The following is the Atlantic Coast Conference predicted order of finish for the 2016 regular season:

1) Florida State

2) Clemson

3) Louisville

4) North Carolina State

5) Wake Forest

6) Syracuse

7) Boston College

1) Florida State

They play Clemson at home. That is what it finally boiled down to. Both teams take a week off before the game. But the Seminoles play Wake Forest at home, get an extra week off, then play Clemson at home.

It does make a difference.

Florida State returns 10 starters on offense. Though they averaged 32 points per game in 2015, they had issues throwing the ball downfield. As a result, senior quarterback Sean Maguire may find himself nudged out of the starting rotation.

The running game is in great hands with junior running back Dalvin Cook and most of the starting line back. This is an exceptional Football team.

2) Clemson

The Tigers return almost all the play-makers on their offense that averaged 38.5 points per game. One of the eight returning starters is junior quarterback Deshaun Watson.

It is worth mentioning again, thatDabo Swinney's Tigers won fourteen games in a row last year. They made it through the playoffs and into the national championship game. There, they out-played Alabama through the first half.

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Well enough so, that Alabama's Nick Saban went to the trick play to break up the momentum. To Coach Saban's credit, the on-sides kick worked and Bama took back the momentum.

Clemson has the players and staff to do it all over again. In fact, this really could be the year when one conference sends two teams. If Florida State or Clemson were to go undefeated except to the other team, there would be six weeks for either to win their way back to the top four.

I'm certain plan B is not considered a good alternative for either of these teams. Either way, this should be a great year for the ACC!

3) Louisville

The Cardinals return 16 starters from an 8-5 of 2015. Of those five losses, three came in the first three games. After they got the ship righted, they went 8-2.

Bobby Petrino has the makings of something really good in Louisville this season.

4) North Carolina State

The Wolfpack may be hard-pressed to average over 33 points per game again in 2016. Three of their starting five offensive linemen have to be replaced, along with Jacoby Brissett who started at quarterback the last two years.

Defensively, they ranked number 29 in the nation last year. They return almost all the defensive line starters and the linebackers, so the defense should be OK.

The Wolfpack must get something going on offense early if they want to keep moving forward.

5) Wake Forest

Coach Dave Clawson has led the Demon Deacons to back-to-back 3-9 seasons. Certainly not what he had in mind, nor what Wake wanted. But there is some good news too.

The Deacons return eight starters, including four of five linemen, the QB and TE. Better news, is there is a blend with some senior leadership in there. This is the time to get the offensive points per game up significantly from that horrible 17.4 average per game of last year.

Defensively, they only gave up 24.6 points per game last year. With seven returning starters – all upperclassmen – and some experience on the bench, they should be able to hold their own.

6) Syracuse

The Orange hired Dino Babers from Bowling Green at the end of 2015. I don't know how the current players will do in Baber's systems. But I do know Dino Babers is a good coach. He can fix Syracuse. The question is how long?

7) Boston College

Steve Addazio started well in Chestnut Hill. His 2013 and 2014 teams both finished 7-6. In 2015, his team went 3-9. Still, they finished ranked number one in the nation in defense.

What is most troubling since is the loss of the defensive coordinator, Don Brown to Michigan. New coordinator Jim Reid comes from Kirk Ferentz staff coaching linebackers at Iowa.

They dohave a great deal of talent returning from the outstanding defense of 2015. But offensive, not so much.

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