Who are your surprise teams for the 2012 season?
Mine are as follows….
ACC Atlantic: NC State - I still think that Clemson and FSU will finish in the top two positions, but NC State is a team that coule be much better than people project. Mike Glennon is a very solid QB, the running game should be significantly better this year and the secondary is very solid, led by All-American David Amerson. With their schedule, I could easily see them winning nine games during the regular season.
ACC Coastal: UNC - The Tar Heels will have the top OL in the ACC, a first-team all-conference performer at RB (Giovani Bernard) and a QB with NFL potential (Bryn Renner. UNC is also getting the added benefit of introducing Blake Anderson’s spread offense to the equation. The defense will still be talented, and the Tar Heels have the easiest schedule in the ACC, in my opinion. Eight or nine wins should be expected, although double-digit wins is not out of the questino.
SEC East: Florida - I know that this is the cliche pick, but the Gators will be extremely talented on the defensive side of the ball, as ten starters return from a defense tha finished in the top 1 in total defense last season. The biggest question for the Gators will be at QB, where Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel at battling it out. With Brent Pease’s new offense, which is better suited for Florida’s collection of talent, I expect to see marked improvement from the Florida offense this fall. If the Gators get solid play under center, they will contend for the SEC East title.
SEC West: Mississippi State - I don’t think that the Bulldogs will be able to compete for a divisino title, but they should expect to improve upon last season’s win total. The coaches are looking to shift to a more pass-oriented attack with QB Tyler Russell and an arsenal of talented receivers. Seven starters return on defense, and five-star DT Quay Evans should make an immediate impact. Also, MSU’s cross-divisional games this season are against Tennessee and Kentucky and the Bulldogs have an extremely easy non-conference slate. I think there is a very real possibility for eight regular season victories.