Clemson selected 2016 ACC football preseason favorite

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Clemson Tigers were chosen the preseason favorite to repeat as Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) football champion, according to a poll of  191 media members in attendance at last week’s 2016 ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte.

The Tigers, who posted a 14-1 overall record last season and reached the College Football Playoff national title game, were also picked to again capture the Atlantic Division, while the North Carolina Tar Heels are favored to repeat as the Coastal Division winner.

Both teams won their respective divisions with clean 8-0 records in 2015 conference play and met in the ACC Championship Game, one which Clemson claimed with a 45-37 decision over UNC.

Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson was the overwhelming choice to repeat as ACC Player of the Year after his record-setting 2015 campaign.

Watson led the preseason ACC Player of the Year balloting with 164 votes, followed by Florida State running back Dalvin Cook with 18.

North Carolina running back Elijah Hood received four votes, while Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson picked up two votes apiece, with Duke cornerback/return specialist DeVon Edwards garnering one vote.

The Tigers were picked the likely 2016 ACC champions on 144 ballots, followed by Florida State with 39 votes, and North Carolina with seven, with one voter choosing Louisville.

In the Atlantic Division preseason voting, Clemson received 148 first-place votes and finished with 1,293 total points.

Florida State received 42 first-place votes and placed second with 1,176 points while Louisville had one first-place vote and was third in the voting with 961 points.

N.C. State (704 total points) was tabbed for a fourth-place Atlantic Division finish, followed by Boston College (441), Syracuse (426), and Wake Forest (347).

North Carolina was selected the likely Coastal winner by 121 voters and finished with 1,238 total points, followed by Miami with 50 first-place votes and 1,108 points.

Pitt received 14 first-place votes and was third in the balloting with 859 points.

Virginia Tech (three first-place votes) placed fourth with 697 points, followed by Duke (597), Georgia Tech (588), and Virginia (261).

Two voters chose Duke to claim the Coastal Division, while one chose Georgia Tech.

The 2016 ACC Dr Pepper Football Championship Game is scheduled to be played on Dec. 3 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

ACC Championship Votes

1 Clemson – 144

2 Florida State – 39

3 North Carolina – 7

4 Louisville – 1

Atlantic Division

(First place votes)

1 Clemson (148) – 1,293

2 Florida State (42) – 1,176

3 Louisville (1) – 961

4 N.C. State – 704

5 Boston College – 441

6 Syracuse – 426

7 Wake Forest – 347

Coastal Division

(First place votes)

1 North Carolina (121) – 1,238

2 Miami (50) – 1,108

3 Pitt (14) – 859

4 Virginia Tech (3) – 697

5 Duke (2) – 597

6 Georgia Tech (1) -588

7 Virginia -261

ACC Player of the Year

1 Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson – 164

2 Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State – 18

3 Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina – 4

T4 Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami – 2

T4 Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville – 2

5 DeVon Edwards, CB/KR, Duke – 1