GREENSBORO, N.C. — A quick take on the 2014 football preseason media predictions as voted by members of ACSMA (Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association) on the second and final day of the annual July football kickoff event at the Grandover Resort:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse was picked fourth in the Atlantic Division behind defending national champion Florida State, Orange Bowl winner Clemson, and ACC newcomer and longtime Orange foe Louisville. The Orange finished ahead of N.C. State, B.C. and Wake Forest in that order. Miami was picked to win the Coastal Division, with FSU expected to win the league title on Dec. 6 in Charlotte and likely move on to the College Football Playoff semifinals on New Year’s Day. In no surprise, Florida State QB Jameis Winston was named preseason player of the year.
ANALYSIS: It’s certainly not a shock that despite a self-proclamation of an eight win season in ’14, second year coach Scott Shafer has to face the reality that the North Carolina and Virginia-centric ASCMA voters are going to have a southern slant, and FSU and Clemson are at a different level of performance than the majority of their ACC brethren. The Oct. 3 Friday night Dome game against rival Louisville should be huge, albeit it’s sandwiched around games against two other pretty big name programs, Notre Dame and Florida State.
HERO: The three voters who picked Clemson to topple defending national champion FSU as Atlantic Division champs. Otherwise, the ‘Noles received 109 first place votes in a near sweep
ZERO: The media who selected Virginia Tech as the third choice to win the overall ACC title behind Florida State and Clemson, even though Miami was the choice to win the Coastal Division followed by Duke, then VT.
WHAT’S NEXT: The start of preseason practice on Aug. 2, including what’s now turning out to be an annual trip up to Fort Drum during the month, providing several days of bonding with the personnel stationed at the military base. The season opener versus FCS member Villanova is Friday, Aug. 29. Game Time: 7:30 p.m. ET / TV: ESPN3.