Teams listed in predicted order of finish
Coach: Bobby Bowden (17 years, 144-44-3; 25 years overall, 216-76-3)
Last year: 11-2 (beat Texas A&M in Cotton Bowl, 10-2)
PTC Strengths: Arguably best Seminoles defense ever, led by junior linebacker Marvin Jones.
Weakness: Brand-new backfield and no experienced quarterback behind Charlie Ward.
Prediction: If Seminoles can get through early road tests at Clemson and N.C. State, ACC title will be wrapped up early.
Coach: Ken Hatfield (two years, 19-4-1; 13 years overall, 100-53-3)
Last year: 9-2-1, lost to California in Florida Citrus Bowl, 37-13
Strengths: Despite losing several key players, defense will again be one of the best in the country.
Weakness: No experienced quarterback.
Prediction: Sept. 12 matchup with Seminoles in Death Valley will make or break the Tigers.
Coach: George Welsh (10 years, 64-47-3; 19 years overall, 121-93-4)
Last year: 8-4-1, lost to Oklahoma in Gator Bowl, 48-14
Strengths: In Welsh, Cavaliers have arguably the best coach in the league. Defensive end Chris Slade is one of the ACC's top pass rushers.
Weakness: Question mark at quarterback with senior Bobby Goodman.
Prediction: If Goodman plays well, Cavs could be the dark horse in ACC race.
Coach: Bill Lewis (first year at Georgia Tech; six years overall, 35-32)
Last year: 7-5, beat Stanford in Aloha Bowl, 18-17
Strengths: Quarterback Shawn Jones started slowly last year, but is still one of the biggest throw/run threats in the country. Defensive tackle Coleman Rudolph had 13 sacks, but many were result of Marco Coleman getting double-teamed.
Weakness: Young defensive backfield.
Prediction: Jones needs to be more consistent if Yellow Jackets want to challenge for the top spot in ACC.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE
Coach: Dick Sheridan (six years, 25-16-1; 14 years overall, 112-49-4)
Last year: 9-3, lost to East Carolina in Peach Bowl, 20-17
Strengths: Quarterback Terry Jordan, who already has engineered upset of then-No. 16 Iowa in Kickoff Classic.
Weakness: Offensive line is inexperienced.
Prediction: If victory over Hawkeyes wasn't a fluke, Wolfpack might be better than everyone thinks.
Coach: Mack Brown (four years, 15-28-1; eight years overall, 32-56-1)
Last year: 7-4
Strengths: Tailbacks Natrone Means and Randy Jordan, who combined for 1,648 yards and 18 touchdowns last year.
Weakness: Inability to put away teams they're supposed to beat.
Prediction: Tar Heels have the talent to compete with anybody, but haven't so far under Brown.
Coach: Mark Duffner (first year at Maryland, six years overall, 60-5-1)
Last year: 2-9
Strengths: New-found enthusiasm, backs and receivers in run-and-shoot offense that ACC teams haven't seen.
Weakness: Lack of depth and speed.
Prediction: Wait until next year.
Coach: Bill Dooley (five years, 21-32-2; 25 years overall, 154-122-5)
Last year: 3-8
Strengths: Senior tight end John Henry Mills, who was all-ACC the past two years.
Weakness: You name it, the Demon Deacons have it.
Prediction: Dooley is a lame duck, the Deacs are merely lame.
Coach: Barry Wilson (two years, 8-13-1; same overall)
Last year: 4-6-1
Strengths: Duke quarterbacks have produced the top four all-time single-season passing marks.
Weakness: None are currently in the program.
Prediction: Basketball season is only three months away.