ACC poll has Hokies finishing second in division


From the sidelines

This year’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) football media day was a typical one with players showing off their fashion-sense and coaches shooting for the moon. The media doubts Virginia Tech has made enough strives to be back on top of the ACC world, instead giving the nod to Miami in the Coastal and Florida State in the Atlantic.

Defending ACC Coastal Division champion Virginia Tech has been picked to finish second in this year’s divisional race, according to a preseason poll of 167 media members held in conjunction with last week’s 2017 ACC Football Kickoff.

The media awarded the Hokies 40 first-place votes in the Coastal and three votes to win the ACC championship, which tied for fourth with Miami. The Hurricanes received the nod as the likely winner of the Coastal, while Florida State is preseason favorite to claim the ACC title.

Rounding out the predicted order of finish in the Coastal is Georgia Tech, Pitt, North Carolina, Duke and Virginia, respectively. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson was chosen to repeat as ACC Player of the Year.

In last year’s preseason poll, the Hokies were picked to finish fourth in the Coastal and earned only three first-place votes, but under the leadership of head coach Justin Fuente, Tech went on to clinch the division title and earn a spot in the conference’s championship game. The Hokies finished 2016 with a 10-4 overall record, a 6-2 mark in conference play and a final AP ranking of 16 after defeating Arkansas in the Belk Bowl, 35-24.

ACC Championship Votes

1. Florida State – 117

2. Clemson – 35

3. Louisville – 7

4-(tie) Virginia Tech – 3

4-(tie_ Miami – 3

6. Duke – 1

Atlantic Division

(First place votes in parentheses)

1. Florida State (121) – 1,108

2. Clemson (37) – 1,007

3. Louisville (9) – 843

4. NC State – 658

5. Wake Forest – 415

6. Syracuse – 362

7. Boston College – 283

Coastal Division

(First place votes in parentheses)

1. Miami (103) – 1,065

2. Virginia Tech (40) – 932

3. Georgia Tech (9) – 708

4. Pitt (7) – 673

5. North Carolina (4) – 606

6. Duke (4) -473

7. Virginia -219

I see things a little differently. I do believe the Hokies have enough firepower to run into the conference title game once again. This year, it might be a little tougher when Florida State places not only tops in the ACC but also the nation.

I predict the following: Atlantic, 1) Florida State, 2) Clemson, 3) Louisville, 4) Boston College, 5) N.C. State, 6) Wake Forest, 7) Syracuse.

Coastal, 1) Virginia Tech, 2) Pittsburgh, 3) Miami, 4) North Carolina, 5) Georgia Tech, 6) Virginia, 7) Duke.

UVA has made some great strides, but I simply don’t see them pushing too far out of the basement of the Coastal.

The surprise team is going to be Pittsburgh. They showed me last year that things are a-changing, and their offense has taken the next step. I also believe Boston College could be a sleeper in the Atlantic. No one, and I mean no one, thinks they are ready to take the next leap. But late last season, they showed some toughness that I think will carry over to this season.

Clemson will continue to be good, but Florida State is just heads above the rest. Don’t blink when Florida State is in the national title game.