It's never too early to get a jump on next season, is it? Here is a look at our way-too-early ACC power rankings for 2016. Also, here's Mark Schlabach's national way-too-early top 25.
1. Clemson Tigers. The Tigers are returning quarterback and Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson, along with key playmakers Artavis Scott, Mike Williams, Hunter Renfrow and three starters on the offensive line. Though they also lose several key contributors, getting Watson back once again makes the Tigers preseason favorites.
2. Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles return a wealth of talent, starting with running back Dalvin Cook. Their defensive front is shaping up to be the best in the ACC. Once again, the league will come down to the Noles or Tigers.
3. Louisville Cardinals. With 18 starters returning, expectations will be high for the Cardinals to notch their first 10-win season in the ACC. Quarterback Lamar Jackson showed off his potential in the bowl win over Texas A&M, and the defense returns standouts Devonte Fields, Keith Kelsey and Josh Harvey-Clemons.
4. North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tar Heels lose quarterback Marquise Williams, receiver Quinshad Davis and lineman Landon Turner, three of their best offensive players. But receiver Ryan Switzer, running back Elijah Hood and four starters on the offensive line return, along with talented defensive lineman Naz Jones and the entire secondary. This team will contend again for the Coastal Division title.
5. Miami Hurricanes. The Hurricanes very well could be the preseason choice in the Coastal Division with quarterback Brad Kaaya returning, along with just about all their skill players. Add in new coach Mark Richt and what is shaping up to be a strong staff, and watch expectations soar.
t. 6. Virginia Tech Hokies. Receiver Isaiah Ford and running back Travon McMillian are back, giving the Hokies a great start for new coach Justin Fuente. But who will be the quarterback? And how will a rebuilt defense fare with three new starters up front?
t. 6. Pittsburgh Panthers. Plenty of building blocks return for the Panthers, including defensive back Jordan Whitehead and running back Qadree Ollison. But with receiver Tyler Boyd gone, questions surrounding the health of running back James Conner, and a retooled defensive front, there are uncertainties.
t. 8. Duke Blue Devils. The Blue Devils lose many of their key players, including ACC Defensive Player of the Year Jeremy Cash, linebacker Dwayne Norman, offensive linemen Matt Skura and Lucas Patrick and kicker Ross Martin. Still, there is enough returning to keep their bowl streak alive.
t. 8. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. There is no way 2016 will be as bad as 2015, is there? Here is banking on "no" to that question, with quarterback Justin Thomas back along with experienced players at back and receiver.
10. NC State Wolfpack. It is safe to say our impression of the Wolfpack has slipped. They underperformed in 2015 and lose quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Until this team can post a .500 record or better in ACC play, it will be hard to put them in the top half of the league.
11. Virginia Cavaliers. There are key players returning for new coach Bronco Mendenhall, including quarterback Matt Johns, running back Smoke Mizzell and safety Quin Blanding. But is there enough for the Cavaliers to end their bowl drought?
12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Even though the Demon Deacons won only three games in 2015, they made strides. This could be a breakthrough season, but there are many questions that still have to be answered in a tough division before they can move out of the basement.
13. Boston College Eagles. The Eagles were spectacular on defense a year ago and bad on offense. Then they lost defensive coordinator Don Brown and several more defensive assistants in the offseason. They should be better on offense, but how much better? And where does the defense go after such an incredible season?
14. Syracuse Orange. Coach Dino Babers comes in to try to revamp an offense that has struggled the past two seasons thanks to terrible luck at quarterback. But there are holes that have to be plugged just about everywhere.