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ACC football teams as English Premier League clubs

The now annual take over of the EPL fans of TNIAAM make the connections between our favorite ACC Conference mates and England’s best professional teams.

Manchester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

In what’s becoming an annual tradition, (sometimes more when the world gets involved) we at TNIAAM would love to turn the ACC into the world’s premier soccer conference. Yes, I know, they’re already pretty good at that and our own Men’s soccer is damn good. Anyways, let’s compared English things to ACC things.

(Teams are in order of 2017 Conference Finish)

ATLANTIC

Clemson Tigers - Manchester City

This one is pretty obvious: both return as the favorites, both stand atop the standings as the new order power and both have clear leadership and an ability to bring in high end talent and improve. The only question is if the burden of excellence finally weighs them down just enough for someone else to step up. (It probably won’t this year.)

N.C. State Wolfpack - Everton

Some people really sipped the cool-aid last year, and while neither team was bad, neither was anything close to the level of challenging the true power players of the league. They’ve retooled and should still be a solid team, but it wouldn’t shock me at all if both saw a drop as others have done more to add and improve.

Louisville Cardinals - Chelsea

Bobby Petrino hasn’t been fired six times by Lousiville yet, but it sure seems like they talk about it. Both teams are dealing with organizational turnover, and Chelsea may soon be joining Louisville in losing their most dynamic player in modern history. Both should still be good by virtue of talent, but they’ve both clearly dropped out of the “Elite” tier and into the “Very Good,” tier.

Burnley v Espanyol - Pre-Season Friendly

Wake Forest Demon Deacons - Burnley

Another pretty obvious one, Burnley and Wake both took their leagues by storm last year, showing that there’s legitimate stock to be bought into these teams. Neither is going to have the pure athletes or generational talent coming in the door, but they will challenge in all games and I’d pencil both in for a big upset somewhere along the way.

Boston College Eagles - Leicester City

Remember when these guys took everyone by storm, becoming the new hot team to “arrive?” Well they’re still... fine... but the steam is leaving and while lazy pundits may still call them “sleepers,” the true upstarts have evolved what they did before and I’d expect both to take a step backward this year.

Florida State Seminoles - Arsenal

Both teams enter the 2018-19 campaign with an odd sense of renewal. Gone are people we legitimately thought would run these teams forever, and in are fresh faces who should be good! But this year? It’s not quite a wash. There are clear expectations and benchmarks for improvement that should be met. But there are no true title aspirations from the intelligent sides of the fan base. Those come next year.

Syracuse Orange - Huddersfield Town

Everyone wants you to be good! Everyone wants to see this high octane team click at all cylinders and be competitive in every game. Problem is that aside from the occasional big upset, more often than not, that explosiveness is contained to one half of a game while fans watch the rest with baited breath hoping the wheels don’t totally fall off.

Manchester United v Real Madrid - International Champions Cup 2018 Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

COASTAL

Miami Hurricanes - Manchester United

The runner-ups in name only, both did what they had to do to win games in the regular season, but never really seemed like they were ready to truly win a one on one game with the champs. This year, both should still the be second best team, but somehow there are more questions than assumed strengths with this team. (I’m now contractually obligated to remind you that both of these teams were good in the 1990s-2000s.)

Virginia Tech Hokies - Tottenham

Both teams are machines offensively and above average on defense. Both should challenge top teams in the conference consistently, and if all things break juuuuust right? There’s an outside shot at winning the whole thing. Problem is that there’s just not quite enough depth to overcome that small margin of error, for the former because of injuries and the latter because of doing nothing.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - Southampton

Remember how when you first got here all anyone could talk about was how these teams were going to do more with less and be real scary in a few years? Well it sure looks like those boats sailed and all that talent was really over-hyped youngsters and a system masking a true lack of talent. My money is on both finishing near the bottom of the standings this time around.

Duke Blue Devils - West Ham

I’d argue that West Ham was worse than Duke was good last year, but West Ham went out and made some splashes this offeseason that will make them difficult to play against. Duke is that team of the ACC, beating who they should, and losing to who they should but not in a quiet way.

Newcastle United v FC Augsburg - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Virginia Cavaliers - Newcastle

Everyone is ticked at everyone. The coaches are speaking their minds, which while refreshing, just seems to make everyone else mad. They overperformed last year, and it seems surprising that no one is talking about them in the same way, but you realize that we’re all just waiting to see what happens early before hitching any real wagons to these runaway trains.

Pittsburgh Panthers - Crystal Palace

Aside from the playing 5-7th fiddle in your own city, both of these teams struggled in 17-18. Now, it sure seems like there are some building blocks for the future and there’s a plan in place, but there’s probably going to be pain before the true turnaround takes hold.

North Carolina Tar Heels - Brighton

Brighton was the new toy last year and while never terrible, they were never great either. The worst part is that while everyone else around them got better (and the newcomers bring a definitive style and energy to them), Brighton didn’t do anything near that level to think they’ll stay up. North Carolina is probably better than one win in the conference, but who on their schedule got worse to a point they could win? It’s going to be a long season for these two.