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Atlantic Coast Conference

2005 Predicted Order of Finish.ATLANTIC
1. FLORDIA STATE
The Seminoles offensive strength is in three players. Leon Washington, who gained 6.9 carries last year, and Lorenzo Booker (5.

1 yards per carry) lead the offense, while Wyatt Sexton takes over as the full-time starter at quarterback. All-American candidates Ernie Sims and A.J. Nicholson can do it all at linebackers.2. BOSTON COLLEGE
Big Eight defensive player Mathias Kiwanuka with 11.

5 sacks, guides a defense that returns eight starters. Star corner back Will Blackmon will play part time at wide receiver to give quarterback Quinton Porter another offensive weapon. Red shirt freshman Andre Callender and L.

V. Whitman combined for 1,260 yards rushing last season.3. N.C. STATE
N.

C. State's defensive line returns all four starters with first ?team All-ACC end Mario Williams leading the way. The Wolfpack will have to look to running back Reggie Davis, who has just 309 career rushing yards to replace T.

A. McLedon this year. The good news is that three starters are back on the offensive line.

4. CLEMSON
Charlie Whitehurst is hoping to put it all together in his final season at quarterback. He performed very well in spring practice and should have a solid year with running back Reggie Merriweather and wide receiver Chasi Stuckey returning. Vic Koenning, new defensive coordinator, comes over from Troy, where the Trojans was one of the top scoring defenses in the nation.5. MARYLAND
Maryland must rely on the passing attack of quarterback Joel Statham after starting running back Josh Allen tore two ligaments in his knee in the final game of 2004.

Josh will be lost for the 2005 season. Joel will have wide receiver Derrick Fenner as his main target. The Terrapins have a linebacker that could challenge for defensive player of the year in D"Qwell Jackson, 123 tackles last season.6. WAKE FORREST
The Demon Deacons have one of the best running backs in the conference.

Senior Chris Barclay rushed for 1,010 yards and nine touchdowns. He will be the focus of the offensive. For Defense, Wake Forest will need to replace five starters, including both starting corner backs. With the proper motivation, Wake Forest will finish better than their 1-7 record in the ACC last year.COASTAL.1.

VIRGINIA TECH
All eyes will be on Hookies quarterback Marcus Vick as part of the returning excellent talent. As a senior, Marcus will look to put his off-the-field troubles behind him and finally live up to his potential. He will have two talented wide receivers in Eddie Royal and Josh Hyman. Also he will have the top tight end in the conference, Jeff King, to help him in his quest.

2. MIAMI
With nine starters returning from last year's team that ranked 13th in the nation in points allowed, defense is the name of the game in Coral Gables. The anchor up front is defensive tackle Orien Harris while the secondary is loaded.

The offense needs to play better than it did last season as Miami will have a new starter at quarterback, sophomore Kyle Wright.3. GEORGIA TECH
The Yellow Jackets will be looking to improve on last year's 7-5 team and could be the sleeper in the race for the ACC title. They are expecting their 17 starters to be the focal point for this season. Ten defensive starters return this year and are lead by Eric Henderson, defensive end, and Gerris Wilkerson. In yards allowed last year's defense ranked 12th in the nation.

On offense, quarterback P.J. Daniels and wide receiver Calvin Johnson also return.4. VIRGINIA
The Cavaliers return a foundation of talented performers despite losing key players. Quarterback Marques Hagans is back after last season's 2,024 yard passing, 394 yard rushing performance.

Also back is running back Wali Lundy, who scored 17 touchdowns. Linebacker Ahmad Brooks and offensive tackle D'Brickshaw Ferguson are back and should easily earn All-ACC honors.5. DUKE
The bad news is that Duke has only one returning starter in the offensive line. However, Cedric Dargan, who led the Blue Devils with 462 yards rushing in only seven games, could provide an offensive back. On defense, the Blue Devils' strength is in the secondary.

John Talley and Brian Greene led a group that ranked third in the ACC in interceptions.6. NORTH CAROLINA
Backup quarterback Matt Blake gets to take over and will have to guide an inexperience offense.

Ronnie McGill and LSU transfer Barrington Edwards will both get a chance to run the ball, but this team is going to struggle. Defensive end Khalif Mitchell and linebacker Larry Edwards could turn into stars on defensive.

.Garth Belkins is the senior sports writer for 365SportsNews.com.

By: Garth Belkin



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