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Ask Farrell: Which team will surprise in the ACC?

Willie Taggart
Willie Taggart (AP Images)

Florida State went 5-7 last season, lost to Miami, got blown out by Clemson and Florida and there seemed to be almost immediate frustration with how the program was going under first-year coach Willie Taggart.

It was the Seminoles’ first losing season since 1976, which also happened to be Bobby Bowden’s first year. It would turn out to be Bowden’s only losing campaign.

Turning the page to 2019, the Seminoles are picked to finish second in the ACC Atlantic by Street & Smith’s but third in the division by Athlon Sports with a projected finish of 7-5, which would be considered another disappointment by fans in Tallahassee.

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There is reason for optimism as offensive coordinator Kendal Briles takes over the offense and he’s known to put up points quickly. There is high-level talent at running back and wide receiver and the defense should be improved after a really average showing last season. The schedule is slightly easier although some road trips to Virginia, Clemson, Boston College and Florida will still pose a challenge.

Florida State is not the only ACC program who could surprise this season.

Under first-year coach Manny Diaz, Miami could make a major statement in Week 1 against Florida - unlike last season when the Hurricanes got thumped by LSU in the opener - although that program also has some questions to answer.

A lot of preseason prognosticators are high on Syracuse heading into this season as Athlon predicts a 9-win season and Virginia Tech could make a comeback into ACC Coastal relevance after a bad 6-7 season. If the ball bounces the right way, Virginia could be headed toward at least a 10-win season.

We ask National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell which team - Florida State, Miami or otherwise - could be the biggest surprise in the ACC this season.


AJ Dillon
AJ Dillon (USA TODAY Sports Images)

“This is a tough call and I’m going to go with a team that’s hasn’t been mentioned and that’s Boston College. With A.J. Dillon and a strong offensive line and a defense that always seems to be underrated, the Eagles could have a really good season next year. I’m not saying they will beat Clemson or win their division or anything but I think this team is dangerous this upcoming season. I think FSU improves but still has a disappointing season by their standards and Syracuse and Virginia surprised last year. Miami is intriguing but they have a lot of questions to answer. Keep an eye on Boston College.”