GREENSBORO — The ACC media loves Florida State. Again.
For the second straight year, the Seminoles were the preseason pick by the leagues media to win the ACC title.
FSU, which finished second in the Atlantic Division to Clemson last season and 9-4 overall with a second straight bowl win, received 60 out of 95 votes to win the ACC championship game and 72 to win its division.
The Tigers, the 2011 ACC champions, received 13 votes for the title game and 17 to win its division.
Virginia Tech was the overwhelming choice, 83 out of 95 votes, to win the Coastal Division. The Hokies, 11-3 in 2011, also received 18 votes to win the title game.
It has become something of an annual tradition (16 times in 21 years) for the assembled media to pick the Noles, who have delivered with 12 titles but none since 2005.
Third-year coach Jimbo Fisher bristled when asked when the Noles would deliver on their preseason promise.
"I think now," said Fisher, whose first FSU team lost in the ACC title game in 2010. "We should do it now."
Fisher, 19-9 in two seasons, added it will be more difficult than the lopsided nature of the vote.
"Its going to be hard if (the media) thinks so or not," Fisher said. "You can have 22 first-round picks and its still going to be hard."
N.C. State and North Carolina received votes to win their respective divisions. The Wolfpack, 8-5 a year ago, received five first-place votes and was picked to finish third in the Atlantic. The Wolfpack also received one vote to win the ACC title game. UNC, 7-6 in 2011, was picked to finish third in the Coastal behind Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech and received two first-place votes. Due to NCAA violations, UNC is barred from the conference title game and a bowl game.
Duke, coming off back-to-back 3-9 seasons, received the fewest votes and was picked to finish last in the Coastal.
That doesnt qualify as a surprise, Duke has been pegged to finish last in its division, or the conference, in 12 of the past 13 seasons.
Clemson, with three All-ACC players back on offense including preseason player of the year, sophomore receiver Sammy Watkins getting only 17 first-place votes does.
The Tigers beat FSU and Virginia Tech (twice) in 2011, en route to 10 wins and their first ACC title in 20 years. Despite the return of Watkins (82 catches, 1,219 yards, 12 touchdowns), quarterback Tajh Boyd (who led the ACC with 33 touchdown passes) and running back Andre Ellington, the Tigers have been getting little love from the media this offseason. And thats fine with Swinney.
"I dont think weve been picked to win it at all (since 2009) and weve won it twice," Swinney said of the Atlantic Division. "Im much more interested in how it ends up in December."
Much of the wet-blanket treatment for the Tigers is how their 2011 season ended, with a 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and losses in four of their final six games after an 8-0 start.
The backlash against the Tigers from the Orange Bowl disaster prompted All-ACC center Dalton Freeman to wax philosophical.
"The past is a bucket of ashes," Freeman said.Clemson would have gotten at least one more vote for the Atlantic Division on Monday if the players participated in the poll.
Virginia Tech safety Kyle Fuller has his own motives for liking the Tigers, who beat the Hokies 23-3 in Blacksburg, Va., in October and 38-10 in Charlotte in December.
Fuller said he would have voted for the Tigers in the Atlantic, "so that we can play them again."