check as points scored in league play shriveled from 320 to 249. To make matters worse, last year's top three rushing leaders are gone, taking with them 26 touchdowns. It will be even worse on defense with the loss of four of the top six tacklers. The secondary looks strong but stopping the run and generating a pass rush will be major challenges.

Final thought - Georgia Tech has averaged seven regular season straight-up wins the last four years and five ATS victories the last five years. Those numbers appear to be attainable this season. Over/under total - 6.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 7-5, 4-4.

3) MIAMI-FLORIDA (12-1) - The Hurricanes are 12-21 as home favorites the last seven years. Last year was the season the defense should have shown progress. Instead, Miami allowed one more ppg in ACC play than in 2012 and ranked last in the league allowing opposing teams to convert 49 percent on third down. With four of the top six tacklers back, the defense should knock a few points off its league average. Nonetheless, the offensive numbers, which were virtually the same as in 2012, will dip this year with the lack of a quality quarterback.

Final thought - A road game at Louisville replaces a home date with Wake Forest so don't expect another above .500 ACC season. Over/under total - 7.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 6-6, 4-4. Take under 7.5 wins at +130.

2) VIRGINIA TECH (12-1) - The Hokies are 7-19 ATS as favorites the last three years. The last two seasons have seen them lose a combined seven conference games - the most in two straight years since 2002 and 2003. Last year, the offensive line allowed 33 sacks and the running game averaged just 3.2 ypc. This year, a successful season depends on how well quarterback Michael Brewer (formerly with Texas Tech) adapts to new surroundings since the defense won't be as strong with the loss of five of its seven sack leaders.

Final thought - Despite the losses, the Hokies draw Wake Forest and Boston College from the Atlantic Division so a second consecutive eight-win campaign is likely. Over/under total - 8. Predicted overall and conference records - 8-4, 5-3.

1) NORTH CAROLINA (10-1) - The Tar Heels are 1-5 in their last six games as road underdogs. They were a one trick pony on offense until Marquise Williams took over for an injured Bryn Renner. North Carolina won four of its final five games with Williams, who also led the team in rushing with 536 yards. Eight starters return to an offense that should top the division in scoring. Defensively is where the issues come, especially up front where only one starter returns. Still, seven of the top 10 tacklers are back so the numbers won't drop much from 2013.

Final thought - Clemson replaces Boston College on the schedule but this year's club is in better shape than it was a season ago. Over/under total - 8. Predicted overall and conference records - 8-4, 5-3.


7) WAKE FOREST (200-1) - The Demon Deacons are 9-18 ATS as road underdogs the last seven years. Only Purdue and Kansas from the Power Five conferences averaged fewer points than Wake Forest did last season. And only Purdue and Washington State averaged fewer yards per carry. This season, the Demon Deacons start over with a brand new coach (Dave Clawson) and new starting quarterback (Tyler Cameron, who was 7-of-24 with three interceptions a year ago). Furthermore, the defensive line brings back zero starters to operate a brand new 4-3 formation.

Final thought - Last year's four-win team looks much worse this season. Surprisingly, the over/under total is 3.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 2-10, 0-8. Take under 3.5 wins at +145.

6) BOSTON COLLEGE (200-1) - The Eagles are 6-17 as road favorites the last 10 years. They had an unbelievable season in 2013 averaging eight more ppg in league play than in 2012 despite fewer yards per game. In addition, they were outgained by 57 ypg inside the ACC but outscored by just a single point. Seventeen starters helped the Eagles win seven games (after only two in 2012), but just nine starters return this season. Moreover, they need to replace 2,000-yard rusher, Andre Williams, and 1,000-yard receiver, Alex Amidon.

Final thought - The Eagles went from last nationally in sacks and tackles for loss to 21st and tied for 30th, respectively. Expect those rankings to drop in 2014. Over/under total - 5. Predicted overall and conference records - 5-7, 2-6.

5) SYRACUSE (66-1) - The Orange are 8-14 as home underdogs the last seven years. They were outgained by just 33 yards against conference foes in 2013 but outscored by 12 points per game. The offense was the culprit as Syracuse averaged only 16 ppg in ACC play. Look for a higher total in 2014 as the club scored touchdowns on just nine of 20 red zone chances a year ago. The Orange should continue their stellar defensive play with the return of 14 of the top 18 tacklers.

Final thought - Syracuse was the only FBS team not to allow a 100-yard rusher in a single game last year. Over/under total - 5.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 7-5, 4-4. Take over 5.5 wins at -150.

4) NC STATE (100-1) - The Wolfpack are an unbelievable 0-13-1 as road favorites the last 11 years. They had the misfortune of dropping 20 percentage points in red zone offense and defense inside ACC play a season ago. As mentioned earlier, that means a rise in points for and a decrease in points against in 2014. Look for new quarterback Jacoby Brissett to have a fabulous season helping the Wolfpack win many more games than the three they recorded last year. In addition, the defense brings back 10 of its top 13 tacklers after coming into 2013 without its top six.

Final thought - The Wolfpack gained more yards than their opponents last year but were outscored by a touchdown per game. That won't happen this season. Over/under total - 5.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 9-3, 5-3. Take over 5.5 wins at -140.

3) LOUISVILLE (10-1) - The Cardinals are 12-18 as home favorites the last seven years. They ranked second nationally in scoring defense last year and first in total defense. However, the loss of six of their top eight tacklers, will send those rankings downward. Offensively. almost all of the key contributors return except for Teddy Bridgewater. However, with the change to a more wide-open league from the defensive-minded American Athletic Conference, look for the Cardinals to average more points per game inside the ACC than the 29 they picked up last year in the AAC.

Final thought - Another key reason for more offense is the change in coaching styles from defense first (Charlie Strong) to offense first (Bobby Petrino). Louisville went 9-3 to the under last year. Expect a reversal in 2014. Over/under total - 8. Predicted overall and conference records - 8-4, 5-3.

2) CLEMSON (10-1) - The Tigers are 30-17 ATS in conference play under Dabo Sweeney. Clemson's scoring average has increased the last four times the club came into a season with a new quarterback but that statistic will be tested with the loss of Tajh Boyd, along with the team's leading rusher and top two receivers. On the other side of the ball, not many teams in the country have a better front four than Clemson but four of the seven starters from the back seven are gone.

Final thought - Don't underestimate the loss of kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who connected on 31-of-33 field goals, including 9-of-10 from 40 yards or more, the last two years. Over/under total - 8.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 8-4, 6-2.

1) FLORIDA STATE (4-11) - The Seminoles are 13-6 ATS in non-conference play under Jimbo Fisher. Not only did they win the 2013 National Championship, they did so by outscoring their opponents 723-170. This year they lose two of their top three rushers and receivers where last year they brought back two of their top three running backs and wide receivers. Defensively, six starters return, but only one of their top six tacklers comes back to Tallahassee. Last year, they returned just four defensive starters but brought back five of their top seven tacklers.

Final thought - Florida State could easily win another National Championship since the talent remaining is still a notch above almost every other team in the country. However, don't expect the Seminoles to go into the postseason undefeated. Over/under total - 11.5. Predicted overall and conference records - 11-1, 7-1. Take under 11.5 wins at -125.

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