ESPN analysts stick with picks in 'wide-open' ACC

by - Staff Writer -
ESPN's David Pollack says gave Clemson the edge everywhere but QB going into the season in the ACC.

A combination of factors from week one has Clemson now as a popular pick in the ACC and to make the College Football Playoff.

A couple ESPN analysts agreed Wednesday that the ACC has more intrigue now that Florida State joins a number of league teams breaking in a new quarterback.

"It's a very competitive conference and the thing that was most interesting and the reason why people gravitated towards Florida State ... (is quarterbacks)," ESPN's David Pollack said on College Football Live. "Miami, quarterbacks. Clemson, quarterbacks. That was the clear advantage (for FSU before). We saw Deondre Francois do it. Well, now, it feels wide-open."

"The conference is even more open than people anticipated going into the season," College GameDay's Desmond Howard said. "I like the ACC. It's a very competitive conference and I'll be interested to see how this thing unfolds."

The weekend's events, however, only confirmed the preseason Playoff predictions for both.

"I looked at the conference before the season started when we did our preview show and looked at the schedule," said Howard. "I'm like, 'Man, I'll tell you what. If Brad Kaaya was still in Coral Gables at the University of Miami, I think the 'Canes would be ranked much higher than they were preseason.' Therefore I picked the 'Canes to win the conference and make the College Football Playoff. Now it seems like the chips have kinda fallen their way."

Pollack picked Clemson to go to the CFP in August.

"You have a true freshman (James Blackman) coming into the game for Florida State to run the team," Pollack said. "Now the quarterbacks have been evened out (in the ACC), and for me now, Clemson was the best team on paper before the season started everywhere but the quarterback spot. Now Clemson has a huge advantage.

"That (in)experience at that spot against (Clemson) with a true freshman is going to be a tough task for anybody to go into Death Valley to do that. I think it gives Clemson the advantage now in the ACC."

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