ACC Football: Five Teams to Watch

The clock is ticking to the start of another season of college football, and there are five teams in the ACC that have caught Doc’s Sports eye, especially when it comes to wagering on which one will win this season’s conference title based on NCAAF betting odds.

Florida State Seminoles

Florida State has dominated this conference the past few seasons. However, with quarterback Jameis Winston departing for the NFL, there could be a changing of the guard in 2015. The betting odds that the Seminoles win the ACC again this season are still the best on the board at +240, but the gap between them and the other top teams is as close as it has been in quite some time.

This offense got a boost when former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson decided to play his final college season in Tallahassee, and there is still some solid depth at both the running back and wide receiver positions. The biggest question mark with this team is on the defensive side of the ball after ranking 50th in points allowed (25.6) last season.

Clemson Tigers

The Tigers have played in the shadow of Florida State for the past few seasons, and the simple fact that both teams play in the Atlantic Division has kept Clemson out of the title hunt with losses to the Seminoles the last three years. Every ACC fan has Nov. 7 circled on this season’s schedule when the two rivals will square off against one another in Clemson.

Many football experts are pinning the Tigers’ conference title hopes as +250 second-favorites on the play of quarterback Deshaun Watson after wowing fans with his play last season as a freshman. Clemson has to hope he can stay healthy enough to live up to these lofty expectations.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech won the Coastal Division last season with a 6-2 record in ACC play, and it came very close to knocking off Florida State in the title game in a 37-35 loss as 3.5-point underdogs. The Yellow Jackets went on to stun Mississippi State 49-34 as six-point underdogs in last season’s Orange Bowl. They have been listed as +450 third-favorites to win the ACC this time around.

The Yellow Jackets will get a shot at beating both Clemson and Florida State during the regular season with a road game against the Tigers on Oct.10 followed by a home game against the Seminoles two weeks later. The biggest strength of Georgia Tech should be their offensive line and a running game that averaged 342.1 yards a game in 2014.

Virginia Tech Hokies

The Hokies are coming off a disappointing 3-5 record in conference play last season as part of an overall record of 7-6. Expectations in Blacksburg are running high for a return to the upper echelon of the ACC in 2015 as +800 fourth-favorites to win a conference title. Much of their chances could hinge on what happens in mid-November in a Thursday night trip to Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech has always been known for playing tough defense, but a lack of true playmakers have hurt this offense over the past several years. The Hokies will need to get some better production from an offense that was ranked 96th in the nation in scoring last year with an average of just 24.1 points a game.

Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals were able to win five of eight games in their inaugural season in the ACC after coming over from the American Athletic Conference, but they closed as favorites in all five of those games. The losses came to Virginia, Clemson and Florida State, which are all on the schedule this season as well.

Louisville comes into this second season as +850 fifth-favorites to make that dramatic leap to the top of the ACC, but it will need quite a few things to go right to actually get there. The main thing in the Cardinals’ favor is a front seven on defense that helped this unit rank 24th in the nation last season in points allowed (21.8).

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