Herbie Awards include Georgia Tech as ACC champ

August, 31, 2009
8/31/09
4:58
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich


ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit unveiled his annual Herbie Awards, and he shunned the preseason Virginia Tech hype by picking Georgia Tech to win the Coastal Division and the ACC title.

Smart move.

You can't go wrong with that pick, especially since the Hokies lost Darren Evans for the season, and Georgia Tech returns just about all of its skill position players from a year ago. Still, the one thing that separates those two programs for me is up front, and until we see how the Jackets fare in that regard on both sides of the ball, Virginia Tech has the edge there. I've got no problem, though, saying Georgia Tech can beat Virginia Tech and win the ACC title this year. In case anyone forgot, they were co-champs of the Coastal last year.

The one pick that surprised me a little was grouping Clemson in with the teams that are "Movin' on up." However, considering the program hit rock bottom at midseason last year, it's the only direction to go. And there's no reason to question the talent on the roster, though I think we need to hold off before we proclaim the offensive line is much better than it was a year ago. Remember, all five starters return. They're older, but are they better? And the coaching staff, particularly on offense, is still unproven.

It's another difficult season to predict how the ACC race will shake out, but it wouldn't surprise me if any of Herbstreit's picks -- Georgia Tech, Florida State, NC State or North Carolina -- play their way to the top of the standings.

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