A runaway favorite in one division, uncertainty in the other. The ACC’s annual preseason media poll, released on Monday afternoon, offered few surprises.
Florida State, the defending national champion, is the overwhelming favorite in the Atlantic Division. The Seminoles received 109 of 112 first-place votes from media members attending the ACC Kickoff at the Grandover Resort.
FSU is also the clear favorite to win the ACC championship game in Charlotte in December. The Seminoles were named the league’s preseason championship game favorite on 104 ballots, while Clemson and Virginia Tech received two votes each to win the league title.
Predicting the Coastal Division winner, though, proved more difficult. Six of the division’s seven teams received at least one first-place vote, and no team received more first-place votes than Duke, which won the Coastal a season ago before losing to Florida State in the ACC championship game.
Miami will enter the season the division favorite, though. The Hurricanes received 26 first-place votes – seven fewer than Duke and one fewer than North Carolina – but Miami edged the Blue Devils in the overall voting totals. UNC, which received the second-most first-place votes in the Coastal, was picked to finish fourth in the division, behind Duke (picked to finish second) and Virginia Tech (third).
In the Atlantic, N.C. State, which failed to win a conference game in coach Dave Doeren’s first season, finished fifth in the preseason media poll. Clemson was picked to finish second, behind Florida State, and Louisville, entering its first season in the ACC, is picked to finish third in the Atlantic.
This is the highest Duke has ever been picked to finish in the preseason ACC media poll, which dates to 1976. Before Monday, the Blue Devils had never been picked to finish higher than fifth in the Coastal Division.
Duke was picked to finish third in the ACC in 1983, when the league had eight teams. Before now, that was the Blue Devils’ best finish in the preseason poll.
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, who won the Heisman Trophy last season, is the overwhelming choice for preseason player of the year. Winston received 99 votes for that award, far ahead of runner up Vic Beasley, the Clemson defensive end who received six votes.