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ACC Projected Win Totals - Clemson: 9.5

NCAA Football: Miami at Clemson Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

We’re still a long ways from actual games, but sportsbooks have released their regular season win totals for futures bets. has Georgia at the highest along with four other teams with double-digit win totals:

Just behind that group are several programs at 9.5 wins:

  • Clemson 9.5
  • Penn State 9.5
  • Texas 9.5
  • Oklahoma 9.5
  • USC 9.5
  • Oregon 9.5
  • LSU 9.5

Here’s how the entire ACC breakdown looks:

Obviously, what stands out most here is Florida State above Clemson. The Tigers non-conference schedule includes Notre Dame and U of SC while Florida State gets LSU and Florida. Both are relatively challenging. In the ACC slate, Clemson plays three teams FSU does not. They are NC State, UNC, and Georgia Tech. Conversely, the three teams FSU faces that Clemson does not play are Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Pittsburgh. Perhaps that makes Clemson’s schedule marginally harder than Florida State’s, but with the head-to-head matchup coming in Death Valley, this seems more like a pick of Florida State over Clemson than anything else.

This ACC rivalry is a clash of extremist transfer portal philosophies. Clemson has no impact players acquired through the transfer portal. Despite needs at wide receiver and arguably left tackle and defensive end, the Tigers signed a big freshman class and plan to use any leftover spots to renew scholarships that walk-ons earned last year (so far one has opened up).

Florida State on the other hand got the bulk of their star players including ACC Player of the Year candidate, QB Jordan Travis, from the transfer portal (although they deserve credit for developing him after he come in from Louisville). Wide receivers Johnny Wilson (Arizona St) and Winston Wright Jr. (West Virginia), running back Trey Benson (Oregon), offensive linemen Bless Harris (Lamar), Casey Roddick (Colorado), and Jeremiah Byers (UTEP), and tight end Jaheim Bell (U of SC) all came to Tallahassee via the transfer portal! That’s just the offense!

On defense, Fabien Lovett (Miss. St), Braden Friske (W. Michigan), and Jared Verse (Albany) are all transfers. They’re all expected to contribute on the defensive line. Additionally, linebacker Tatum Bethune (UCF) and defensive backs Fentrell Cypress (UVA), Jarrian Jones (Miss. St.) and Greedy Vance Jr. (Louisville) all came via the portal. That could be as many as 8/11 offensive starters and 7/11 defensive starters (15/22 overall) if they all start (a few will probably end up as reserves).

I don’t know if any team has won at the high level that FSU is expected to with a majority of their key players coming to them via transfer. It will only add to the intrigue of the ACC football season.

Regardless of where you peg FSU, Clemson, coming in at just 9.5 feels awfully low. Counting only regular season contests, Clemson finished with fewer than 10 wins in just two of the past 10 seasons (2014 and 2021), excluding their 9-1 shortened 2020 season. While this year’s team may not have the look of the uber-elite teams that played for or won National Championships in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019, it seems more than capable of going 10-2.

Looking at the Tigers schedule, you can divide it up into four sections: FSU, Notre Dame, at U of SC, and the other nine games. Road trips to Syracuse and NC State are not gimmes, but those series are known more for close calls than actual losses with each having just one win against the Tigers in the past decade.

U of SC has a ton of in-state recruiting momentum and they deserve their due credit, but their defense could still have holes that a semi-competent Clemson offense with a new QB and coordinator should be able to exploit. FSU and Notre Dame are the toughest tests.

The Seminoles have likely the best QB in the ACC behind Drake Maye and finally seem to have some muscle on the lines of scrimmage. That game is in Death Valley though and while FSU is using the portal to rapidly improve, the Tigers made quick work of them before a late comeback made it look close.

Notre Dame found themselves an elite QB in ACC all-time passing TD leader Sam Hartman. He will get a chance to prove he is more than just a system QB. That should be a clear upgrade over QBs Drew Pyne and Tyler Buchner, but they lost their best offensive weapon, TE Michael Mayer. They also lost offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and made an internal promotion from their struggling offense like Clemson did when they promoted Brandon Streeter after 2021.

All in all, it seems like the over/under win total should be set at 10 or even 10.5 for the Tigers. Before I dive into the rest of the ACC, check out this video if you’d like more on Clemson and FSU:

After the two top dogs in the ACC, North Carolina is at 8.5 wins and both Louisville and Miami are at 7.5. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet, but I have a sense this season could turn south for UNC. QB Drake Maye is great, but the way they collapsed last season and then lost WR Josh Downs and OC Phil Longo (to Wisconsin) seems foreboding.

Louisville will probably lose to both Notre Dame and Kentucky, but their ACC schedule is a cakewalk. Avoiding Clemson, FSU, and UNC makes it about as easy as it can get. If Clemson or FSU are to drop two ACC games, I could see Louisville sneaking in. With new coach Jeff Brohm and new transfer QB Jack Plummer, I am high on the Cardinals.

Miami was awful last year, but has more than enough talent to eclipse 7 wins. I bought into the Mario Cristobal hype last year and was surprised they were so bad. I’ll have to see it to believe it now.

I won’t spill a whole lot of words on the remaining teams, but here are just a few final thoughts on the rest of the conference. NC State never gets 10 wins, but 6.5 seems low. I really like new offensive coordinator Robert Anae. He was exceptional at Virginia when paired with Brennan Armstrong at Virginia in 2021 before Tony Elliott took over. Then he helped Syracuse improve last year when he was the OC there for a year. NC State added Armstrong through the portal so those two will team up again.

The Tony Elliott hire at Virginia is not looking good. He inherited an exceptional offense, didn’t retain OC Robert Anae, and the offense promptly crashed. QB Brennan Armstrong went from 4,449 yards, 31 TDs, and 10 INTs, to 2,210 7 TDs, and 12 INTs. They play Tennessee in Nashville and Maryland in College Park in the non-conference. They avoid both Clemson and FSU, but may struggle to get more than 2 ACC wins. 3.5 wins actually seems about right.

Wake Forest at 6 seems very low. They lost QB Sam Hartman and WR AT Perry, but 6 wins feels pretty close to the floor for Dave Clawson and his slow-mesh system. Lastly, it is very interesting that Georgia Tech projected win total of 4.5 is below their 5 wins from last year. Perhaps it is because they lost QB Jeff Sims to the transfer portal (he will start at Nebraska), but I figured you’d see their fortunes slowly climb each year.