2020 Updated Win Total and Championship Projections: Is Notre Dame Worth a Bet to Win the Title?
Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book.
Amid the COVID landscape, college football is set to roll in three Power 5 conferences. One of those conferences is the ACC, which has struggled with outbreaks at Syracuse, NC State and North Carolina. Until we hear otherwise, the ACC market is off and running and there are bets to be made.
The rules for the ACC have changed for 2020. The two-division format is gone for 2020 and Notre Dame has joined the conference. A 10-game schedule was released and the two teams with the highest conference win percentages will meet in the ACC Championship.
The wait is over.
— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) August 6, 2020
The ACC has started to integrate non-conference games into the schedule. Manny Diaz and Miami will look to put an ugly Independence Bowl behind them with a season-opener against UAB on Sept. 10. Liberty will play three different ACC teams throughout the season.
With that in mind, the ACC projected win totals will help take an analytical approach at who might compete for the conference championship.
These numbers reflect the 10-game season only, and will not include projections for any games outside of the ACC.
ACC Win Totals
Clemson and Notre Dame an ACC Lock?
Clemson and Notre Dame are the blue chip stocks in my 2020 ACC projections. The Irish are listed at +600 to win the ACC Championship at DraftKings, while the Tigers are a prohibitive -455 favorite to to win the title.
Per the Action Network Power Ratings, Notre Dame would be around a 13-point underdog when they host Clemson on Nov. 7. The Irish will be favorites in their nine other ACC games, so they are certainly a contender for one of the spots in the ACC Championship Game.
As for Clemson, there is a 78% chance they sweep the schedule and beat Notre Dame in the Championship rematch.
That correlates to odds of -370, meaning there is no value on the current number.
The Virginia Tech Hokies return 89% of a defense that ranked 18th in success rate in 2019. While the offensive line was mediocre, Virginia Tech does return every starter in the trenches.
The Hokies do not play Notre Dame (it would be very ACC if VA Tech and Notre Dame finish with the same record) and should be favored in every game except against Clemson, so there is plenty of value in 18-1 with a hedge spot at North Carolina on Oct. 10.
Year 2 of Scott Satterfield
Louisville was an offensive EPA beast in 2019, ranking top 10 in both rush and pass explosiveness. There were issues with ball protection, as the Cardinals ranked 129th in havoc allowed, but that is atypical for Scott Satterfield’s offense and should regress in year two at Louisville.
The Cardinals return at least 77% of their starters on both sides of the ball, which is good news for a team that ranked 30th in finishing drives on offense and 53rd in the same metric on defense.
Louisville does not have to play Clemson, so its road game against Notre Dame stands out as the biggest game of its season. Most of the legacy ACC teams come to Cardinal Stadium, which should boost Satterfield’s team in year two.
The Cardinals currently sit at 40-1 to win the ACC at DraftKings.