GREENSBORO, N.C. — After falling short of its record 15th ACC title last season, the Clemson Tigers were picked by media members to claim the conference crown in 2013. Dabo Swinney & Co. claimed 95 of the 120 possible first-place votes.
Returning one of the most explosive offenses in the country, one that averaged 41 points per game in 2012 (sixth-most in the country), Clemson enters the season projected as one of the select few ACC teams with an outside shot at a national championship.
Behind the combination of senior quarterback Tajh Boyd, the reigning ACC Player of the Year, and explosive junior Sammy Watkins, offensive coordinator Chad Morris’ offense is not expected to slow down.
Speaking of Boyd, the media darling of Day One of the ACC Kickoff was (not surprisingly) picked to repeat as the ACC’s top player. He earned 105 of 120 possible votes, beating out the likes of Watkins, Miami’s Duke Johnson and Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas in a landslide vote.
Clemson edged Florida State in the Atlantic Division by 84 first-place votes.
The Coastal Division projects to be a much closer race: Miami’s 65 first-place votes edged both Virginia Tech (27) and North Carolina (26).
According to ACC media members, there’s not a single ACC Championship Game matchup that does not include either Clemson or Florida State. In other words, the remaining five teams in the Atlantic Division — N.C. State, Wake Forest, Maryland, Syracuse and Boston College — are not perceived to have a single shot at a conference title this season.
It is the first time since 1991 the Tigers have been the preseason pick to win the conference, the fifth time overall since voting began in 1976.
ACC Championship votes
Clemson (95) Florida State (15) Georgia Tech (3) Miami (3) North Carolina (3) Virginia Tech (1)