Clemson Leads ACC Football Preseason Poll

Miami selected to repeat in Coastal Division.

GREENSBORO, N.C. ( – Three-time defending champion Clemson is the preseason favorite to claim another Atlantic Coast Conference football championship, according to a poll of 148 media members who attended last week's 2018 ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Tigers, who posted a 12-2 overall record en route to earning a College Football Playoff berth for the third consecutive year in 2017, were also picked to repeat as Atlantic Division winners. Miami was picked to finish atop the Coastal Division for the second consecutive year.

Clemson was named the likely 2018 ACC champion on 139 ballots, with Miami a distant second with five votes. NC State received two votes, and Florida State and Virginia Tech each had one.

In the Atlantic Division preseason voting, Clemson led the way with 145 first-place votes and 1,031 total points. Florida State followed with 789 points, while NC State had 712.

Boston College (545 total points) was tabbed for a fourth-place Atlantic Division finish, followed by Louisville (422), Wake Forest (413) and Syracuse (232).

Miami was selected the likely Coastal Division winner by 122 voters and amassed 998 total points. Virginia Tech followed with 16 first-place votes and 838 points. Georgia Tech placed third with eight first-place votes and 654 points. Duke totaled 607 points, followed by Pitt at 420, North Carolina at 370 and Virginia at 257.

The Atlantic and Coastal Division winners will meet in the 2018 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 1, at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium. If this year's media predictions prove correct, it will be a rematch of last year's 2017 title game, in which the then-defending national champion Tigers posted a 38-3 win over the Hurricanes en route to securing the CFP berth.

ACC Championship Votes

  1. Clemson – 139
  2. Miami – 5
  3. NC State – 2
  4. Florida State – 1, Virginia Tech – 1

Atlantic Division

(First place votes in parenthesis

  1. Clemson (145) – 1,031
  2. Florida State (1) – 789
  3. NC State (2) – 712
  4. Boston College – 545
  5. Louisville – 422
  6. Wake Forest – 413
  7. Syracuse – 232

Coastal Division

(First place votes in parenthesis)

  1. Miami (122) – 998
  2. Virginia Tech (16) – 838
  3. Georgia Tech (8) – 654
  4. Duke (1) – 607
  5. Pitt – 420
  6. North Carolina (1) – 370
  7. Virginia – 257


One vote, One Believer.

Did the fifth fuller get a vote?

1-0 every week

Shoutout to UNC's sole Coastal winner vote.

The Atlantic is going to be such a logjam if Clemson slips up twice.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

At least we aren't UVA.

I say that on a near-daily basis. Imagine having lost to #16 UMBC while being the #1 overall seed in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.


If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Does TKP get a vote in this poll? 148 media outlets/reps is quite the crowd.

Had TKP had a reporter in attendance, (s)he would have had an opportunity to vote.

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"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Reporter attendance anagrams to "attractor needer pen". Also "attn procreated rene".

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Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

How the heck does nc state keep getting preseason hype. Do people not learn from previous years?

Like last year? NC State has the best QB in the league.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Right but can finley single handedly win the Atlantic away from Clemson and then be expected to beat the coastal contender with nc states track record of being good but not good enough, I guess I should just say good team but I was surprised by two votes of confidence to win the ACC.

I find their two votes more reasonable than our one vote. NC State can handle every team in that division except Clemson.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Which is another example of how completely mediocre the ACC is and how Clemson has a damn near free pass to the playoffs at the moment.

I have to disagree with this, and call "HOT TAKE!".

There is some degree of mediocrity in the league, maybe... compared to the SEC. MAYBE.

Florida State had a bad 2017 because of the Jimbo Fisher trashcan fire. I believe his players quit on him, and Taggart could have them winning fast, as the cupboard is full. Miami is good. VT is good. NC State is good, and BC might actually be good this year if the QB can get his head right. Wake Bleeping Forest won 8 games last year.

If you could stack the ACC against the other P5 conferences in a Big Challenge format, I believe the ACC comes out pretty good. HItting the "completely mediocre" button is a little overzealous, especially with respect to how the other conferences are stacked up.

Leonard. Duh.

I don't feel this way at all. I can dig through my old posts to find all the numbers I've found on it, but recruiting outside the top of the ACC is damn near abysmal. Too many ACC teams have fanbases that don't particularly care about and certainly don't fund football appropriately, several are unapologetically basketball schools. Small donations, small stadiums, there are HUGE differences between the B1G and the SEC in these regards. The SEC has had 3-4 SEC teams (and not always the same ones outside Alabama) in the top 10 recruiting rankings and usually 5-6 in the top 15 for the last 5 years. It's really not even discussion when it comes to overall talent in the conferences.

A simpler exercise to consider: Every other CFP hopeful team would switch places with Clemson in a heartbeat. Every single one of them. Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Oklahoma, etc. every single one of them would trip over their feet trying to rush and take a swap deal with Clemson into the Atlantic. It's easily the closest thing to a free pass into the playoff. You get your mulligan against a bad team (Cuse or Pitt, in Clemson's case) and you have to beat maybe one other team with even similar talent to make the playoff.

Yeah, and carry your exercise out to the end, and Clemson would also own most of those other conferences they would be traded to. The exception probably being the SEC.

My point was not to argue that there is minimal talent drop after Clemson in the ACC, but rather to point out that there is similar talent drop in the other P5 conferences.

Leonard. Duh.

Your first point, while I don't think would have been the case in the B1G last season (I would agree for 2016) doesn't actually disprove my point at all. Clemson is good, not the ACC. The point is that Clemson has the easy path and all of those teams would prefer Clemson's path through the Atlantic and ACC to their own. Doesn't matter if Clemson would win the Pac12, that just proves Clemson is good, not the ACC.

I think statistically, I'm just being realistic about where the ACC is in the big picture. We have a lot of teams who don't put the money and the commitment to football, they don't put butts in seats, and certainly don't front the checkbooks. It is a pretty big difference between the ACC to the B1G and SEC in this regard. I think that the ACC has a tendency to have years where through good young coaches (often using the ACC as jumping off points to bigger jobs) make waves for a few seasons and will overperform given their talent levels, like a BC or a Wake Forest, but they can't do it consistently, and they can't realistically challenge Clemson with any regularity. Hell even Miami hasn't put together a decent season until just now and they couldn't have looked less convincing during the process.

I really don't think we disagree too much... I just think that your use of "completely mediocre" implies that the ACC talent disparity outside of Clemson is not in line with other P5 conferences. My only point is the ACC's mediocre is not much worse than anybody else's mediocre.

Leonard. Duh.

ACC had second most draft picks. ACC talent is fine.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

You are correct that the ACC had a lot of draft picks last year. That doesn't mean that talent is distributed throughout the conference, and it doesn't mean that other teams are fielding comparable talent to Clemson, who has future potential draft picks all throughout their two deep and sometimes much deeper than that. VT and NC State had good drafts last season for example, doesn't mean we fielded teams of similar talent level when we played Clemson last season.

They weren't all Clemson. I think you are confusing clemson's superiority for the conference's mediocrity.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

makes one wonder about #VT4SEC dunnit

not trying to kick a hornet's nest here, I don't know enough to say whether we'd be better off there than here. I just know enough to wonder.

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

When Slive was the SEC President he really wanted to make it happen for that Mid-Atlantic market. I have no doubts it would have boosted our recruiting. However, it's less clear how things would have played out on the field for us. That said, I would have taken that deal in a heartbeat if it was officially offered, especially if they slotted us into the East.

Would be fun AF to play Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and USCe every year.

Recruit Prosim

ACC is easily the second best conference in the country. There's no point in arguing against SEC, the amount of money and fan support is going to make any comparison moot. But the ACC has the deepest middle class of any conference. The closest thing we have to a doormat is UVA, and they went to a bowl last year. Our top tier is on par with Big 10 and better than the Big/PAC12, while our middle class is larger than any of those conferences. And no one in the ACC even approaches the levels of stank that Oregon State, Kansas, Rutgers, Illinois.The recruiting drop-off is steep after the "big dogs", but that's a fact of college football, not just the ACC.

Clemson got a free pass last year because of a down Florida State, but the ACC Atlantic is one of only 2 divisions in the country (SEC West) that will have no free wins this year.

[edited for harshness] I don't think there is much rationale to back up that belief, I would posit that the ACC Atlantic is a joke. It will be an embarrassment if Clemson loses to any of those teams, unless FSU turns their shit around big time. Enormous talent gap between Clemson and every other team except FSU, and Clemson has a coaching/mentality advantage over them to top it.

Also saying the ACC is better than the B1G is absurd. Penn State and Ohio State are two elite playoff caliber teams, Michigan recruits in the top 10, so that's already three teams who recruit at an elite level, the ACC has two that do that at all, and they don't do it every year. Then we have Wisconsin, who went undefeated in the regular season and beat Miami, the 2nd best ACC team last year. Plus teams like Michigan State have been to the playoff before. The B1G is easily superior. Who do we put up against them NC State? Louisville? Us? Their middle against our middle? Iowa beat BC in a bowl game.

Even the Big12, you think we had three teams in the ACC better than Oklahoma, Okie State, and TCU? Clemson and who else?

Also UVA got their ass beat by a mid-major. Two of our ACC bowl wins came against mid-majors, we lost to a mid major, and then got beat by almost every P5 opponent the ACC faced. Bowls aren't the be-all end-all of conference comparisons but "easily the 2nd best conference" shouldn't be posting bowl records like that, especially with relatively equal to even favorable bowl matchups for the most part.

I take Miami and us over OK State and TCU.

Recruit Prosim

Good point!

I'm sure most of this hype is because of Findley, but their defense may be even more patch-worked together than ours this season.

How much do we bet the UNC writer voted for UNC?

Lotta strange bullshit coming out of Chapel Hill recently.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

UNC voter mistakenly turned in his ballot for the "Weirdest Coach Press Conference" vote.

Leonard. Duh.

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Clemson has the most votes? Shocking.....

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

The funny thing is, considering we get Miami late in the season in November at home, likely will be cold, and our young guys will have had almost a full season to gel, I honestly think we are going to give the Canes an old fashioned stomping. Just not that impressed with Miami. Problem is I can see us dropping a few games earlier in the year due to youth that will give Miami the Coastal crown by default. Although if we lose to GT a third year in a row I think I will lose my mind.

If there was ever a year for us to surprise everyone and overachieve, this would be it. We could really use a strong season, perception-wise. Unfortunately there are too many question marks for me to feel confident that we can reclaim the Coastal this year. Who knows though - we had a young team and weren't expected to do much in 2004, but that season really boosted perception and proved we belonged in the ACC.

Last year would have been a great opportunity as well, same as the year before that. As long as the ACC stays the mediocre jumble that it likely will stay, all we have to do is have one really good year and beat Clemson in the CG to make the playoffs. We're in a good spot but we gotta take another step.

Yep, totally agree. At some point, we've gotta quit shooting ourselves in the foot and break through if we want to get to the next level. We need a team to perform above expectations, prove people wrong, and make a statement. We can't get in a cycle of always building for the next year. People need to step up.

Agreed, the 2016 team wasn't good enough to win a playoff game, but if we had beaten GT and Cuse (which we should have), that Clemson game that we lost by a touchdown with us driving into their redzone at the end of the game would have been a playoff deciding game.

Now, the issue is that we are still the kind of team that drops those absolutely wtf games like Cuse and GT, but the point is that we had a legitimate shot in 2016, and as long as the ACC stays the way it is, we will have a good shot at sneaking into a playoff if we can put together a 11-1 season and win the ACCCG one of these years.

as long as the ACC stays the way it is, we will have a good shot at sneaking into a playoff if we can put together a 11-1 season and win the ACCCG one of these years.

You could substitute any P5 conference in this sentence, and then substitute any team from that conference and say the same thing. Again, you're arguing that the ACC is mediocre top to bottom with the exception of Clemson, and the truth is the ACC isn't any weaker than any other conference right now, with the exception of the SEC.

Case in point - Washington Huskies 2016. Do you believe the PAC12 is less mediocre right now than the ACC? I'd say more, myself.

If the Hokies go 11-1 and win the ACCCG against a similarly successful Clemson, that wouldn't be sneaking into the playoffs. They'd have earned it.

Leonard. Duh.

I'd say between Washington and USC they have had two better teams than the ACC has shown the last two years. Clemson and who else has been good two years in a row?

B1G, both Ohio State and Penn State have not made the playoffs because they had to play each other the last two years. Plus Michigan recruits better than all but one or two teams in the ACC depending on the year. Wisky also, beat Miami which was supposed to be our 2nd best team? maybe? they also almost lost like 6 of their games. Miami was luckier than they were good.

Plus, sneaking in was moreso given our name power, not that we don't deserve it, I wouldn't get hung up on that part. If we went 11-1 and won the ACC I think the majority opinion would be that we deserve it barring an extremely weak OOC or something.

if we lose to GT a third year in a row I think I will lose my mind

You ain't kidding!

we had a young team and weren't expected to do much in 2004

The comparison to 2004 is interesting. At least on offense, there are a lot of similarities. BR3 was steady as a senior QB, but JJ has earned Fuente's trust in terms of not making bad decisions with the ball, so I think there's not a huge difference there. The '04 team had more proven options at RB, but based on talent McClease and Holston could prove to be just as good. At WR, I have to give the advantage to the '04 squad since they went on to become one of the better groups to ever play at VT. But, they were all young then and the current crop could certainly follow a similar trajectory. Obviously Jeff King was a stud, but the combination of Keene and Cunningham is exciting, too. The '04 OL was more experienced if not necessarily better, although at OL that experience tends to count for a lot.

Unfortunately, that's where the similarities end. The '04 defense was stacked with playmakers young & old. We had an outstanding front seven and a solid if not spectacular secondary. IIRC they ended the season ranked something like #4 in total defense? It's hard to pick out more than 2-3 guys on this year's roster who would have seen significant PT in '04, and they're pretty much all on the DL. We obviously don't know who is going to step up this year, but IMO it's a reach to imagine this as even a top-25 defense, let alone a top-5. That could easily cost us games against the likes of GT or Pitt, and even Miami & FSU. I think the '04 team would have a decent shot at going 3-1 or even 4-0 against those teams this year given when we play them, whereas this year's team is more likely to go 1-3.

In the end, it was the upperclass leadership on the '04 team (Randall, Davis, Tapp, Fuller, etc) that helped them overcome some early stumbles and win the conference. This year's team just doesn't have that, which is why I think we're a 7-5/8-4 type team.

"Those who jump into the void owe no explanation to those who stand and watch."

Unfortunately, I think this team might be closer to the '97 team that went 7-5. That team only returned 8-9 starters from the year before but had a ton of young talent- Nick Sorenson (as a QB!), Cory Bird, John Engelberger, Corey Moore, Michael Hawkes, Ike Charlton, Anthony Midget, Andre Kendrick, Jamel Smith, Shayne Graham, Jimmy Kibble, Carl Bradley, and Nat Williams were all Freshman/Sophomores on that team that saw playing time and were later major parts of the '99 team.

UVA received more points than Syracuse. Does that mean Syracuse is worse than UVA?

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Dungey will drag Syracuse to a bowl game kicking and screaming.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Dungey is still there? I feel like he's been their QB for like 7 years

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

Look at Syracuse's "competition" for the bottom. Wake won 8 games last year, and aren't likely to regress all the way to last place. While Louisville is no longer a contender with Lamar gone, there's no way a Bobby Petrino-coached team is going to reside in the cellar. Boston College seems to have finally found a halfway-decent offense to pair with their near-elite defense. And NC State, FSU, and Clemson are clearly head-and-shoulders above the rest of the bunch.

UVA, at least, could steal a game or two and catch any of the 3 teams directly above them in a bad season. I mean, hell, last year they went 3-5, a whole 2 games better than UNC.

Yes, IMO. Syracuse's fluke wins over VT and Clemson should not cloud the fact that they are soft and horrendous on defense. If not for their pinball machine stadium ,they would struggle to win any ACC games. They are terrible.

Syracuse's fluke wins over VT

There's nothing fluky about how badly they handed our team their collective butts. Syracuse's coaches know how to exploit our weaknesses in ways that other teams simply don't.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

It wasn't fluky because of their offense, it was fluky because of how much our offense underperformed relative to their defensive prowess, much like many former VT teams. Cuse offense (Babers is an Art Briles disciple) can pick apart many great defenses, but if our offense had answered the bell before the end of the 3rd quarter the game likely plays out differently.

Just makes me want to beat Miami.

Well crap, looks like Miami's bak. Call off the season.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

I'll feel a lot better about that comment when Virginia Tech beats them.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

I agree that Miami is better than VT right now, but GT was medicore at best last year and lost all of their good OL and defensive players. I guess the option is worth 3 ACC wins alone, but I think they are overrated at 3 in the coastal.

Really depends. I mean they have their returning quarterback and he can sling the ball effectively when necessary.

/s orta

Sarcasm aside... missing a bowl and losing to -most- of the decent teams they played last year wasn't very effective overall. They were just not a good football team. They lost to Duke and Uva. Perhaps losing key players is a good thing for them? who knows.

I'm just messing with you, I agree with everything your post said.

With the amount of inexperience on this team, I'd be thrilled with a 2nd place coastal finish.

I feel like the defense will be similar to Miami's in 2016 in that it's young and going to take some lumps but there is a lot of young talent that is going to be dangerous in 2019/2020.

It's Time to go to Work