They’re the unheralded teams, the overshadowed teams -- the ones who have ample talent on their roster to make significant improvement or a splash in the conference race but not enough fans know about it. Some, like Duke and Virginia, are spoilers. Others, like Boston College and Maryland, are contenders.
All of them have the potential to surprise you.
Wake Forest should be better now that quarterback Tanner Price has had a year of experience, and the entire team has matured a little. The secondary returns all four starters and is two-deep at every position. Boston College is consistently underrated and returns all of its key statistical leaders from a year ago and gains another top contributor in receiver Colin Larmond Jr., who should finally be cleared to play after a torn ACL last year.
Maryland has the ACC’s 2010 Rookie of the Year in quarterback Danny O'Brien and one of the best defensive players in the league in linebacker Kenny Tate. Virginia has one of the top recruiting classes in the nation coming to Charlottesville this summer to give immediate help, and Duke should be better in the fourth season under coach David Cutcliffe.