- David M. Hale, College football
For the second straight season, Florida State was named the overwhelming choice as the preseason favorite to win the ACC.
The Seminoles received 60 votes in a poll of media members assembled in Greensboro, N.C., making them the odds-on pick for their first conference title since 2005. Virginia Tech earned 18 votes, while Clemson finished with 13.
FSU's status as preseason favorites comes as no surprise, as the hype surrounding this year's team has been simmering for months, but last year's four-loss campaign serves as a strong reminder that a lot can change over the course of the season.
"That's one thing that can affect you, talk like that off the field," defensive end Brandon Jenkins said. "But we're just going out and trying to play football and not worrying about that stuff."
Meanwhile, Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel finished third in the balloting for the preseason player of the year in the conference.
Manuel, a senior, completed 65 percent of his passes last season, throwing for 2,666 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins was the favorite as preseason player of the year, while Tigers' quarterback Tajh Boyd finished fourth. Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas was second in the voting.
"I think I stack up right there with the best of them," Manuel said of his place among the ACC's elite players. "But I think the biggest thing is the supporting cast. Clemson has great athletes just like we do. That's the difference -- guys that can make the plays and guys that can't."
Voters picked Virginia Tech as the runaway favorite in the ACC's Atlantic Division, with 72 of 82 ballots including FSU and the Hokies in the championship game.
Clemson will be Florida State's top competition in the Coastal Division, according to the voters, with N.C. State picked to finish third, Wake Forest fourth, Boston College fifth and Maryland sixth.
For the second straight season, Florida State was named the overwhelming choice as the preseason favorite to win the ACC.The Seminoles received 60 votes in a poll of media members assembled in Greensboro, N.