ACC Football Season Preview
With the Power 5 becoming the Power 3, the door is now wide open for the ACC. As many of the top Big 10 and Pac 12 teams will soon be removed from the rankings, we could see many more ACC teams crack the Top 25 this year. In a conference where Clemson has won every year since 2015, this is the best possible year for teams like North Carolina, Miami and even newcomer Notre Dame to make a push for the playoffs.
Notre Dame chose to join the ACC after being an independent team in order to play this season. The Fighting Irish joined the ACC ranked tenth in the Top 25, making them the second highest ranked team in the ACC behind No. 1 Clemson. The last time those two teams faced off was in the 2018 semi-finals in the Cotton Bowl where Clemson mauled Notre Dame 30-3. Starting quarterback Ian Book was just a redshirt sophomore when he started in that game. He only completed 50% of his passes throwing for just 160 yards. Now, Book comes in as the leader on a Fighting Irish team looking to prove it belongs in the talk of the top teams in college football.
The team they are trying to dethrone comes in as the favorite to take home another National Championship in what would be the second for junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence and the Tigers come into this season after a multi-touchdown title game loss to LSU in what was also the first loss of Lawrence’s Clemson career. The Tiger's offense still has running back Travis Etienne as he came back for his senior season after rushing for over 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns his junior year. In both the AP and coaches polls, Clemson currently has 38 first place votes making them heavy favorites to be the top team in the country once again.
Coming in as huge underdogs to win the conference and even make some noise in the polls, the North Carolina Tar Heels could be the team to watch this season. After a 7-6 finish in head coach Mac Brown’s return to North Carolina, the Tar Heels currently sit at No. 18 in the polls. Sophomore Sam Howell returns at quarterback after throwing for over 3,600 yards and 38 touchdowns as a freshman. The Tar Heels also bring back running back Michael Carter and stud recievers, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome who both eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving last year. With more experience and only a one point loss against Clemson last year, look for Mac Brown’s squad to challenge the Tigers and the Fighting Irish in a push for the title.
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.