College football has been in the news for a whole bunch of reasons recently because the game is changing right before our eyes. But that won’t stop us from breaking down the biggest conferences and the best teams as we embark on another year of the great sport we all love and know. No amount of conference realignment or NIL money can take away our passion for the game. Here is our 2023 ACC football preview.
The ACC is the one conference that hasn’t expanded or lost any teams thanks to an ironclad television deal that has made it nearly impossible for any team to slip out of the grips of ESPN. With that being said, there has been a lot of talk over the last week about the ACC looking into adding Stanford and Cal-Berkeley, two programs that have been left behind by the teams who left the Pac 12 to join the Big 10 and Big 12. The ACC has seen a lot of change in football powers over the last two decades as Miami and Florida State have tapered off and Clemson took over the reins. However, new teams are showing they can compete at a high level.
Clemson claimed their spot back at the top of the ACC last season, defeating North Carolina in the conference championship game in blowout fashion. However, the Tigers were blown out by Tennessee in the Orange Bowl and lost three total games last season which is three too many for most Tigers fans. Florida State seemed to enter the national spotlight again as Mike Norvell steadied the program and has it ready for a conference title push for the first time since Jimbo Fisher left for College Station. North Carolina had a great season, going 9-5 and showing off QB Drake Maye to the world who could be a Heisman candidate and first round draft pick in the spring.
What to watch
The Florida schools. Miami went out and got Mario Cristobal from Oregon a year ago which was a major coaching splash, and he turned all that hype into a 5-7 season that didn’t come close to what boosters and fans expected. The Hurricanes know how to recruit, and it is certainly the specialty of Cristobal. There will be way more pressure on Cristobal in year two to make major strides and get closer to the ACC title game. After all, he plays in a weak division with UNC and Pittsburgh leading the charge. Eyes will also be on the Noles to see if this rebuild is legit and if they can seriously compete with Clemson for that top spot. FSU has been in the middle of the pack for way too long and their fans are beginning to grow quite weary.
Cade Klubnik from Clemson will have a lot of eyes on him this season after taking over as the starter last year. Expect Drake Maye from UNC and Jordan Travis from Florida State to be in the mix as well.
Until Clemson gets beat, I am backing the Tigers.