On Packer and Durham on ACC Network this week, Mark Packer opined that America will fall asleep on the quality of the ACC’s Atlantic Division.
Packer believes the Atlantic will be “outstanding” with a trio of expected preseason top-25 teams (if not top-20 or top-15 teams) in Clemson, Wake Forest and NC State, to go with teams like Louisville, Florida State and Boston College that he thinks “are legit and can cause problems.”
Former Georgia Tech running back and current ACC Network analyst Roddy Jones, who joined Packer and Durham as a guest this week, agreed with Packer’s take on the Atlantic Division heading into the 2022 season.
“If the national media does fall asleep on it, then maybe we should take their credentials,” Jones said. “Because you’re going to have teams that are fighting in that top 10 really all season, I think, and I think it will be a couple of them. Now, Clemson and Wake Forest play early on in the season, so that’s going to hurt one of them in terms of that race. But NC State is going to be really good. Clemson is going to be really good. Wake Forest, we saw them, they’re going to be really good. … So, the Atlantic Division is going to be a slugfest.”
The Tigers, Demon Deacons and Wolfpack enter the season with high expectations and hype around them, but Jones believes it’s the other teams in the division — Louisville, Florida State, Syracuse and Boston College — that may catch people by surprise with their play this season.
“I think that second tier is going to be the place that people are the most surprised, if you haven’t been paying attention,” Jones said.
“Louisville, offensively, is going to be as good as I think they’ve been under Scott Satterfield. You look at Florida State, which the arrow was pointing up and to the right on Florida State. Constant improvement. They really figured that offense out and how to move the ball with Jordan Travis last year, and I think they’re only going to expand on that as they get better on offense, get older on defense as well, which is going to be a big one. Syracuse defensively last year was really good, and I think they will be again this year. Offensively, can they throw the ball a little bit better? But they’ve got maybe the best player on that side of the conference in Sean Tucker, and then you’ve got Garrett Shrader, a guy who’s going to give people a lot of problems. Then you mentioned Boston College. They’ve got to replace a lot on the offensive line, but you get Phil Jurkovec back.”
Looking at the division right now on paper, Jones doesn’t see a team that opponents can circle as an “easy win.”
“There’s no team in the Atlantic that you look at right now and say alright, that’s an easy win, which is going to make the division really fun,” he said.
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