Editor’s note: This is a continuation of Art Ferrer’s “A History of Preseason ACC Picks“. So all credit goes to him.
Virginia Tech – The Hokies have been picked seven out of nine times to win the division. The two times they weren’t picked to win the division (2006 and 2013) they were picked to finish second. I would say that the voters should be creative, but Virginia Tech has not finished first in only three seasons. Two of those seasons they finished in second, and last year in fourth, which is their worst finish ever.
Also impressive is Virginia Techs ability to stay in the polls from beginning to end. From 2005-2012 they have been ranked in every preseason poll, and only once finished unranked. Yes, four of those times they did finish ranked worse, but it’s still an impressive feat. This year, Virginia Tech was picked to finish in second place, and the only other time that happened, it was correct. Given the media’s track record of correctly picking Virginia Techs spot in the polls, I’m inclined to believe this is where they will end up.
Miami – Remember when the ACC added Miami in hopes of boosting its football profile, but then the Canes only finished above third place once in their first four years? Well if you didn’t know that, then you do now. What does history suggest for the first place Canes? Might want to start preparing yourself, like Clemson, for a let down.
The only other time Miami was picked to win the division (2006), they ended up finishing in fourth. Between 2005-2012, Miami has been ranked in the preseason polls three times, every time top 15. Only, Miami hasn’t finished an ACC season ranked in the top 15, and only twice have they finished a season ranked. The Hurricanes have only exceed their preseason selection twice, in 2009 when they finished third instead of fourth and last season’s second place finish instead of the projected fifth place. If history is any indicator for how this season will go, don’t bet money on Miami winning the ACC Coastal division.
Georgia Tech – I’m sure some Yellow Jacket fans were upset with their fourth place selection. But if I were you, I wouldn’t put much stock in it. The media has not accurately predicted Georgia Tech’s finish once since the expansion (although they do a fair job of getting in the right ballpark). Georgia Tech has only exceed expectations by more than one spot twice: in 2006 they won after being picked third, and in 2008 finished second instead of fourth. Outside of those two years, Georgia Tech has finished one spot above or below their projected finish. The Jackets haven’t finished worse than fourth, so it’s a safe pick to pencil them at third place this year.
North Carolina – Would anyone notice if I copied and pasted the above paragraph here as well? The Tar Heels have only finished worse than fourth place once, and that was the only time the media accurately predicted their final finish (2006- fifth). The only time North Carolina won the Coastal division was last year, and they were picked to finish third. Can history repeat itself this year? For the third season in a row, the media placed the Tar Heels in third place, so there is a chance. However, in 2011 when the Heels were also picked third, they finished in fourth. Just like Georgia Tech, UNC has been tough to pick. It’s safe to think Georgia Tech and North Carolina flip flop spots this year and finished third and fourth respectively.
Virginia – You would think in a six-team division that has a consistent winner (Virginia Tech) and a consistent loser (Duke) that media would get everyone else correct most of the time. But that’s not the case, as Virginia continues a trend of only being accurately selected once (2008 – sixth). Four times Virginia has exceed their preseason ranking, but three times they have finished worse. Good news for Virginia fan:, you are picked to finish sixth this year, and Duke is still in your division. So where can Virginia fans expect to land? With the uncertainty of Syracuse in this experiment, fifth seems like a good pick. Every time that Virginia finished below their preseason selection, they follow it up by exceeding their prediction the next two years. Last year, the Cavs finished sixth after being picked fourth, so history would have them exceeding their sixth place prediction this year.
Duke – The Blue Devils are the last place version of Virginia Tech. They have been accurately selected to finish in last place five times. In 2010, the media made a bold move by picking them to finish in fifth, and the Blue Devils repaid the favor by coming in last. That was the only time so far that Duke wasn’t picked to come in last. They have finished in fifth place twice (2009 and 2012). But if history tells anything, it’s that Duke is a last place team. (For those wondering, I had a huge grin on my face typing that last sentence).
What to make of the Coastal Division? First place is up in the air, Duke is as safe of a bet as you can ask for to come in last, and Georgia Tech and UNC won’t finish fourth and third.
With the ever changing landscape of college football, history is the only thing we can truly depend on. I didn’t look at any rosters when doing this, I just looked at where a team was picked and where they finished, and also preseason and final AP rankings. Sure, preseason rankings and media selections aren’t anything to be taken serious, but if you’re a betting man: don’t bet any money on a Clemson vs Miami ACC Championship game.