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Why I'm picking FSU over Miami for the ACC championship

I posted my SEC predictions yesterday, so now it's the ACC's turn. Without further ado...

Atlantic Division
1. Florida State. Clemson should be great again, too, but I'm giving the edge to the team with the experienced quarterback (Deondre Francois), as I touched on in today's Tampa Bay Times.

2. Clemson. Teams rarely lose transcendent quarterbacks and stay at the very top. I think the Tigers regress slightly but still finish in the top 10, and maybe the top five.

3. Louisville. I still can't believe all of the Twitter backlash and nitpicking of reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. He accounted for 51 touchdowns last year and put up 63 on FSU. He's really, really good. Period.

4. North Carolina State. The Wolfpack is the most experienced team in the ACC with one of the country's top defensive ends, Bradley Chubb. It'll mess up somebody's season.

5. Syracuse. I'm higher than the Orange than most, because I think Dino Babers' offense will click in its second season. That schedule, though, is brutal (at LSU in non-conference, at Louisville in November and Pitt and at Miami in the Coastal).

6. Boston College. The Eagles should (again) have a great defense, and that's about it (again).

7. Wake Forest. Coach Dave Clawson said Thursday that he wants Wake to get to the point where it's not a surprise that they're headed to a bowl. I don't see that happening this year.

Coastal Division
1. Miami. The Hurricanes have just about everything but a quarterback. I think this is the year they finally win the division (more on that later).

2. Virginia Tech. Losing six starters on offense (including quarterback Jerod Evans) is a little too much to win the division for a second year in a row. But the Hokies are going to be good as long as Justin Fuente is there.

3. Pitt. If USC transfer Max Browne works out, the Panthers could contend. If he doesn't, eight wins still seems about right.

4. Georgia Tech. Prediction sure to go wrong, Part I: This will be Paul Johnson's last year as Tech head coach.

5. North Carolina. Prediction sure to go wrong, Part II: LSU transfer Brandon Harris ends up as a pretty good quarterback for UNC. Not Mitch Trubisky good, but better than he was with the Tigers.

6. Duke. The Blue Devils have a quarterback (Daniel Jones). That's something.

7. Virginia. I'm not convinced the Cavaliers finish better than their 2-10 record from last year. But then again, nothing ever makes sense in this division.

ACC championship
FSU over Miami. Jimbo Fisher hasn't lost to Miami yet. I don't think that starts this year, and definitely not in the ACC title game. I think the ‘Noles are headed back to the College Football Playoff.

And my all-ACC picks:

QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville
RB Mark Walton, Miami
RB Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech
WR Deon Cain, Clemson (Tampa Bay Tech alum)
WR Ahmmon Richards, Miami
WR Nyqwan Murray, FSU
TE Cam Serigne, Wake Forest
OT Mitch Hyatt, Clemson
OT Bryaan O'Neil, Pitt
OG Tyrone Crowder, Clemson
OG Tony Adams, NC State
C Alec Eberle, FSU

DE Harold Landry, Boston College
DE Bradley Chubb, NC State
DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
LB Shaq Quarterman, Miami
LB Micah Kiser, Virginia
LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
CB Tarvarus McFadden, FSU
CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
S Derwin James, FSU
S Quin Blanding, Virginia
K Michael Badgley, Miami
P Sterling Hofrichter, Syracuse (Armwood High)
Specialist Quadree Henderson, Pitt
All-purpose Jaylen Samuels, NC State

Preseason player of the year: Lamar Jackson, Louisville

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