Preseason prediction: Clemson favored to continue ACC Football title race

Tigers top media polls again; North Carolina favored in Coastal Division

GREENSBORO, NC ( –Clemson is an overwhelming preseason favorite to win its seventh straight Atlantic Coast Conference football title, according to a preseason poll of 147 media voters.

The Tigers, who went 10-2 last season while earning a playoff berth for the sixth straight year, were also picked as likely Atlantic Division winners. North Carolina was chosen to finish atop the Coastal Division after an eight-win 2020 season that culminated in the program’s first-ever finish in the Orange Bowl.

Clemson was named the likely 2021 ACC champion out of 125 ballots. North Carolina garnered 16 votes, followed by Miami with three and Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia with one each.

In Atlantic Division preseason voting, Clemson led the way with 146 first-place votes and 1,028 points overall. NC State, which was likely the second runner-up, won the remaining vote for first place while racking up 804 points.

Boston College (638 points) was picked for third place in the Atlantic Division, followed by Florida State (510), Wake Forest (472), Louisville (462) and Syracuse (202).

In the Coastal Division predictions, North Carolina received 109 votes for first place and amassed 979 points overall. Miami (28 first-place votes) was next with 881 points, followed by Virginia Tech (three first-place votes, 582 points) and Pitt (one first-place vote, 576 points).

Virginia (two first-place votes, 540 points), Georgia Tech (four first-place votes, 340 points), and Duke (218 points) closed the voting.

Clemson was selected as the likely ACC champion in the media’s preseason poll for the fourth consecutive season and the seventh time in the past nine years.

North Carolina was projected as the preseason Coastal Division champion for the second time and the first time since 2016. The Tar Heels’ only Coastal Division championship came in 2015. Each of the seven teams in the coast won the division from 2013 to 2019. Due to the 2020 Pandemic, the ACC played with a non-divisional format last season.

The Atlantic and Coastal Division winners will meet in the 2021 ACC Soccer Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 4 at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

ACC Pre-Season Poll

(147 votes in total)

Overall Champion
North Carolina – 16
Miami – 3
Virginia – 1
Georgia Tech – 1
NC status – 1

Atlantic Division

(Votes for first place in parentheses)
Clemson – 1,028 (146)
NC Status – 804 (1)
Boston College – 638
State of Florida – 510
Wake Forest – 472
Syracuse – 202

Coastal Division

(Votes for first place in parentheses)
North Carolina – 979 (109)
Miami – 881 (28)
Virginia Tech – 582 (3)
Pitt – 576 (1)
Virginia – 540 (2)
Georgia Tech – 340 (4)
Duke – 218


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