Signing Day down, the release of the ACC football schedule and spring practice are next on the docket for the 2013 season.
But the way-too-early projections are still rolling in – this time from the stat-centric Football Outsiders’ crew.
Alabama is the overwhelming favorite (+46.2) and Oregon No. 2 (+34.8), with Florida State the top-ranked in the ACC (12th/+23.1) and Clemson next (21st/+17.7).
Among out-of-conference ’13 opponents, Georgia (+24.1), with 13 returning starters, is 11th, and South Carolina (+21.3), with 12 returning starters, is 16th.
Virginia Tech (+14.2) and Pittsburgh (+11.4) are the only other ACC teams in the top-30, but the conference is the only one with every team in the top-80 and is tied with the PAC-12 and Big Ten for the second-most top-50 teams (8 – UNC, Miami, Georgia Tech and Syracuse the others).
Of note, the same measure correctly projected Alabama as 2012’s best team, FSU as the ACC champ and success for Notre Dame and Texas A&M, who lost five and six games respectively the year before. It also had Clemson as the second-best team in the conference, at 26th.
Steele projects Tigers as top-ranked ACC team preseason
Phil Steele, of over-the-top (but awesome) college football preview magazine fame, projects the Tigers as No. 11 in August’s preseason AP poll.
Last year, he hit all of the top-10, which this year’s version includes No. 6 Georgia and No. 9 South Carolina. Florida State is No. 13.
In Steele’s recruiting rankings, the Seminoles just crack the top-10 in 10th, with Alabama atop the crowd followed by Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida and Michigan. Clemson checks in at 13th.
FSU and Miami signed the most top-20 players by position in his rankings (4), with Virginia Tech next (3) and Clemson and Pittsburgh after that (2).
ACC teams signed five of the nation’s top-20 defensive backs (VT’s Kendall Fuller and Holland Fisher; Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander; Miami’s Artie Burns; FSU’s Jalen Ramsey).