If you’re Georgia Tech, the good news is that nobody knows how the ACC Coastal Division will play out. The less-good news is that you, Georgia Tech, were just picked to finish fifth in it.
And a pretty distant fifth at that. In voting by the assembled ACC media at the league’s press convocation in Greensboro, the Yellow Jackets finished three points ahead of Pittsburgh, which was sixth, and 148 points behind North Carolina, which was fourth. Tech drew the sixth-fewest first-place votes (one) in the seven-team division; even Pitt, for some unknown reason, commanded two first-place votes.
This marks twice in a week that I’ve been surprised by a round of media balloting, and I like to think I have an idea as to how the media will vote. (Seeing as how I am, you know, part of the media. Though the AJC doesn’t its writers to vote on polls and all-conference teams and suchlike.) I didn’t expect Georgia to finish behind South Carolina in the voting done at SEC Media Days, and I really didn’t think Miami would be tabbed atop the ACC Coastal.
I don’t think Miami’s going to be very good. It lost four of its final six games last season, with all four losses coming by at least 18 points. It will have a new quarterback. Its defense was awful. (The Hurricanes ranked 89th nationally in yards against.) I might have put Miami fifth in the Coastal.
The team I’d have voted first — North Carolina, albeit with many reservations — finished fourth in the voting, though it said much that the Tar Heels drew one more first-place vote than Miami. Duke, which finished second in the balloting after improbably finishing first in the division last season, drew the most first-place votes.
In the grand scheme, this means nothing. As esteemed colleague Ken Sugiura noted, Tech almost always betters its preseason ranking. And in a division where there’s no real favorite — four different teams drew more than 23 first-place votes — it would be no great shock if the Jackets wound up in the thick of things.
For the record, I believe Tech will go 7-5. But I also believe that the Coastal winner, assuming there is one, won’t do better than 8-4.