Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top Five: ACC media poll upsets

Over the past 33 years, the ACC media has correctly predicted the football champion 21 times. That's not a bad record, even if you take into account that Florida State was an obvious pick 11 years in a row and won the title in 10 of those.

Still, the media isn't always right (Really! It's true!) and among the surprises have been some real shockers, Tuesday's Top Five.

5. Clemson, 1981 — The Tigers got a handful of first-place votes, but the media cognoscenti leaned heavily toward North Carolina (65 votes) and Maryland (three votes, but second on points). Clemson didn't just win the ACC. The Tigers won the national title with a win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

4. Virginia Tech, 2004 — Perhaps the ACC underestimated the Big East, but in retrospect it did look like a rebuilding year in Blacksburg. The Hokies were picked sixth (and Miami second) in their first year in the league, but Tech won eight straight down the stretch before losing in the Sugar Bowl.

3. Virginia and Duke, 1989 — The smart money was on Clemson, which had won three straight ACC titles, with the Cavaliers picked to finish third and the Blue Devils fourth. The two ended up tying for the title, with Virginia winning the tiebreaker.

2. Maryland, 2001 — Very little was expected from Ralph Friedgen in his first year at Maryland, but he rallied the Terps to a 7-1 ACC record and a berth in the Orange Bowl. All that after being picked to finish seventh, ahead of Wake Forest (which finished tied for seventh) and Duke (which finished ninth).

1. Wake Forest, 2006 — The Wake Forests and Dukes of the world were supposed to be squashed by expansion, but in the second year of the two-division scheme the Deacons won the Atlantic Division, won the ACC Championship Game and made an appearance in the Orange Bowl — all after being picked to finish dead last in the Atlantic.

-- Luke DeCock

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

this article is worthless. who cares what the media think. the only good part about the article is the author's name "lewd" "cock"

The Weeds said...

What the hell else is there to talk about until September, anonymous?

Sadly, there won't be a shock this year. Nothing outside of Duke winning the automatic BCS bid would shock anybody in 2009.

The Coastal division is wide open: Miami's ridiculously young and talented, GT looks to improve on PJ's impressive debut, VT is always strong, and everybody expects UNC to be good. The Atlantic is just as hard to call. FSU might be talented enough to succeed despite Bobby Bowden's doddering, NC State is a bit ofa wildcard and will definitely be improved, Maryland and BC always manage to be tough, and nobody knows what to expect from Clemson and Dabo Swinney.