The CBS Sports college football staff is laying it all on the line ahead of the season, calling out each of our most overrated and underrated teams, picking a champion, making a bold prediction and predicting the order of finish for the ACC.

Let's take a look. You can also check out our ACC superlatives and awards.


Most overrated team

Miami: I like the Mark Richt hire. I like Brad Kaaya at quarterback. I like how wide open the Coastal is for Miami's chances. I just don't know if there are enough players, especially on defense, for the Hurricanes to win the division this year. -- Jon Solomon (In agreement: Tom Fornelli, Robby Kalland)

North Carolina: The Tar Heels aren't vastly overrated, but I'm a little confused as to why the they are such a dominant choice to win the Coastal. Replacing quarterback Marquise Williams won't be easy, even if some of the other weapons on offense are returning. The Heels' defense was much improved last year but was still pretty weak against the run. The biggest impediment, though, in North Carolina's division title defense may be a schedule that features road games against Florida State and Miami. -- Jerry Palm (In agreement: Ben Kercheval)

Virginia Tech: The Hokies deteriorated for years under Frank Beamer. Hey, it happens. While the ACC as a whole has gotten better, VT hasn't. I believe Justin Fuente is one of the best hires this year. He has four returning offensive linemen plus a 1,000-yard rusher. But there is a rebuild to be done here with at least a year's transition. Fuente has to install the hurry-up spread. You don't do that in one offseason with a roster recruited to a different system. Third place in the Coastal and a bowl game would be an absolute win in Fuente's first season. -- Dennis Dodd


Most underrated team

Pittsburgh: The Coastal is one of the weirdest divisions in college football. Four different teams have won it in the past five years, and trying to predict what happens there is near impossible. That said, look for Pitt to take a step forward in 2015. James Conner returns, and if he can return to his 2014 form, he's one of the nation's top running backs. Add that to a defense that should improve in Pat Narduzzi's second season -- they showed some tendencies of Narduzzi's Michigan State's defenses last year, like having a top-30 havoc rate -- and I think there's potential in Pittsburgh for a sneaky division title run. -- Robby Kalland (In agreement: Jon Solomon, Jerry Palm, Chip Patterson)

Louisville: At the risk of qualifying Louisville's potential record too much, we could be talking about the best 9-3 team in college football this year. That the Cardinals get Clemson and Florida State every year is borderline criminal. And who would have thought a road game at Houston (Nov. 17) would be as difficult as it sounds. Without a doubt, Cardinals fans would be elated to get a win in just one of those games. It's possible, though. Sophomore Lamar Jackson is a budding quarterback who, if he develops as a passer, has a tremendously high ceiling. Devonte Fields, formerly with TCU, is among the ACC's best outside linebackers. -- Ben Kercheval

Virginia Tech: The Coastal is always wide open, and I'm skeptical about North Carolina's ability to repeat last season's accomplishments due to its porous run defense. Miami will be solid, but I'm not ready to crown it yet. Then there's the Hokies. The defense slipped last year, but I expect things to return to normal this season, and even in his first year, Justin Fuente will make a very boring offensive team exciting. -- Tom Fornelli

Syracuse: I'm not going to blow smoke at anyone. The Orange will most likely finish sixth or seventh in a loaded Atlantic Division. But Dino Babers is changing the entire culture. He will eventually recruit elite, fast athletes to run his hurry (way) up spread. Since 2010, the former Art Briles assistant at Baylor has worked with offenses that have finished lower than 13th nationally only once. -- Dennis Dodd


Conference champion

Florida State: The Seminoles have an absolutely loaded roster that at worst competes with -- if not surpasses -- Clemson at most every position with the notable exception of quarterback. Redshirt freshman Deondre Francois will determine whether the 'Noles can win the ACC title and be a national title contender, but he's getting rave reviews in fall camp, which is a good start. The deciding factor for me in picking between Clemson and Florida State in the Atlantic is that the Seminoles get Clemson at home this season, which will help a young quarterback. If FSU can win that game, it should take the conference. -- Robby Kalland (In agreement: Jon Solomon, Tom Fornelli, Ben Kercheval)

Clemson: This isn't hard. Deshaun Watson is the nation's best player. He is surrounded by seven other returning starters on offense. Not saying the defense will be better, but maybe it doesn't have to be. If the Tigers don't average 45-50 points per game, I'll be shocked. Most of all, they're good enough to win at FSU on Oct. 29. That game will decide the ACC and its College Football Playoff participant. -- Dennis Dodd (In agreement: Jerry Palm, Chip Patterson)


Bold ACC prediction

Dennis Dodd: Clemson will win at Florida State on Oct. 29 and once again end up playing for the national championship.

Jon Solomon: In the topsy-turvy world that is the ACC Coastal, Pitt will win the division. Miami, an ACC member since 2004, will have to wait another year for its first ACC Championship Game trip.

Jerry Palm: For the second consecutive year, Clemson will finish the regular season unbeaten, but it will not finish No. 1 in the CFP Rankings.

Tom Fornelli: Virginia Tech will win the Coastal.

Chip Patterson: The ACC will have two teams in the top six of the CFP rankings at the end of the regular season.

Robby Kalland / Ben Kercheval: Florida State will beat Clemson in Tallahassee, Florida, to clinch the Atlantic.


Predicted order of finish



Dodd Solomon Palm Fornelli Kalland Kercheval Patterson
Atlantic Division
1
2
3
4
5
6.
7
Coastal Division
1
2
3
4
5
6
7