Spring ball is under way and there are a ton of storylines in the ACC that have nothing to do with the potential destruction of the league. Florida State is the defending champion, but the Seminoles lost a massive chunk of their 2-deep this offseason.

Still, FSU offers some value in the preseason. FanDuel has win totals out for the power conferences. Here are my favorites right now.

Miami Hurricanes over 9.5 wins (+128 at FanDuel)

The first 2 years of the Mario Cristobal era at Miami brought enough drama to rival a Netflix reality show. It is Miami, after all. The Hurricanes lost to Middle Tennessee State in Year 1 under Cristobal and then suffered one of the greatest coaching mistakes in modern college football history in a loss to Georgia Tech last year.

It is, however, worth remembering that if not for Cristobal losing his mind for mere seconds on the sidelines on Oct. 7, Miami goes 8-4 in the regular season. The Hurricanes beat a ranked Texas A&M team by 48 points, and they beat Clemson at home on Oct. 21. From Oct. 14 through Nov. 18, Miami faced North Carolina (on the road), Clemson, NC State (on the road), Florida State (on the road), and Louisville. It was an… OK season? All things considered.

Miami finished 2022 ranked No. 74 in Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings. The Hurricanes finished the 2023 season ranked No. 28, and they had a flag you want to look for when projecting teams that might make a jump — they played a ton of 1-score games and sucked in them.

The ‘Canes went 2-4 in games decided by 8 points or less.  They went 2-2 in 1-possession games the year prior.

And when you’re looking at a typical rebuild, teams go from getting blown out, to losing 1-score games, to winning 1-score games, to blowing others out. Typically. There are obviously exceptions.

Miami’s 2024 slate offers hope. The Hurricanes host Florida State. They have a bye week before facing Louisville on the road. They miss Clemson, they miss SMU, and they get Virginia Tech early.

If we were to construct point spreads for each game on the schedule based on Connelly’s preseason SP+ rankings, Miami’s expected win total would be right at 9.

Throughout his coaching career, Cristobal has been known for producing strong offensive lines. The ‘Canes return their top 3 linemen from last season and 5 of the 7 who played at least 100 snaps. An Indiana transfer is competing for reps on the interior and 2023 5-star signee Samson Okunlola could be a wild card after he was limited to 3 games last year.

Miami should be improved on the offensive line. And Washington State transfer quarterback Cam Ward has yet to play behind a good enough offensive line during his time at the FBS level. Ward dazzled at Wazzu, but he was under duress constantly. If Miami keeps him clean, he can be 1 of the ACC’s best quarterbacks next season.

North Carolina Tar Heels under 7.5 wins (+112 at FanDuel)

Let’s just recap the last few months for Carolina. The program had to vociferously fight off retirement rumors surrounding coach Mack Brown, who will return in 2024 and turns 73 in August. Brown parted ways with his defensive coordinator. The program lost star quarterback Drake Maye and receiver Tez Walker, who both went to the NFL Draft. The program signed the 26th-ranked high school class and the 51st-ranked transfer class, a group tasked with helping to rebuild the two-deep, which returns just 37% of its overall production from a season ago (1 of the worst marks in the country).

And North Carolina closed out its 2023 season with 3 consecutive losses and 5 losses in its final 7 games. The only wins were a 52-point drubbing of FCS Campbell and a 47-45 double-overtime win over a Duke team that was without Riley Leonard.

To make matters worse, it was the second consecutive season in which UNC started hot before flaming out. Carolina opened the 2022 campaign 9-1 before losing 4 straight. This time around, the Heels were 6-0 and ranked No. 10 when they lost to Virginia on Oct. 21.

This feels like a balloon that has slowly been leaking air. And this upcoming season has disaster written all over it.

That’s not even necessarily because of the schedule, though opening against a Big Ten opponent on the road is no easy task. The Heels have a quarterback competition (among many others) this offseason, and that lingering too long will start to raise some red flags. Carolina only returns 1 starter on the offensive line, so continuity on that side of the ball is lacking even with a dynamite rusher.

UNC faces James Madison to close out its nonconference slate. A 2-2 start would kick all those retirement questions back up a month into the season.

If You’re Feeling Adventurous: Florida State over 9.5 wins (+120 at FanDuel)

Is Florida State going 13-0 again? Probably not. The ceiling doesn’t seem as high with this group as it did with last year’s. But the floor might be high enough to make this worth a flier.

Florida State’s big kickoff game is actually an ACC game. In Ireland. Against Georgia Tech. They return to face Boston College the following Monday, then the Seminoles have an off week. They’ll play 4 straight against Memphis, Cal, SMU, and Clemson. Over the last 2 months of the regular season, FSU has 2 more byes.

Last year’s team played 9 straight weeks. I imagine we will hear coaches compare the 2 quite often.

While Florida State doesn’t have a ton of returning production (58%), Mike Norvell did produce another gem of a transfer class. The group is built on defense, where Norvell signed 4 transfers on the line, a pair of cornerbacks, and a former blue-chip Alabama linebacker. And make no mistake, last year’s success was built on the defensive side of the football.

What was lost in the “do they deserve a CFP shot?” conversation was that Florida State’s defense was legitimately a Playoff-caliber defense. From Oct. 28 through the ACC title game, FSU gave up just 3.98 yards per play.

Patrick Payton (14.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, 10 pass breakups) is the next star for the Seminoles’ defense.

What will the offense look like with DJ Uiagalelei taking over for Jordan Travis? Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson need replacing on the outside as well.

SMU, Miami, and Notre Dame are all on the road. With Clemson and Florida also on the docket, Florida State probably has to go no worse than 2-1 in the big road games for this to cash. How big a believer are you in Mike Norvell?