The Tough Coastal Life
By: Kenneth Harrison Jr.
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The summer is just getting started and I can’t wait for Fall to get here. In just a few long months football season will start.
I’m going to take a look at the Coastal division in the ACC and see how each team should finish. If you’re wondering why I didn’t pick the Atlantic it’s because we all know the final answer, Clemson wins with ease.
The Coastal is the much weaker division. By default, that makes it very competitive because they lack a dominant team. The only problem is the division champ is just waiting to be slaughtered by Clemson in the ACC Championship.
Perfect example, Pitt (7-7) won the division and was mauled by the Tigers 42–10.
Duke: They have the most stability with the longest tenured coach in the division, David Cutcliffe. He’s led the Blue Devils to 6 bowl games in the last 7 years. That’s very good considering Duke was a perennial doormat for most of their history.
They have to replace their starting quarterback, Daniel Jones who was the 6th overall pick in the draft.
The schedule is very tough. They start the season against Alabama in a neutral site game in Atlanta. They play both Virginia schools on the road. Then in November, they play Notre Dame, Syracuse and Miami. They will struggle to win 6 games.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are replacing Paul Johnson and his triple option scheme after 11 seasons. They will look totally different under new head coach Geoff Collins.
The Yellow Jackets will now run a spread offense, which means most of their roster does not fit that scheme. They also will have a learning curve adapting to a new scheme.
The book ends of the season are going to blow out losses to Clemson and Georgia. The games in between are somewhat manageable. I expect them to get 6 wins, mainly because there are other teams in the division with first year coaches.
Miami: The Hurricanes should be the cream of the crop. Former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is now the head coach. They also have Ohio State transfer and former five-star quarterback Tate Martell. If he’s anywhere near as good as he thinks he is then he will be a Heisman finalist.
The season begins against Florida in Orlando. After that, the schedule is easy. The Florida State game used to be a big deal but the Seminoles aren’t good anymore. Get ready for more turnover chain celebrations in 2019. I think the Hurricanes can win 10 games. At worst, I expect 9 wins.
North Carolina: Mack Brown returned to UNC and has not coached since 2013. The Tar Heels were 2-9 last year so they are very bad.
I think Brown is rusty and he inherits a bad football team. The season begins against South Carolina and 11 of 12 games are against teams that went bowling last season. They should improve but they will still have a losing record, 4 wins at best.
Pitt: The Panthers have back-to-back games against Penn State and UCF. They should win 6 or 7 games.
Virginia: UVA improved significantly last year in Bronco Mendenhall’s 3rd season on the job. Other than Notre Dame, Miami and Pitt the other games are manageable. The Cavaliers can realistically expect to win 8 games.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies only won 6 games in 2018, which is a down year for them.
They have not lost to in-state rival UVA since 2003, so I assume that’s a win. Va Tech should finish with 7-8 victories.