2022 ACC win totals, odds, picks: Predictions for each team as Clemson eyes huge number, return to the top
Thu, Jun 23, 2022
NCAAF News (AP)
College football win totals have been released, giving fans everywhere a point of reference for predicting how the 2022 season will unfold as we inch closer to kickoff. We've been running through all the Power Five conferences this week with game-by-game projections for each team, and today the focus turns to the ACC. The league enters 2022 after a season of upheaval, with Pitt becoming the first non-Clemson, non-Florida State conference champion since 2010, and Wake Forest being the first non-Clemson, non-Florida State Atlantic Division champion since 2008.'
Success for Pitt and Wake Forest is expected to carry over to the 2022 season, as both are among the four ACC programs slated with a 8.5 win total at Caesars Sportsbook, the second-most of any team in the conference. Miami and NC State are the others at that number, but the oddsmakers are expecting all four to fall short of Clemson. The Tigers are sitting with one of the highest win totals in the country, two whole wins ahead of the rest of the conference at 10.5. Will the Tigers bounce back from their "down year" of 10-3 and win the ACC again, or will one of those four challengers continue last year's disruption of the status quo in the conference? Let's dive in, with all odds coming via Caesars Sportsbook.'
Over/Under 6 wins (-135/+105)
- Wins: Rutgers, Maine, Louisville, at UConn, Duke, Syracuse
- Losses: at Virginia Tech, at Florida State, Clemson, at Wake Forest, at NC State, at Notre Dame
Analysis: This is a different team with Phil Jurkovec and Zay Flowers healthy and performing at a high level, so I am expecting the Eagles to be better than they were at the close of last season. This is a tough draw, though, so much so that even the dynamic duo being back together might not be enough to make a bowl. Toss-up games against Virginia Tech and Florida State are both on the road, as are division showdowns with Wake Forest and NC State. Of course, this gets bumped to seven wins and an over if Boston College can upset Clemson on Oct. 8, a dangerous spot in the schedule for the Tigers and the Red Bandana Game for the Eagles. Pick: Push - lean Under 6 (+105)
Over/Under 10.5 wins (-125/-105)
- Wins: at Georgia Tech, Furman, Louisiana Tech, at Wake Forest, NC State, at Boston College, at Florida State, Syracuse, Louisville, Miami, South Carolina
- Losses: at Notre Dame'
Analysis: With one of the best defenses in the country, Clemson might not even need the passing game to return to form in order to win the ACC after its six-year run of conference championships was snapped in 2021. However, beating this win total will require better play from the quarterback position and that's something I expect we will see from either D.J. Uiagalelei or Cade Klubnik. The Tigers have two of their three toughest opponents (NC State, Miami) coming to Death Valley, but the most challenging spot is against Notre Dame in South Bend, where the Fighting Irish beat No. 1-ranked Clemson - quarterbacked by DJU - in a 47-40 in double-overtime thriller in 2020. Pick: Over 10.5 (-125)
Over/Under 3.5 wins (+130/-160)
- Wins: Temple, North Carolina A&T'
- Losses: at Northwestern, at Kansas, Virginia, at Georgia Tech, North Carolina, at Miami, at Boston College, Virginia Tech, at Pitt, Wake Forest'
Analysis: Duke has won three in a row against Northwestern dating back to 2017, including a 30-23 win last season, and beat the Lance Leipold-led Jayhawks 52-33 as well. The problem was those two September wins were the final victories of a 3-9 season in 2021. I expect both opponents to be better than they were in those losses, and those games now come on the road for first-year coach Mike Elko. It's going to be fascinating to watch him put his own stamp on the program, but it's going to take time before we see it reflected in the win total. Pick:' Under 3.5 (-160)
Over/Under 7 wins (-130/+100)'
- Wins: Duquesne, Boston College, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, at Syracuse, Louisiana, Florida'
- Losses: LSU, at Louisville, at NC State, Clemson, at Miami'
Analysis: This is exactly what Mike Norvell needs for his year-three schedule draw, catching a handful of winnable and toss-up games at home. If Tallahassee rallies behind this team and those games are wins, then the Seminoles are bowling and we've seen another year of improvement. But this is a tough schedule even with those winnable games taking place at home, and there are no surefire wins after the Week 0 opener against Duquesne. Those last two home games against reigning Sun Belt champion Louisiana and rival Florida are huge for this win total, so while I'm officially projecting a push I'd lean under if I had to take a side. Pick: Push -- lean Under 7 (+100) '
Over/Under 3.5 wins (-115/-115)
- Wins: Western Carolina, Duke
- Losses: Clemson, Ole Miss, at UCF, at Pitt, Virginia, at Florida State, at Virginia Tech, Miami, at North Carolina, at Georgia'
Analysis: A staff shake-up and heavy work in the transfer portal have brought together a cast of characters from across the country to try to tackle one of the nation's most difficult challenges: the 2022 Georgia Tech football schedule. Annual dates with both Clemson and Georgia put the Yellow Jackets at the top of the strength of schedule rankings every year, and this year they've got the one-time joy of hosting Lane Kiffin and visiting Gus Malzahn in back-to-back weeks. There's enough talent on this team to be competitive and even pull off an upset somewhere in the schedule, but after an opening run that includes Clemson, Ole Miss, UCF and Pitt in the first five games, it's going to be a challenge to be in top form when the more winnable games show up later in the year. Pick: Under 3.5 (-115)'
Over/Under 6 wins (-105/-125)
- Wins: at Syracuse, Florida State, USF, at Virginia, Pitt, James Madison, NC State'
- Losses: at UCF, at Boston College, Wake Forest, at Clemson, at Kentucky'
Analysis: There is a good amount of conflict between the buzz about Louisville football, both on the recruiting trail and the expectations for QB Malik Cunningham in 2022, and this win total. That suggests the Cards will be tightroping for bowl eligibility. I'm more bullish on how the addition of key transfers and the program momentum of recruiting success could help flip the switch for a team that lost three one-score games during a 6-6 campaign in 2021.' Pick: Over 6 (-105)'
Over/Under 8.5 wins (-115/-115)
- Wins: Bethune-Cookman, Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee, North Carolina, at Virginia Tech, Duke, at Virginia, Florida State, at Georgia Tech
- Losses: at Texas A&M, at Clemson, Pitt'
Analysis: I think the Hurricanes' ceiling is closer to 10 wins, but there's not enough of a gap between their current position and the rest of the non-Clemson ACC to assume there's not a second conference loss somewhere. I picked Pitt because the Panthers play Duke the week before their massive Coastal Division with Miami while the Canes are at Clemson. Mario Cristobal is working to instill a culture of toughness, and the team will need every bit of it drawing those two opponents in back-to-back weeks at the end of the season. Pick: Over 8.5 (-115)
Over/Under 7.5 wins (-105/-125)
- Wins: Florida A&M, at Georgia State, Virginia Tech, at Duke, Pitt, at Virginia, Georgia Tech
- Losses: at Appalachian State, Notre Dame, at Miami, at Wake Forest, NC State
Analysis: The typical North Carolina football season tends to deliver the entire spectrum of results across 12 games, with no long stretches of consistency in either the positive or negative direction. In the three seasons since Mack Brown returned to Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels have had exactly one three-game regular-season winning streak (early 2020) and exactly one three-game regular-season losing streak (early 2019). We're expecting the similar ping-pong of wins and losses here, with highs being a post-bye Homecoming win against reigning division champion Pitt, but also a couple of late-season losses to in-state rivals. Pick: Under 7.5 (-125)'
Over/Under 8.5 wins (-150/+120)
- Wins: at ECU, Charleston Southern,Texas Tech, UConn, Florida State, at Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Boston College, at North Carolina '
- Losses: at Clemson, at Louisville'
Analysis: The Wolfpack have heightened preseason expectations and a nonconference schedule that looks like 4-0. What could go wrong? For now, I'm sticking to how these teams are stacking up on paper. I'm projecting no trip-up losses at Syracuse or North Carolina, and that the Wolfpack take care of business in the toss-up games at home. NC State has a top-10 defense and a top-10 quarterback, and that's a combination that usually leads to wins in close games. That's huge for the win total because I think there's a lot of close games on this schedule. Pick: Over 8.5 (-150)'
Over/Under 8.5 wins (-140/+110)
- Wins: West Virginia, at Western Michigan, Rhode Island, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, at Virginia, Duke, at Miami' '
- Losses: Tennessee, at Louisville, at North Carolina '
Analysis: This is one of the teams I feel the least confident in for a game-by-game basis while still remaining fairly confident that we're looking at a 9-3 record at the end of the regular season. Pitt has its bye week in mid-October then returns to action with back-to-back road games against Louisville and North Carolina, so maybe we see a 5-1 team slip up against two of its tougher opponents after a week off. Or maybe the Panthers drop a couple in nonconference play, then nearly run the table from there. The high floor of Pitt football right now and the pieces returning defensively put another ACC title run in the cards. However, it's dependent on getting championship-level offense after significant turnover on that side of the ball. Pick: Over 8.5 (-140)'
Over/Under 4 wins (-140/+110)
- Wins: at UConn, Virginia, Wagner,'
- Losses: Louisville, Purdue, NC State, at Clemson, Notre Dame, at Pitt, Florida State, at Wake Forest, at Boston College'
Analysis: It's a big year for Syracuse and I do think the Orange will get off to a good start, but there's a brutal middle stretch that begs the question of how that string of projected losses impacts the team's performance late in the year. The play at quarterback, running back and linebacker all sets up to be good enough for a big step forward after a third straight season without a bowl appearance, but there are enough questions elsewhere for me to hand a couple of these toss-up home games (Louisville, Purdue, Florida State) to the visitors. Pick: Under 4 (+110)
Over/Under 7 wins (-105/-125)
- Wins: Richmond, Old Dominion, at Duke, at Georgia Tech, Coastal Carolina, at Virginia Tech
- Losses: at Illinois, at Syracuse, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, Pitt'
Analysis: Obviously, with Brennan Armstrong at quarterback and one of the 10 best groups of pass-catchers in the country, there's going to be some excitement watching Virginia this season. We have a first-year coach and all the new changes to the offense that come with that, however, as well as the difficult combination of tricky road spots early with projected losses stacking up late in the year. Virginia has four straight home games against quality opponents from Oct. 29 to Nov. 19 that includes the top three teams in the Coastal Division. Can the Wahoos get one of those three? If so, it changes the math and we move to a push. Pick: Under 7 (-125)
Over/Under 6 wins (-120/-110)
- Wins: at Old Dominion, Boston College, Wofford, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, at Duke, at Liberty
- Losses: at North Carolina, at Pitt, Miami, at NC State, Virginia'
Analysis: Landing at 7-5, as I'm projecting here, is probably the best-case scenario for Brent Pry in Year 1 with a roster that's undergone some serious turnover in wake of the coaching change. I see small margins in some of these projected wins, especially with Boston College and West Virginia, and comparatively much larger margins in some of the projected losses. Fans might get irked by losing to a handful of rivals both new and old, but the schedule sets up well for a solid foundation year for the Brent Pry era. Pick Over 6 (-120)'
Over/Under 8.5 wins (-115/-115)
Wins: VMI, at Vanderbilt, Liberty, Army, Boston College, at Louisville, North Carolina, Syracuse, at Duke'
Losses: Clemson, at Florida State, at NC State
Analysis: There is a direct correlation between the losses I've identified and the best defenses on Wake Forest's schedule. Sam Hartman, A.T. Perry and the rest of the Demon Deacons offense should be able to control the game against most of its opponents, but there are a couple of stout defenses that will flip the onus onto Wake's defense to make some stops. Unless there's a major adjustment on the field to go with the coordinator change, that side of the ball could be the reason we don't see another division title and double-digit win season for Wake Forest. The good news for the Deacs is that the offense is so prolific that we can have those hang-ups and still cash the over on the win total. Pick: Over 8.5 (-115)