Power Ranking Non-Conference Schedules in the ACC Coastal
1. North Carolina Tar Heels: Aug. 30, Liberty Flames (8-4)*; Sept. 6, San Diego State Aztecs (8-5); Sept. 20, East Carolina Pirates (10-3); Oct. 11, Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-4).
Why: Take out the Flames (who finished second in the Big South Conference), and North Carolina’s non-conference schedule consists of nothing but bowl winners from the 2013 season.
2. Virginia Tech Hokies: Aug. 30, William & Mary Tribe (7-5)*; Sept. 6, Ohio State Buckeyes (12-2); Sept. 13, East Carolina Pirates (10-3); Sept. 27, Western Michigan Broncos (1-11).
Why: It will be a new-look Hokies squad after some major departures, and they’ll only have one opportunity to figure each other out before traveling to Columbus.
3. Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes: Sept. 6, Florida A&M Rattlers (3-9)*; Sept. 13, Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-5); Sept. 20, Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-4); Oct. 11, Cincinnati Bearcats (9-4).
Why: There’s no reason Miami can’t come out 4-0 in non-conference play this coming fall.
4. Virginia Cavaliers: Aug. 30, UCLA Bruins (10-3); Sept. 6, Richmond Spiders (6-6); Sept. 20, BYU Cougars (8-5); Sept. 27, Kent State Golden Flashes (4-8).
Why: Things don’t get much easier after a season opener with what could be the Pac-12 favorite in UCLA, as Virginia travels to play Taysom Hill and BYU just a few weeks later.
5. Pittsburgh Panthers: Aug. 30, Delaware Blue Hens (7-5)*; Sept. 13, FIU Panthers (1-11); Sept. 20, Iowa Hawkeyes (8-5); Sept. 27, Akron Zips (5-7).
Why: Week 4 is a matchup that I’ll actually be interested in for Pitt. The rest? Not so much (although I’m picking Akron to win right now).
6. Duke Blue Devils: Aug. 30, Elon Phoenix (2-10)*; Sept. 6, Troy Trojans (6-6); Sept. 13, Kansas Jayhawks (3-9); Sept. 20, Tulane Green Wave (7-6).
Why: The defending ACC Coastal Division champs have a relatively easy non-conference slate, as Tulane is the only team to make a bowl appearance from the list.
7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Aug. 30, Wofford Terriers (5-6)*; Sept. 6, Tulane Green Wave (7-6); Sept. 13, Georgia Southern Eagles (7-4)*; Nov. 29, Georgia Bulldogs (8-5).
Why: Two FCS teams and a middle-of-the-road C-USA program? Paul Johnson is foaming at the mouth.
*denotes FCS team
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