Clemson will attempt to win another ACC title. Flickr

The difference in a decade is quite impressive for Clemson.

The team that was always so close, but could find a way to screw it up, is now -225 favorites to win the ACC. No team — not even Alabama — is believed to be a bigger favorite than Clemson among power-five conferences.

That says a lot about the transformation Dabo Swinney has put together.

And be careful betting against the Tigers this year, too, in search of better value. The defensive line features NFL-ready players right now and the offense, albeit with some inconsistencies, is always a plug and play group.

Clemson is starting to reflect what Florida State did in the 1990s. It’s basically a one-team conference, with the rest fighting for second place.


But what if you don’t want to basically get no return on your investment? Then you should look at the team with the second-best odds — Miami.

The Hurricanes made great strides last year with Mark Richt at the helm. And there’s no reason to believe they shouldn’t be better this season. And with a value at +700, it’s a pretty solid figure considering some team is going to have to face Clemson in the ACC title game.

And once Miami is there, an upset could happen.

The Hurricanes have a ton of skill position talent to go along with a defense predicated on turning over the opposition. Richt can compete at a high level, so I’m anticipating that to happen again. The quarterback position makes me a little uneasy, but this is still great value.

How about a dark horse

The key to finding a dark horse candidate in the ACC is finding a team in the opposite division of Clemson. So while I like North Carolina State, I can’t even consider them for a dark horse since they would have to go through the Tigers just to reach the ACC title game.

So instead, I’m focusing on Pittsburgh as a possible spoiler. The Panthers have made huge statements in recent years, with upsets against Miami, Clemson and Penn State.

The only problem is the Panthers don’t do well in other games against less-talented squads.

What I get with the Panthers is a team with a solid defense, with seven starters returning, and a quarterback coming back to possibly improve this offense.

The Panthers are going off at +5000, so you’d get a great return if Pittsburgh can manage its way to the title game and pull of another upset.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *