Miami needs to find a replacement for quarterback Brad Kaaya. Malik Rosier, who started once and completed 31 passes for 370 yards, is a solid replacement.
In addition, the Hurricanes have five more potential quarterbacks, three of whom are freshmen. Notable among these is incoming freshman N’Kosi Perry, a four-star recruit out of Ocala, Florida.
Miami should start the season ranked in the top 20 and are not expected to have a difficult schedule. Their hardest games will be against FSU, Notre Dame (highly debatable given ND’s last season), and UNC.
The Hurricanes snagged a lot of young talent (ten 4-star recruits to date) and will look to capitalize on that.
Honestly, it is hard to separate each team in the Coastal division. Each team has their positives, but also major question marks.
Pitt has lost their running back and quarterback from last season.
However, Max Browne, a transfer from USC, hopes to take charge of the Panthers offense. He was a five-star recruit back in high school and provides incredible potential for Pittsburgh.
Browne had a tumultuous time at USC under Lane Kiffin and the succession of head coaches. He was demoted to backup under Sam Darnold and opted to transfer to Pitt. Browne only threw two touchdowns–and two interceptions–during his short time at USC; it remains to be seen if his time at USC was a fluke or he just needed the right conditions.
The Panthers went 8-5 with outstanding wins against Clemson and Penn State in 2016.
3. North Carolina
At the end of last season, the Tarheels were receiving votes for the top 25 in the AP Poll. They ended the season at 8-5, including a stunning win against FSU early in the season.
Despite the solid season, they’re losing a bunch of talent.
The Tar Heels will be without QB Mitch Trubisky, RB Elijah Hood, WR Ryan Switzer and RB TJ Logan, all important contributors to the high-scoring offense a season ago.
So UNC hasn’t found a starting QB and much of their O-line is no longer eligible to play, including Jon Heck, Caleb Peterson, and Lucas Crowley.
That being said, the Heels also upped the ante on recruiting and are bringing in five 4-star recruits to revitalize the team on both sides of the ball.
Notable among these recruits is 4-star linebacker Payton Wilson, the second-ranked OLB in the nation. The Tar Heels are starting almost completely from scratch on offense and might have to go through a little bit of a rebuilding process this season.
4. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech comes into the season fresh off of a narrow loss in the ACC title and a Belk bowl win against Arkansas.
At 10-4, the Hokies proved that they need to be taken seriously in the ACC.
There’s only one problem, and it’s the same problem that seems to be plaguing the Coastal division: they lost a lot of guys.
It remains to be seen how the new Virginia Tech receivers will perform. If the Hokies can answer these questions they will make the Coastal a whole lot more competitive, but the new recruits won’t be enough to replace last year’s prowess.
5. Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets show some promise on the offensive side of the ball, with QB Matthew Jordan leading the way.
The sophomore hasn’t had much experience on the field since he joined the team, but he’ll want to prove himself.
If there were more consistent, they’d be ranked around No. 2 or 3, but until that changes, they won’t be as successful as they should be.
Quarterback Daniel Jones has shown promise, and the Duke receivers are looking good for next year.
Duke lost a lot of guys on the D and O-line, and they didn’t restock adequately to protect Jones.
These days, you can never count Duke out from the ACC because they always seem to surprise, but things aren’t looking up.
Virginia is coming off of a rough 2-10 year, with their only ACC win being against Duke.
They can’t move the ball and averaged just over 113 yards per game.
Even worse (or better, to be honest) is that they lost two of their running backs. Both lines are in rough shape and the O-line has a really hard time stopping pressure.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall has some major work to do.