GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The ACC preseason media poll was just released, and Pitt was picked to finish fifth in the ACC Coastal Division in its inaugural season. Before I get to my thoughts, here are the poll results in full (first-place votes in parentheses)...
|1. Clemson (102)||1. Miami (65)|
|2. Florida State (18)||2. Virginia Tech (27)|
|3. NC State||3. North Carolina (22)|
|4. Wake Forest||4. Georgia Tech (6)|
|5. Maryland||5. Pitt|
|6. Syracuse||6. Virginia|
|7. Boston College||7. Duke|
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP VOTES
1. Clemson (95)
2. Florida State (15)
T3. Georgia Tech (3)
T3. Miami (3)
T3. North Carolina (3)
6. Virginia Tech (1)
ACC Player of the Year
1. Tajh Boyd, Clemson QB (105)
2. Duke Johnson, Miami RB (4)
T3. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech QB (3)
T3. Sammy Watkins, Clemson WR (3)
5. Bryn Renner, North Carolina QB (2)
T6. Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech DE (1)
T6. Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State CB (1)
T6. Stephen Morris, Miami QB (1)
All in all, no huge surprises here. Clemson is the league's flagship team this year, and its only real shot at making some major national waves. This year's Florida State/Clemson game is at Clemson, which probably gave the Tigers a slight leg up in their battle for first place with the Seminoles.
In the Coastal, I actually picked Virginia Tech to win the division. I think the Hokies are due for a bounce-back year with a much-improved Logan Thomas leading the way. Virginia Tech and Miami play at Miami this year, but Sun Life Stadium isn't exactly the toughest place in the world to go in and get a win, so I like Virginia Tech with Miami finishing second.
My prediction for Pitt fell right in line with the rest of the media, fifth in the ACC Coastal. I think the division is split into two tiers, with Miami, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Georgia Tech as teams that could legitimately contend for the division title, and the other three (Pitt, Virginia and Duke) a notch below. I think Pitt is the best of that second group, though, and with a couple of breaks or mayhem in the standings could creep up to fourth or third.
In the Atlantic Division, I like Syracuse a little bit more than my media counterparts, as I picked them to finish fourth, ahead of Wake Forest and Maryland. I think the Terrapins will be improved this year as well, assuming their quarterback position doesn't mimic the drummer in Spinal Tap the way it did last year. In reality, though, all those teams are just battling for third place behind Clemson and Florida State.