The Washington Times - October 23, 2008, 09:33AM

I did this little exercise with some Maryland predictions a couple weeks back.

They were mostly good, though some of them look suspect in hindsight.

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As for the overall ACC predictions, there’s also a mixed bag in terms of quality.

Here’s a glance back, if only to bury the bad forecasts for good.

1. Chris Crane will not throw as many interceptions as Matt Ryan did in 2007.

Ryan threw 19 interceptions in 14 games. Crane has thrown nine interceptions in six games. This one could go down to the wire.

2. Clemson will lose at least two games.

Ding ding ding, and then some! The Tigers’ hype was ridiculous, but it is still hard to believe they are 3-4 and working under an interim coach. No one could have seen the bottom falling out quite so much.

3. Duke will win a conference game.

Much thanks to David Cutcliffe and the boys for not wasting time taking care of this one in the league opener against Virginia. I thought it would come Nov. 8 against N.C. State, but the Blue Devils dispatched their ugly league losing skid quickly.

4. Florida State will play in a New Year’s Day Bowl.

It certainly looks possible. The Seminoles could turn out to be the last team standing in the Atlantic Division, and they’ll be an attractive possibility for the Chick-Fil-A (New Year’s Eve) or Gator bowls if they don’t win the conference title.

5. Georgia Tech will play in a bowl.

One more win, and that will be a near-certainty. The Yellow Jackets exceeded expectations of at least a rocky start under coach Paul Johnson, and are 6-1 with a chance to become bowl eligible on Saturday. Johnson will not be underestimated at Tech again.

6. Da’Rel Scott will be Maryland’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2002.

Scott has 555 yards, more than halfway to that preseason target, but he missed one game and was held in check for two more. It’s certainly more than possible – he’d need to average 63.6 yards over six regular-season games and a bowl – but it looks less likely than after three monster performancesto start the season.

7. Miami will not give up 30 points on four occasions again. It’s happened twice already, against Florida State and Duke. The Hurricanes’ five remaining opponents all rank in the bottom half of the ACC in scoring offense.

8. Hakeem Nicks will lead the ACC in receiving yardage. He holds a lead of nearly 200 yards over Virginia’s Kevin Ogletree, and as the Tar Heels’ top target, he’s unlikely to relinquish such a large edge.

9. N.C. State will change starting quarterbacks more than any other team in the ACC. The Wolfpack have switched starters four times because of Russell Wilson’s injuries. That would put them ahead of everyone else.

10. A Virginia wide receiver will catch more than 21 passes. Ogletree has 37 catches, so he’s well on his way to tripling that number – which was the high for a Cavaliers wideout in 2007.

11. Macho Harris will be the ACC’s player of the year. Well, it’s not like all the people picking players out of Clemson’s backfield were right, too. I’ll give myself credit for being on the right track, since there’s a compelling case to be made that the league’s best player is a defender from a school in the Old Dominion. It just so happens to be Virginia linebacker Clint Sintim, not Harris.

12. Sam Swank will break the ACC’s career scoring record. It’s tough to account for injuries. Swank needs 68 points to eclipse former Maryland kicker Nick Novak, but he’s missed two games and could sit out a third at Miami on Saturday. Given Swank’s ranger, I’d have given him a decent chance to average nearly eight points over his final nine games. Now, though, it looks like Novak’s record will be safe.

Patrick Stevens