GREENSBORO, N.C. — Pitt was picked to finish sixth in the ACC's Coastal Division by the league media at the ACC Football Kickoff Monday.
The Panthers finished sixth in the division last year with a 3-5 conference record.
Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Georgia Tech were all picked to finish ahead of the Panthers, with Virginia bringing up the rear.
Six of the seven Coastal teams received at least one first-place vote (Virginia was the only team that did not). Pitt received two first-place votes.
Despite receiving the most first-place votes in the Coastal (33), the defending division champion Blue Devils finished 17 points behind Miami.
Defending national champion Florida State was picked to win the league by 104 of the 112 voters. The Seminoles also received 109 first-place votes to win the Atlantic Division.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston also ran away with the league's preseason player of the year voting, taking 99 of 112 votes.
ACC PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
Florida State - 104
Clemson - 2
Virginia Tech - 2
Atlantic Division (first-place votes in parentheses)
Florida State (109) - 670
Clemson (3) - 660
Louisville - 564
Syracuse - 368
North Carolina State - 326
Boston College - 301
Wake Forest - 136
Coastal Division (first-place votes in parentheses)
Miami (26) - 614
Duke (33) - 597
Virginia Tech (23) - 571
North Carolina (27) - 570
Georgia Tech (1) - 322
Pitt (2) - 319
Virginia - 142
ACC Player of the Year
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State - 99
Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson - 6
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami - 1
Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke - 1
Brenden Motley, QB, Virginia Tech - 1
For the record, here's my ballot, with a few thoughts:
Champion: Florida State
Player of the Year: Jameis Winston
For me, picking the champion and player of the year was pretty easy. When you have a defending national champion and Heisman Trophy winner coming back in the conference, those guys get the votes. Similarly, in the Atlantic, I think there's a pretty clear-cut top three, and then a drop off after that. I think Clemson should keep things rolling with Chad Morris calling the offense, and the Tigers return probably the best defensive player in the conference in Vic Beasley. Losing Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins will hurt, but I think Clemson should still be good enough to finish second to Florida State (though I wouldn't be surprised to see Louisville challenge for that spot). Beyond that, I think Boston College is going to take a step forward under Steve Addazio, and move up to the top of that second tier.
Moving into the Coastal, it really is a crapshoot. I went with the Tar Heels mostly because I like Marquise Williams at quarterback and that team came on so well at the end of last year, I like the momentum they have heading into 2014. More than anything, though, every team has major questions. Miami, which was picked to win the division, doesn't have a solid quarterback situation and its best player (running back Duke Johnson) is coming off major leg surgery. If things come together for them, the Hurricanes could certainly be a major player in the ACC, but that's a pretty big "if." There's a legitimate question if Duke can repeat what it did last year, especially without quarterback Brandon Connette, who only played a part-time role but was lethal in the red zone for he Blue Devils.
Honestly, if I could I would have just picked North Carolina, Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech, Pitt and Georgia Tech to finish in a tie for first, because any of those six teams could realistically win the division. It'll most likely come down to some tiebreakers and, even though I picked Pitt fifth, I wouldn't be surprised to see them finish higher than that.