College Football Futures: ACC Champion Picks
2019 Record: (14-1, 80 CONF)
For obvious reasons, Clemson is the significant odds-on favorite to win the ACC Championship. Head coach Dabo Swinney has had the ACC figured out, suffering two conference losses only once since 2012.
The Tigers have lost only two games in the ACC over the last five seasons; 2016 against Pittsburgh and 2017 at Syracuse.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence enters the season with the second best odds to win the Heisman Trophy at (+500), and could be poised to be the number one pick in the NFL Draft. Lawrence finished the season throwing for 3,665 passing yards with 36 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
As if Lawrence wasn’t enough, the Tigers will be returning back-to-back ACC player of the year running back Travis Etienne. Etienne rushed for 1,614 yards and 19 touchdowns with 432 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
With a dynamic offense and an always stout defense, Clemson is deservingly the front runner and outright team to beat in ACC.
2019 Record: (6-7, 4-4 CONF)
The winner of the ACC has come from the Atlantic Division each of the last nine seasons (Clemson and Florida State). However, with that said, the winner of the Coastal Division still has to play the winner of the Atlantic in the Conference Championship each season.
Look no further than the Miami Hurricanes to win the Coastal Division. In 2017, the Hurricanes were back in the ACC Championship against the Clemson Tigers but were rolled over 38-3.
The Hurricanes’ biggest issue last season was stability at the quarterback position. Yet, Miami made a move to make a major improvement with transfer dual-threat quarterback D'eriq King from Houston.
In 2018, King was one of the most explosive quarterbacks in college football throwing for nearly 3,000 yards with 36 touchdowns and six interceptions with 674 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.
With the odds sitting at +900, there's plenty of value worth betting on with Miami, especially if King can come up big.
North Carolina Tarheels
2019 Record: (7-6, 4-4 CONF)
North Carolina turned a serious corner in 2019 under head coach Mack Brown. The former National Championshi- winning head coach led the Tarheels to their first Bowl game since 2016, and an over .500 record.
Freshman quarterback Sam Howell was the biggest bright spot of the season throwing for over 3,600 yards, 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
For the same reasons Miami is worth a gamble, North Carolina has a strong chance at least of reaching the ACC title game by winning the Coastal Division. With the odds at +1000, taking a chance on the Tarheels isn’t a bad bet.
Florida State Seminoles
2019 Record: (6-7, 4-4 CONF)
Before Clemson’s impressive five-year run of winning the ACC Championship, the Florida State Seminoles had a three-year run of their own. Despite that note, the Seminoles are a long time removed from those winning days.
Florida State finished under .500 for the second consecutive season and managed to reach a bowl game despite firing former head coach Willie Taggart midway through the season. As a result, the Seminoles hired former Memphis head coach Mike Norvell.
Three-year starter James Blackman struggled to keep the starting job in an up-and-down season throwing for 2,339 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Florida State is the longest shot on this list, and that’s mainly because they’re in the same division as Clemson. If there were anyone to take down the top dog Tigers in the Atlantic Division, it’d be the Seminoles.