Conference Preview: ACC

NC State cornerback David Amerson (photo credit to Andrew Shurtleff)

           Projected Order of Finish

Atlantic                                          Coastal

1. Florida State                             1. Virginia Tech

2. Clemson                                   2. Georgia Tech

3. North Carolina State               3. North Carolina

4. Wake Forest                             4. Virginia

5. Boston College                        5. Miami

6. Maryland                                    6. Duke

Conference Champion: Florida State

Offensive Player of the Year: Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins – Clemson

     This sensational sophomore burst onto the national scene last fall and enjoyed one of the more prolific freshman seasons in ACC history; Watkins finished with 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. Another offseason to gel with quarterback Tajh Boyd and coordinator Chad Morris means Sammy should be even better in 2012/2013.

Defensive Player of the Year: Cornerback David Amerson – North Carolina State

     The junior corner compiled some remarkable statistics last season by finishing with 51 tackles, 18 passes defended, and an FBS-high 13 interceptions. Amerson has the unique combination of size (6’3), speed, and instincts that make him one of the top defensive backs in the country. David was an All-American in 2011/2012 and should contend for these honors once again.

Surprise Team: North Carolina State

     Preseason hype in the ACC’s Atlantic Division has dealt solely with Florida State and Clemson up to this point, and for good reason. There’s a team up in Raleigh, though, that could play a big role in determining who takes home the division crown. The Wolfpack return one of the conference’s best quarterbacks in Mike Glennon, a veteran offensive line, and a defense that brings back seven starters including All-ACC defensive backs David Amerson and Earl Wolff. A favorable schedule void of Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech means NC State could have only one conference loss when the ‘Pack travels to Death Valley to play Clemson on November 17th.

Best Game: Florida State at Virginia Tech – November 8th

     This Thursday night showdown in Blacksburg pits arguably the ACC’s two best teams against each other; both of whom have their eyes on a conference title and a BCS birth. Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas will have to bring his A-game against a Seminole defense that led the ACC in all four major defensive categories last season.

     Honorable Mentions: Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech – September 3rd

     Clemson at Florida State – September 22nd

     Virginia Tech at Clemson – October 20th

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