2014 Forecast: Tigers, Cards, 'Noles fight for Atlantic, Coastal a toss-up

Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas looks to pass against Clemson.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas looks to pass against Clemson.

Earlier this week, we did a breakdown of the view from Vegas on Clemson’s season via CFBMatrix, which is projecting a 10-2 season.

Taking an expanded look at the ACC picture…

ACC Projected Wins v. Vegas Odds

Atlantic

1. Florida State – CFBMatrix projected wins: 11.5. By the odds: 12-0 (8-0 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 1. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Boston College (-45). Biggest underdog: N/A.

2. Clemson – CFBMatrix projected wins: 9.5. By the odds: 10-2 (6-2 ACC)*. Vegas rank: No. 22. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Georgia State (-45). Biggest underdog: at Florida State (+24).

* Giving the edge in “pick’em” games to the higher projected team.

3. Louisville – CFBMatrix projected wins: 7.5. By the odds: 9-3 (6-2 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 34. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. at FIU (-21). Biggest underdog: at Florida State (+18.5).

4. Syracuse – CFBMatrix projected wins: 6.5. By the odds: 6-6 (3-5 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 56. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Central Michigan (-9.5). Biggest underdog: at Florida State (+26).

5. N.C. State - CFBMatrix projected wins: 7. By the odds: 6-6 (2-6 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 62. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Old Dominion (-34). Biggest underdog: at Florida State (+27).

6. Wake Forest – CFBMatrix projected wins: 3.5. By the odds: 4-8 (1-7 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 83. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Army (-10). Biggest underdog: at Florida State (+42).

7. Boston College – CFBMatrix projected wins: 5. By the odds: 3-9 (0-8 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 81. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. UMass (-23). Biggest underdog: at Florida State (+45).

Analysis: No big surprises or disparities in the Atlantic – Florida State is the favored to win by 30 points per game in ACC play this season, which seems crazy until you realize they won by 35 points per in nine ‘13 conference matchups. Outside of the potential top-10 matchups with Clemson and FSU, Louisville is expected to have a strong ACC debut. N.C. State is projected two Ws after a winless 2013 ACC slate to go bowling.

Coastal

1. Duke – CFBMatrix projected wins: 7. By the odds: 10-2 (6-2). Vegas rank: No. 44. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Kansas (-20). Biggest underdog: at Georgia Tech (+7).

1. Virginia Tech – CFBMatrix projected wins: 9. By the odds: 9-3 (6-2 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 41. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Boston College (-18.5). Biggest underdog: at UNC (+4.5).

1. Georgia Tech – CFBMatrix projected wins: 5.5. By the odds: 9-3 (6-2 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 30. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Georgia Southern (-31). Biggest underdog: at Georgia (+11).

4. Miami – CFBMatrix projected wins: 8. By the odds: 7-5 (4-4). Vegas rank: No. 39. Biggest favorite (FBS): at Arkansas State (-27). Biggest underdog: at Florida State (+19.5).

5. North Carolina – CFBMatrix projected wins: 7. By the odds: 7-5 (4-4 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 40. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Pittsburgh, N.C. State (-12.5). Biggest underdog: at Clemson (+10).

6. Pittsburgh – CFBMatrix projected wins: 7. By the odds: 6-6 (3-5 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 63. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Akron (-15.5). Biggest underdog: at UNC (+12.5).

7. Virginia – CFBMatrix projected wins: 7. By the odds: 2-10 (0-8 ACC). Vegas rank: No. 73. Biggest favorite (FBS): v. Kent State (-6). Biggest underdog: at Florida State (+38).

Analysis: The Coastal – in a word – is a “mess.” CFBMatrix has six of the seven teams bowling, but just one favored to win more than eight games. Vegas has five Coastal teams in the top-44, creating some disparities – the largest on Duke (Vegas expects 10 Ws; CFBM 7), Virginia (Vegas: 2; CFBM: 7) and Georgia Tech (Vegas: 9; CFBM: 5.5). The division is a true cast of the die. Virginia and Miami draw the short end of the stick with Florida State as cross-divisional opponent, while UNC and Georgia Tech draw Clemson. If Duke can navigate some moderately tough roadies (Miami, GT, Pitt, Syracuse), they have a homestretch conducive to back-to-back Coastal crowns.

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Comments » 7

fasttiger44#293363 writes:

Before the month of September is over, we Clemson fans will know how good or bad we are to that point of the season. Beating Georgia in Athens will not be an easy task but, it is doable. Beating FSU in Tallahassee is a much, much harder task and while it is not out of the realm of possibility if our defense plays like a bunch of All-America's. Right now you have to think we will not win the game. But we could. After September is over if we stand at 1 and 2 we have our work cut out for us to go 10 and 2 but the real hard road games will be done with. I would put the odds at 15 to 1 against us being 3 and 0 after the first 3 weeks of the season. I would take those odds, too, by the way. I think a lot of people may be under estimating how good a defensive team we will put on the field. And everybody knows the old saying, "defense wins championships". We shall see.

Xander5000 writes:

We really need to have tough skin and stamina. While everyone is looking at the tough road games....and understandably so.....its the home game against UNC that people need to pay attention to. After being in two slobber knocker type battles with Georgia and Florida State, will the body really be up for a NASCAR-INDYCar-Formula 1 race that UNC will bring to Death Valley. The WILL to win will be tested in September that is for sure.

Clemorange writes:

We need 1st team all-American play against Georgia and Florida state and South Carolina but we are so deep that our 2nd team roster can take care of the rest. I'm excited for Stoudt, nervous but excited. He has stepped in well I just hope he can stand. Our defence will be INSANE, I just need our offense to stand up and win those occasional shoot outs or high scoring games.

TigerFan95 writes:

The Atlantic is about right except I have BC ahead of NC ST & Wake...Don’t understand why UNC is picked 4th in the Coastal…Some preseason polls have them in the top 15…How could they be the 4th best team in the Coastal? The team that I think will have a surprisingly good year in that division is Miami…I’m picking the Hurricanes to win it followed by UNC, Duke, VT, Pitt, GT & UVA.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

The Atlantic is about right except I have BC ahead of NC ST & Wake...Don’t understand why UNC is picked 4th in the Coastal…Some preseason polls have them in the top 15…How could they be the 4th best team in the Coastal? The team that I think will have a surprisingly good year in that division is Miami…I’m picking the Hurricanes to win it followed by UNC, Duke, VT, Pitt, GT & UVA.

Why is UNC picked 4th (actually 5th)? Well for one, they have a game at Death Valley. They gave up 50+ points the last 2 times there and their defense is not going to be good. That's an automatic loss in my book that the rest of the division doesn't have to deal with. Same for Miami as they'll get smoked by FSU. So UNC and Miami basically start down a loss in the division. And I disagree that GT is going to beat Clemson. Paul Johnson's offensive scheme worked against Clemson when he first got there but I think it's been figured out. So long as Clemson's defense gets off the field and Stoudt doesn't give the ball back, Clemson should win.

So GT, Miami, and UNC are pretty much guaranteed to have losses against the Atlantic. They're basically spotting VT and Duke a loss. The rest of the conference has it easy. VT's Atlantic opponents are @WF and BC. They've got GT and Miami at home. Their toughest road games are @Duke and @UNC. That's why I think VT wins the coastal or at least the VT-Duke game decides it. Duke's schedule is less favorable than VT (@GT, @Miami, @Syracuse). But neither VT or Duke has an automatic conference loss on their schedule and that's why they'll finish ahead of UNC and Miami even though they're probably not the better teams. In truth, you could throw a blanket over everyone but UVa and they're all pretty much the same. That's why I think the weakest schedule could decide the division. All the more reason why they should be playing 9 conference games to have more balance in scheduling.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

The Atlantic is about right except I have BC ahead of NC ST & Wake...Don’t understand why UNC is picked 4th in the Coastal…Some preseason polls have them in the top 15…How could they be the 4th best team in the Coastal? The team that I think will have a surprisingly good year in that division is Miami…I’m picking the Hurricanes to win it followed by UNC, Duke, VT, Pitt, GT & UVA.

BTW, if UNC is a top 15 team on the strength of their high-powered offense (b/c their defense was awful last year)... who is their QB? They don't even know since they haven't named one and won't until the fall. That's a problem! The assumption was Marquise Williams since he finished the season pretty strong but Fedora surprised everyone and opened up the position. The fact that Williams hasn't won the job yet is troubling. I'm selling UNC as a top 15 team. 4-4 or 5-3 in the ACC is what I see in their future with another loss @ND and even possibly @ECU.

harryD writes:

Sammy Watkins run this town you tube....man I miss him already.

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