If Georgia Tech can successfully bounce back from a 3-9 season in 2015, it will come to a surprise to most of the media members who voted in the preseason poll at last week’s ACC Football Kickoff.
The Yellow Jackets were picked to finish sixth in the Coastal Division, ahead of only Virginia. Georgia Tech received one first-place vote.
The poll had North Carolina as a resounding choice to defend its title in the Coastal. The Tar Heels received 121 first-place votes. The remainder of the voting in the division had Miami in second place, with 50 first-place votes, followed by Pittsburg (14), Virginia Tech (three), Duke (two), Georgia Tech and Virginia.
“We finished our eighth season at Georgia Tech as a coaching staff, and in seven years we finished first or second in the Coastal Division,” Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson said. “We had the opportunity to play in three ACC championship games and a couple of Orange Bowls. That’s the standard we’re looking to get back to.”
Georgia Tech opens the season Sept. 3 against Boston College in Dublin, Ireland.
Defending ACC champion Clemson emerged as an overwhelming pick in the Atlantic Division. The Tigers received 148 of the 191 first-place votes. Florida State, which received 42 first-place votes, was picked to finish second, followed by Louisville, which received the other first-place ballot.
The remainder of voting in the Atlantic Division was North Carolina State, Boston College, Syracuse and Wake Forest.
The voters chose Clemson to win the ACC championship game.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was also the overwhelming choice to repeat as ACC Player of the Year. Watson, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, received 164 votes, followed by Florida State running back Davlin Cook (18), North Carolina running back Elijah Hood (four), Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya (two), Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (two) and Duke cornerback DeVon Edwards (one).
The preseason All-ACC team will be released Tuesday.