Peach State Sports Blog

ACC preseason football power poll

1. Clemson: If sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson is healthy, watch out. But he has to stay healthy.

2. Georgia Tech: Justin Thomas is really talented, and he’s the perfect fit for Paul Johnson’s option offense. That’s a great starting point for the Yellow Jackets’ lofty goals this season.

3. Florida State: The Seminoles won so many games the past two years because of Jameis Winston but also in spite of him. They have to see if they can continue to win all those close games that without him.

4. Louisville: The Cardinals were close last year to beating Clemson and Florida State. They have the same hurdles this season in the Atlantic Division.

5. Duke: David Cutcliffe has done a remarkable job building this program from nothing, winning 19 games the past two seasons. Now, the Blue Devils have to see if they can continue that run.

6. Miami: Doesn’t it always feel like we’re waiting for the Hurricanes to be “back?”

7. Pittsburgh: James Conner is a special player and can do a lot of things for this team, which will be better than most people think.

8. Virginia Tech: The Hokies, on the other hand, have drawn attention this year as they try to return to relevance. But are they really that much better than the past two years when they went 15-11?

9. N.C. State: The Wolfpack finished strong last year, winning four of their final five games. So they are hoping some of that momentum -- and quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s strong play -- can carry over to this year.

10. North Carolina: The Tar Heels have scored a lot of points the past few years, and they have given up a lot, as well. Until they fix the defense, they will be stuck in the bottom half of the conference.

11. Boston College: Steve Addazio has done a solid job with the Eagles, taking over a mess and turning it into a 7-6 team the past two years.

12. Virginia: There were high hopes for Mike London’s program after an 8-5 season in 2011, but the Cavaliers are 11-25 since.

13: Syracuse: Scott Shafer’s program stumbled from seven wins in his first season to three last year.

14. Wake Forest: Dave Clawson has a tough job in front of him, and that was on display in last year’s 3-9 showing.