The College Football News 2021 ACC preseason rankings along with a quick take on every team.
This is NOT a ranking of where the teams are going to finish. This is based on how good we think the ACC teams are going into the 2021 season.
2021 CFN ACC Preseason Rankings: Atlantic
Quick Take: If your concern is the inexperience of QB DJ Uiagalelei and a rotation of top-shelf running back talent to overcome the loss of Travis Etienne, you’re going to be okay. The defense is going to be a killer to make up for any and all concerns on the other side.
Clemson Preview | Schedule
2. NC State Wolfpack
Quick Take: This should be among the ACC’s most interesting X factors. The defensive back seven is as strong as any outside of Clemson’s, but the lines on both sides have to terrific. If they are, this is a dangerous team that should do a whole lot of damage.
NC State Preview | Schedule
3. Boston College Eagles
Quick Take: The BC offense was transformed last season and now it should dominate – at least through the air. The ground game is iffy – to be kind – but QB Phil Jurkovec and WR Zay Flowers will put on a show.
BC Preview | Schedule
4. Louisville Cardinals
Quick Take: The defense has talent and experience to be a whole lot better, and Malik Cunningham should be a difference-making veteran quarterback. It’ll be a bounce-back year, but it’ll still be a grind with a tough slate.
Louisville Preview | Schedule
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Quick Take: You know exactly what you’re getting. The Demon Deacons will never be outcoached, the offense will be fast and fun, and every game will be a shootout. To sound cliché, it’s the type of team that can beat anyone on the right day, but without the high-end talent to take anyone lightly.
Wake Forest Preview | Schedule
6. Florida State Seminoles
Quick Take: Where are the guys? Where are all the superstar FSU NFL prospects? The linebacking corps will be terrific and the ground game should start to work like it’s supposed to under Mike Norvell, but the O is all about the pop and explosion – that might take a bit.
FSU Preview | Schedule
7. Syracuse Orange
Quick Take: It’s just this simple – can the Orange O line block anyone? It hasn’t been able to do that for a few years, but the skill parts are good enough to make some noise if they get a little time to work.
Syracuse Preview | Schedule
NEXT: ACC Preseason Rankings: Coastal
2021 CFN ACC Preseason Rankings: Coastal
1. North Carolina Tar Heels
Quick Take: UNC will be one of the it teams going into the season with the flashy offense and a ton of experience – there’s not a game on the slate it can’t win. However, the program has only won more than eight games once since 1997 – it’s not going to be a walk to an ACC Championship appearance.
UNC Preview | Schedule
2. Miami Hurricanes
Quick Take: How healthy is D’Eriq King’s knee? The secondary is amazing and the offense has enough playmakers to overcome the concerns at QB if King isn’t 100%, but … the Canes need their main man to make a push in the ACC.
Miami Preview | Schedule
3. Pitt Panthers
Quick Take: How quickly can the Panthers reload the killer pass rush? The linebacking corps will be fantastic and Kenny Pickett might be the ACC’s most underappreciated QB. Best of all, the schedule isn’t bad with almost all the tough games at home.
Pitt Preview | Schedule
4. Virginia Tech Hokies
Quick Take: Go ahead … you try to figure out this team. Everything is solid, and there isn’t any one glaring weakness, but it’s been a wildly underachieving program over the last three years. This time around it has a nasty run of four road games in the last five to deal with.
Virginia Tech Preview | Schedule
5. Virginia Cavaliers
Quick Take: As always it’ll be a well-coached team that’s going to do almost everything right, but the firepower might not be there. The schedule is light enough to go bowling, but the season might be a bit of a grind.
Virginia Preview | Schedule
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Quick Take: How’s the remodeling job coming along? The offense should run well, and there are just enough playmakers on defense to be a wee bit stronger, but after the first two weeks there aren’t any breaks in a killer schedule.
Georgia Tech Preview | Schedule
7. Duke Blue Devils
Quick Take: It’s as simple as Duke not turning the ball over a gajillion times a game. Start there, hope the D can hold up, and build off an easy first half of the season to push for a bowl game if a few things break the right way.
Duke Preview | Schedule