ACC Preseason Rankings 2020

The ACC has often been ridiculed as a “basketball conference”, yet they have 3 national champions in the last decade as well as a pretty impressive bowl record in the last few years. Regardless, the ACC plans to take the field this season, and thus we’ll be watching as always. Will Clemson steamroll the conference again? Will a Coastal underdog make the championship game? Check out our preseason rankings here for our predictions (Note, we’re including Notre Dame given this season’s unusual circumstances):

15. Boston College

David Bailey - Football - Boston College Athletics

Oh, Boston College. We so badly want you to succeed to make the ACC look better, but you just haven’t figured it out. Maybe new Coach Jeff Hafley will be the secret ingredient that brings the Eagles out of the basement. One good thing is this roster is very experienced, with 17 starters returning and many being Juniors or Seniors. The Eagles have Oregon-transfer AB Phil Jurkovec who recently had his waiver approved to lead the team, and RB David Bailey has shown a lot of potential. We expect a pretty dismal season, but at least the coaching change marks a new era – and possibly a turning point.

14. Georgia Tech

James Graham developing as Georgia Tech's quarterback | Sports |  gwinnettdailypost.com

The Yellow Jackets had a horrible 3-9 campaign last season, but it was entirely expected as they were transitioning from their long used Triple Option offense. Will it all come together in Year 2? Extremely unlikely. Changing an offense like that takes a lot longer, but at least Geoff Collins now has “his guys”. Plus, there’s consistency at QB with James Graham returning. Georgia Tech will not be competing for the championship, but they could pull off a surprise upset as there’s very little on the scouting report of what this offense will look like. Being unexpected may be their best advantage.

13. Syracuse

Tommy DeVito - Football - Syracuse University Athletics

QB Tommy DeVito was the most sacked QB among Power 5 teams last season. His offensive line will have 2 new starters, for better or for worse. On the defensive side of the ball, only 4 players are returning. WR Taj Harris could be one of the best in the ACC, but will DeVito even be able to throw to him with defenses running him over? Dino Baber’s coaching is the only thing keeping this roster from the bottom of the ACC, but it could be enough to get them to a bowl.

12. Wake Forest

5 takeaways from Wake Forest's thrilling season-opening win over Utah State  | Wfu | journalnow.com

Wake Forest’s defense is experienced; they return all but 2 starters on that side of the ball and those players did fairly well last season (76th in scoring). The question is the offense; Wake had a top-20 offense last season but lost almost everybody, including QB Jamie Newman who transferred to Georgia. One of the few bright spots, WR Sage Surrat, who led all P5 players in receiving yards through 9 games last season, has opted out of the season.

11. NC State

NC State names Devin Leary as its starting QB vs. Wake Forest -  ACCSports.com

NC State had trouble finding an identity last season, starting 3 different QBs. However, once they find their guy this season (it looks to be Devin Leary), they have enough experience on both sides of the ball to form a cohesive, competitive team. The Wolfpack is returning all but 7 starters on both sides of the ball, but most are only Sophomores and Juniors. Most people are underrating this Wolfpack team, but if they don’t get a solid connection between a QB and their experienced receivers, experience won’t matter and they’ll fall to the bottom of the ACC.

Best Helmets of the CFB Season So Far:

Football is about a lot of things. Teamwork. Strength. Strategy. But one thing is more important than all: cool helmets. That’s right. It’s great when we see a flashy one handed catch, or a 99-yard kick return, but we all know the reason we tune in every Saturday is to see some dope domes, right?

Okay, maybe not, but we’re still going to make a list of our favorites anyway.

4. Florida State

Image Courtesy of @safid_deen on Twitter

Although the teams performance may not have been as spectacular, these helmets shone during the Seminole’s Monday night match up against Virginia Tech. Or, didn’t shine, because they were matte black. Huge props to the equipment crew; the garnet/black gradient on the helmet was just perfect.¬†These lids capped off a slick black uniform that I was a huge fan of, although many FSU fans believed it cursed the team.

Image result for florida state virginia tech football

3. Duke

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Image Courtesy of bleacherreport.com

Duke brought back the script helmets that have been featured against UNC and against NIU in the Quick Lane bowl. I can’t get enough of them – in fact I’d be happy if Duke switched to this look full time. After all, Duke used this look from 1978-2003. The chrome lettering looked especially great against the all blue base of the uniform.

2. Hawaii

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Image Courtesy of sbnation.com

Hurricane Lane devastated the Hawaiian islands prior to their first match up against Colorado State, leaving many without power or worse. Hawaii turned this into a rallying cry and paid homage with these beautiful island decals on a black base helmet. Not only did these lids carry significant meaning for the players and their people, but they looked incredible. Even better, Hawaii won the game in a major upset – and haven’t lost since.

1. Tulane

Image Courtesy of @uniswag on Twitter

No other equipment team stood a chance when these bad boys were released. C’mon, what’s not to love about Angry Wave? Tulane has sported similar helmets before, but this was the first with the light blue face mask which really makes the accents on Angry Wave pop. Plus, these domes went with a beautiful blue uniform for the Green Wave.

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Image Courtesy of AmericanAthleticConf on YouTube

Will anyone be able to beat Tulane’s helmet this season? Is there another team that should’ve made this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Duke’s Alternate Blue Devil

duke helmet

Image Courtesy of athlonsports.com

Since the Pinstripe Bowl in 2015, Duke has been incorporating an alternate blue devil logo into various aspects of their equipment and apparel. But, what are the origins of this icon? And where is its place in the future of Duke Athletics?

According to nationalchamps.net ‘s “The Helmet Project”, this logo was used on helmets in Duke’s 1966-68 seasons. Below is an image from a 1968 game against UVA.

duke football 68

Image Courtesy of hoosfootball.com

This devil icon was then put to rest for decades, until 2015. This season marked Duke’s 4th consecutive year of bowl eligibility, a 6-6 regular season that earned them a spot in the Pinstripe Bowl against Indiana. For this game in Yankee Stadium, Duke brought it’s retro-devil logo from the 60’s back for the first time. Duke would go on to win 44-41 in an OT stunner thanks to a missed field goal from Indiana. The full uniform from this game can be seen below.

Ross Martin

Image Courtesy of wane.com

However, that was not the end of this icon in Duke football equipment. In Duke’s 2016 rivalry game against UNC, the devil was back on the helmets. This time, it was featured in white on a chrome blue helmet, with a blue jersey and white pants.

duke unc 2016

Image Courtesy of goduke.com

Perhaps this helmet sticker was good luck? Duke would take home the Victory Bell (for the first time in years) in a 28-27 upset of #15 ranked UNC.

Maybe it was the victories, or just an equipment room hungry for alternates, but Duke would incorporate this icon on two separate occasions in the 2017 season.

The first was in a hyped match up against #14 Miami. Duke was undefeated going into this game with wins against FCS NC Central, Northwestern, Baylor, and UNC. Duke football equipment would title the uniforms for this game the “Hellraisers,” an all gray look that hadn’t been seen before. This can be seen below.

duke miami

Image Courtesy of newsobserver.com

Unfortunately, this game would be the retro-devil’s first loss in a 31-6 blowout. Miami would go on to finish the season ranked #10 overall and play Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl.

This devil icon had a history of being brought out for Duke’s biggest games, and that trend continued when it was revived for the 2017 match up at Wake Forest. This was the last game of the regular season with bowl eligibility on the line, against an uncharacteristically strong Wake team. Duke would bring back the helmets from the Hellraisers in a gray/white/blue combo, seen below.

NCAA Football: Duke at Wake Forest

Image Courtesy of nsjonline.com

That game was won 31-23 and bowl eligibility was clinched. But this time, in the Quick Lane Bowl against the NIU Huskies, Duke would sport their new script helmet stickers rather than bringing the retro-devil back for the third time that season. But, even without the luck of this icon, Duke would win confidently 36-14.

As far as the future of the retro-devil, it remains uncertain. Surely Duke will continue to bring out this alt look, perhaps even increasingly so as the past season indicated. Duke has been expanding its use of helmet stickers with their Rose Bowl feature and bringing back the script this year. But, so far, this devil hasn’t been used for any other sports besides football.

That being said, it has made its way onto lots of school sponsored apparel including flags, shirts and more. While I don’t think it will ever come back as a primary logo, surely the 60’s devil has returned for an extended stay.

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