2014 Odds to Win the ACC Coastal Division for College Football with Picks and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 7/24/2014
The ACC Coastal is the poor cousin of the conference this year. The three best teams in the conference are in the Atlantic - Florida State and Clemson are obvious, and Louisville is probably third-best. What's interesting, though, is that because Florida State is so clearly and significantly dominant, betting on the ACC Coastal is just a lot more attractive than the Atlantic.
For starters, more than just one team has a strong chance of winning the division, so it's actually a race, and there is a fair chance at a good payoff. Some of these teams also have a somewhat more manageable schedule - not all have to play Florida State or Clemson. You can make a good argument for five of the seven teams in the division as the ACC Coastal representative in the ACC Championship Game - where they will get crushed by the Atlantic Champion. Only Pitt and Virginia have no real chance given their woes. Here are the odds to win the ACC Coastal for college football, with picks and predictions thrown in.
The odds (from Bovada)
North Carolina (8/5)
Virginia Tech (3/1)
Georgia Tech (8/1)
Breaking it all down
North Carolina: I have some respect for head coach Larry Fedora, who is entering his third year with the team. I can't help but feel, though, like they will be a far more legitimate favorite next year than they are this year. When they released their depth chart after spring ball there was just one senior listed in the first two strings. They are a young team with much more talent than experience on offense - and many of the same issues on defense, with the secondary being the biggest area of concern. In order for them to meet these expectations they would have to have star players emerge on both sides of the ball, and there aren't obvious favorites to do so. I wouldn't be shocked if they did win because the division is so wide-open, but I wouldn't even consider betting that they will at this price.
Miami: The offense has a chance to be strong but only if a quarterback emerges now that Stephen Morris is gone. There are plenty of options but no clear standout as of yet. If that happens then the difference between success and, well, what has become the disappointing norm for the Hurricanes in recent years will come down to the defense. They need to go from really lousy last year to at least average if they want to contend. They have the potential to do so, but the coaching staff is the same so I am not optimistic.
Virginia Tech: Logan Thomas is gone at quarterback after three years as the starter, so they have an open position, and the contest is wide open. How that turns out will have a big effect on the team's fate. So will their running game - a truly awful unit last year needs to be at least decent. Last year's defense was what saved this team from disgrace - they were truly excellent. Seven starters are gone, but there is talent in place and excellent coaching. Defense isn't a concern, but offense is - too much of a concern to even consider this price.
Duke: I never thought that this day would come, but Duke - of all teams - may offer the best value in the division given their price. They had a successful year last year, and they have a fair bit to build off of from that experience. They are well-coached. Their schedule is more than gentle - they manage to avoid Florida State, Clemson and Louisville. There are some talent issues in spots, and they need to keep getting lucky breaks like they did last year, but relative to the other teams their price offers nice value.
Georgia Tech: The Wreck seem more like a team destined to win seven games than a division. Their quirky offense allows them the chance to be disruptive if things go their way, though. Defensively they have suffered some big losses, but they still have some nice talent, and coordinator Ted Roof is in his second year and should make some progress. I don't get excited about their chances, but at least they have a chance.
Pitt: I just don't like this team. Coach Paul Chryst has been mediocre with the Panthers and seems to have instilled that sense of mediocrity with the team. There is a bit of talent, but it's nothing to get excited about. I just don't see how they are relevant - and that's really saying something in such an underwhelming division.
Virginia: Cavaliers fans should just remember the past basketball season, at least the part where they earned a No. 1 seed instead of the part where they flamed out of the tournament. There just aren't going to be any highlights to the football season this year. They were 2-10 last year and didn't underachieve getting there. They could be a bit better this year, but they just don't have what it takes to be even close to good.
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