TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State shares a division with both the defending national champion (Clemson) and the home of last year's Heisman Trophy winner (Louisville, Lamar Jackson), but the Seminoles are still the favorite to top the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The media gathered at last week's ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte overwhelmingly picked the Seminoles to win the ACC championship, the league announced Monday morning.
Florida State received 118 of a possible 167 votes to win the ACC, as well as 121 first-place votes in the Atlantic Division.
If the media is correct, the Seminoles will meet rival Miami at the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte on Dec. 2. The Hurricanes garnered 103 first-place votes in the Coastal Division. FSU and Miami will meet in the regular season on Sept. 16, but the two have yet to meet in the conference title game since the league moved to a two-division format in 2005.
Two meetings between the Seminoles and Hurricanes could potentially bring historical significance: Miami leads the all-time series with FSU, 31-30, meaning that the Seminoles could take the lead for the first time ever with two victories.
The Seminoles, who are coming off a 10-3 season and victory over Michigan in the 2016 Orange Bowl, are also considered among the favorites for the College Football Playoff. Their 15 ACC titles since 1992 are second only to Clemson's 16, although they're looking for their first league crown since 2014.
The Tigers, picked to finish second in the Atlantic, are chasing their third consecutive ACC title. FSU won three straight from 2012-14.
“Right now, Clemson is at the top,” FSU safety Derwin James said last week. “We're chasing them. We're trying to get back to the top.”
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois finished second in preseason Player of the Year voting, behind only Louisville's Jackson.
Here's the full release from the ACC:
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Florida State is the preseason favorite to claim the Atlantic Coast Conference football championship, according to a poll of 167 media members held in conjunction with last week's 2017 ACC Football Kickoff.
The Seminoles, who posted a 10-3 overall record last season and defeated Michigan in the Capital One Orange Bowl, are also picked to capture the Atlantic Division, while Miami received the nod as the likely Coastal Division winner.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville was chosen to repeat as ACC Player of the Year after a record-setting 2016 campaign in which he averaged 393.4 yards per game of total offense and accounted for 51 touchdowns, both ACC single-season records. His 1,571 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns were also ACC records for a quarterback.
Jackson, a rising junior from Pompano Beach, Florida, who is the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy, also was named the 2016 National College Football Player of the Year by the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp, the Sporting News and CBS Sports.
Florida State was named the likely 2017 ACC champions on 118 ballots, followed by defending national champion and two-time defending ACC champion Clemson with 35 votes. Louisville received seven votes, followed by Virginia Tech and Miami with three each and Duke with one.
In the Atlantic Division preseason voting, Florida State led the way with 121 first-place votes and 1,108 total points. Clemson followed with 37 first-place votes and 1,007 points, while Louisville received nine first-place votes and checked in with 843 total points.
NC State (658 total points) was tabbed for a fourth-place Atlantic Division finish, followed by Wake Forest (415), Syracuse (362) and Boston College (283).
Miami, beginning its second season under head coach Mark Richt, was selected the likely Coastal Division winner by 103 voters and amassed 1,065 total points. Defending division champion Virginia Tech followed with 40 first-place votes and 932 points. Georgia Tech placed third with nine first-place votes and 708 points.
Pitt (seven first-place votes) totaled 673 points, followed by North Carolina (four first-place votes) at 606, Duke (four first-place votes) at 473 and Virginia at 219.
The Atlantic and Coastal Division winners will meet in the 2017 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 2, at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium. If this year's media predictions prove correct, it will be a first-ever title game matchup of teams from the Sunshine State and a rematch of an early regular-season showdown. The Seminoles and Hurricanes meet in Tallahassee on September 16.
Florida State owns 15 ACC championships since joining the league in 1992, just behind leader Clemson's 16 conference crowns. Head coach Jimbo Fisher will welcome back 20 starters this season, including talented sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois and a deep defensive secondary led by Tavarus McFadden, Nate Andrews and Derwin James, a redshirt sophomore who returns after being sidelined by a knee injury in the second game of last season.
Louisville's Jackson led the preseason ACC Player of the Year balloting with 113 votes, while Florida State's Francois was listed on 23 ballots and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins on 11.
Boston College defensive end Harold Landry received eight ACC Preseason Player of the Year votes, followed by NC State all-purpose standout Jaylen Samuels with seven and Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey with two. Miami linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, Miami wide receiver Ahmmon Richards and Duke quarterback Daniel Jones each received one vote.