Prior to every collegiate season, the media and coaches get together and vote for their top players and how they think the conference will play out. The ACC was no different. But did they get it right?
If you follow this site, then you know the answer is NO.
Duke was picked to finish dead last in the Coastal Division after being bowl eligible in 2012 for the first time since 1994. The Blue Devils won the Coastal Division at 10-2, but unfortunately were battered by #1 Florida State last Saturday night in the ACC Championship. Still, they went from worst to first and the team has relished in the underdog role.
FSU, who is playing in the National Championship game against #2 Auburn on January 6th, was not picked to win the Atlantic Division. Clemson was, but the Tigers finished in second place at 7-1 in the conference (10-2 overall).
Miami was picked to win the Coastal, but lost three in a row (with the Duke loss in the middle) to finish tied for second place with two other teams at 5-3. The Hurricanes went 9-3 overall. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech were the other two 5-3 teams.
The ACC Championship was supposed to be Clemson beating Miami, but instead it was the Seminoles over the Blue Devils.
The top two teams were not the only place that the preseason standings went wrong. NC State was picked to finish third in the Atlantic, but the Wolfpack went winless in the conference (0-8 and 3-8 overall) and finished last.
Boston College was another success story, though not as good as Duke. The Eagles were picked to finish last in the Atlantic, but finished tied with Syracuse for third place at 4-4 (7-5 overall). BC is also headed to a bowl game. Speaking of the ‘Cuse, they were picked to finish ahead of BC, but like I said, went 4-4 for the first time in the ACC.
North Carolina was picked to finish third in the Coastal, but actually finished fifth at 4-4 (6-6 overall). It could have been worse, as the Tarheels started the season 1-5.
It was not just the standings that the media and coaches got wrong in the ACC. Just today, FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, who is a Heisman finalist, was named the ACC Player of the Year (along with Offensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Offensive ROY). Clemson QB Tajh Boyd was the ACC’s Preseason Player of the Year, but only finished on the second team in the end of season coaches list.
In terms of the All-ACC team, Duke only had two players on the preseason list. They were punter Will Monday and cornerback Ross Cockrell.
The Blue Devils had NINE players on the list at the end of the season (and one on the list twice). Jamison Crowder was voted onto the first team at two positions (wide receiver and specialist). Guard Laken Tomlinson joined him on the first team. On the second team are DE Kenny Anunike, Cockrell, linebacker Kelby Brown, and safety Jeremy Cash. On the third team are tight end Braxton Deaver, tackle Perry Simmons, and Monday.
De’Von Edwards received votes for Defensive ROY. Coach David Cutcliffe was voted by his fellow coaches as the ACC Coach of the Year.
It is always nice to prove those voters wrong.