ACC Football: Virginia Tech favored
By Aaron Beard
GREENSBORO ó Frank Beamer isn’t worried about the pressure of being picked to win the Atlantic Coast Conference again. The Virginia Tech coach has had plenty of practice dealing with high expectations.
The Hokies are the overwhelming preseason pick to win a third straight league championship, earning 69 of 87 votes from media members at the ACC Football Kickoff preseason event in results released Monday. Virginia Tech was picked to beat Florida State ó predicted to win the Atlantic Division ó in the title game.
The Hokies have claimed three league titles since joining the ACC in 2004, winning the past two championship games. They return 16 starters from their fifth straight 10-win team.
“I do like this football team,” Beamer said. “I tell them, ‘I don’t mind high expectations as long as you don’t forget what got those high expectations,’ and that’s a lot of togetherness and a lot of hard work and grinding.”
Virginia Tech earned 78 votes to win the Coastal Division, while Georgia Tech earned the other nine. North Carolina was picked third, followed by Miami, Virginia and Duke.
In the Atlantic, Florida State earned 56 votes, followed by Clemson (14), North Carolina State (10), Wake Forest (7), Maryland and Boston College.
“You can’t stay on top forever,” said Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, whose Seminoles won at least a share of the ACC title their first nine years in the league. “But it’s a cylinder. It’ll come back. I think now, we’re on the way back. We’ll get back up there.”
Georgia Tech’s Jonathan Dwyer was named the preseason player of the year, earning 39 votes to outdistance Clemson’s C.J. Spiller (28) and N.C. State’s Russell Wilson (16).