Every Friday, our staff at The Comeback will share our conference predictions for the 2017 season. This week, we go on the record with our picks for the ACC, which is a conference full of intriguing storylines to follow.
ACC Atlantic Division
- Florida State (6 first-place votes)
- NC State
- Wake Forest
- Boston College
It’s unanimous. Florida State is our staff’s top pick for the ACC Atlantic Division, sweeping the first-place votes to stay ahead of defending ACC and national champion Clemson. Louisville was a popular pick for third in the division, although NC State came in third place on two of our ballots.
ACC Coastal Division
- Virginia Tech (4)
- Miami (2)
- Georgia Tech
- North Carolina
Our staff collectively has a good feeling that Justin Fuente will get the Hokies back to the ACC Championship game for a second straight year, but watch out for the Hurricanes. Miami received one first-place vote and was listed in second place in every other ballot. Virginia was at the bottom of every one of our ballots for a unanimous last-place pick in the entire conference.
ACC Championship Game
Everybody on our staff has Florida State winning the ACC championship, with all but one having the Seminoles topping Virginia Tech. That should easily keep Florida State in the College Football Playoff picture if the rest of the season goes according to plan (even with a possible loss to Alabama on the record).
- Kevin M: Florida State over Virginia Tech
- Phil: Florida State over Virginia Tech
- Yesh: Florida State over Virginia Tech
- Andy: Florida State over Virginia Tech
- Matt: Florida State over Miami
Coach of the Year
Well, this is a tad interesting. While Florida State is our staff favorite to win the conference, it is Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente coming out just ahead of Jimbo Fisher for the coach of the year honors in the ACC, according to our staff.
- Jimbo Fisher, Florida State (2)
- Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech (3)
Offensive Player of the Year
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner was a fairly obvious favorite for offensive player of the year, but he couldn’t avoid tying Florida State’s Deondre Francois for our preseason pick. This is our first co-offensive player of the year pick.
- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (3)
- Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State (3)
Defensive Player of the Year
The staff at The Comeback had some differing opinions on the defensive player of the year. Two players from Clemson received a vote, and Boston College linebacker Harold Landry was the lone player to get multiple votes. Shockingly, our staff largely looked past Florida State safety Derwin James, as the player receiving some preseason hype as one of the nation’s top defensive players received just two votes in this category.
- Harold Landry, DE, Boston College (2)
- Derwin James, S, Florida State (2)
- Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson (1)
- Kendall Joseph, LB, Clemson (1)
Phil: Okay, we’re going real bold here. After another sub-par season in South Bend, Brian Kelly will be let go as the head coach of the Irish. Tired of being irrelevant for Notre Dame standards, the administration will go deep into the wallet and lure Jimbo Fisher to the Midwest to try and restore the Golden Domers’ past glory.
Yesh: The Coastal will win more cross-divisional games than the Atlantic.
Matt: Neither FSU or Miami make the conference championship game. Despite me predicting the first ever FSU/Miami ACC title game, there’s still a good chance that these presumptive favorites both don’t make it. FSU has two brutal road games in November, and Miami isn’t head and shoulders better than VT or even Georgia Tech and Pitt in the Coastal. A Clemson-Virginia Tech is not out of the cards, or even something more outlandish than that isn’t beyond the realm of possibility too.
Terry: Florida State beats Alabama in the season opener.
Kevin M: Florida State beats Alabama. Twice?