Florida State and Jameis Winston were the runaway favorites Monday to repeat as ACC champion and league player of the year, respectively. Those were the two names atop my ballot as well. As for how I slotted everyone else:
1) Florida State
5) Boston College
6) NC State
7) Wake Forest
3) North Carolina
5) Virginia Tech
6) Georgia Tech
Couple of points: You'll have a hard time convincing me -- and most likely anyone else -- that Clemson and Louisville, as of today, are not the closest to FSU in the Atlantic. The Nos. 4-6 spots left a little wiggle room (sorry, Wake), and I think that Syracuse returns more proven talent from last year than BC and NC State.
On the other side of things, well, I see no reason not to pick Duke right now. The Blue Devils are the defending Coastal champions, return a ton of contributors and are the closest thing to a proven commodity in the wide open division.
After that: Chaos. The division sets up nicely for a team to make another surprise run this year, and Pitt is the one that I think is perhaps best-positioned to take advantage. The schedule sets up nicely for the Panthers, who get Duke at home and sub BC for FSU as an Atlantic opponent. While Chad Voytik is a newcomer under center and the offensive line had its share of obvious issues last season, more consistency up front (and, one can only assume, improved health) should help the offense exploit playmakers in the backfield and at receiver.
I think UNC has as good of a shot as anyone else of winning the division, but the team's youth, particularly on the offensive line, has me hesitant to pick them as the favorite.
Miami being picked as the Coastal frontrunner shocked me, given the way the team finished last season, the complete uncertainty at quarterback and the lack of punch shown on defense last season. A look at the voting suggests the Hurricanes accumulated just enough points as a second- or third-place team to ultimately get the No. 1 nod over Duke (33) and UNC (27), both of whom garnered more first-place votes than Miami (26).
We'll have more on the Coastal possibilities later on in the blog, further illustrating just how wide open this race really is. The fact every team but Virginia received a first-place vote speaks to that.