Coming off a national title, Clemson is not the favorite to win its own conference.
The ACC released its preseason poll Monday morning and the conference’s media picked Florida State to finish ahead of the Tigers in 2017. FSU received 118 of the 167 championship votes, with Clemson coming in second with 35 and a third Atlantic Division member, Louisville, third with seven championship votes. Other teams to receive championship votes were Virginia Tech and Miami with three apiece, and Duke with one (yes, really).
Clemson has to replace a ton of production on offense, giving Florida State a chance to return to the top of the league after finishing behind the Tigers in consecutive seasons. In the Atlantic, Florida State, coming off an Orange Bowl win over Michigan, received 121 first-place votes, far ahead of Clemson’s 37.
Finishing behind FSU and Clemson in the Atlantic was Louisville, which received nine first-place votes. NC State, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Boston College rounded out the division.
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In its second season under Mark Richt, Miami was chosen to win the Coastal Division and play Florida State in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Charlotte. The Hurricanes received 103 first-place votes. The 2016 Coastal winner, Virginia Tech, was picked second with 40 first-place votes. Georgia Tech (9), Pittsburgh (7), North Carolina (4) and Duke (4) also received votes to win the division. Rounding out the Coastal standings was Virginia, the only school not to receive a first-place vote.
Unsurprisingly, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, topped the ballot for preseason ACC Player of the Year. Jackson, who threw for 3,543 yards, rushed for 1,571 yards and combined for 51 touchdowns in 2016, received 113 votes to win the award. Another quarterback, Florida State’s Deondre Francois, was second with 23 votes.
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The rest of the voting was rounded out by Clemson defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (11 votes), Boston College defensive end Harold Landry (8), NC State tight end Jaylen Samuels (7), Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey (2), Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman (1), Miami receiver Ahmmon Richards (1) and Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (1).
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