ACC Kickoff Notebook

HOT SPRINGS, Va. – There are two clear-cut favorites to win the new divisions this year and meet for the first-ever ACC championship game on Dec. 3, in Jacksonville.

And most, if not all, of the coaches have very little problem with how the preseason predictions came down Monday at the ACC Football Kickoff.

In the Atlantic Division, which Clemson is a member of, Florida State was picked to finish first with 65 of a possible 92 first-place votes for a total of 522 points. Boston College was second with 24 first-place votes and 458 points.

Following the Eagles was N.C. State with two first-place votes and 346 points and then the Tigers, who received one first-place vote and 265 points. Maryland was predicted fifth with 222 points, with Wake Forest coming in last with 119 points.

"That's probably about accurate for us, to be honest with you, based on what happened last year in this conference and who has got people coming back and how we played," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said. "That's probably a pretty accurate ranking."

It was difficult to tell whether or not he was kidding, but Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden acted as if he was somewhat caught off guard with the prediction that his team would finish first, especially after all the highly publicized off-the-field incidents that's taken place over the last few months.

"I'm kind of surprised," he said. "Apparently y'all (the media) have been reading the paper."

In the Coastal Division, Virginia Tech was predicted to win its division with 62 first-place votes and 517 points, with Miami coming in second with 29 first-place votes and 487 points.

Virginia was third after receiving one first-place vote and 356 points, while North Carolina was fifth with 197 points and Duke sixth with 94 points.

"I feel honored that the media people feel we're capable to win our division," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "I feel good about being picked at the top, but I understand there's an awful lot of work to do."

Preseason All-ACC
Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and Tigers cornerback Tye Hill were the only players selected to the 2005 ACC Preseason All-ACC Team.

There were no unanimous selections, however, Florida State running back Leon Washington and Boston College defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka were on 39 of 40 ballots.

The teams are as follows:

QB – Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson
RB – Chris Barclay, Wake Forest
RB – Leon Washington, Florida State
WR – Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
WR – Tramain Hall, N.C. State
TE – Jeff King, Virginia Tech
OL – D'Brickshaw Ferguson, Virginia
OL – Will Montgomery, Virginia Tech
OL – Kyle Ralph, North Carolina
OL – Steve Vallos, Wake Forest
OL – Eric Winston, Miami
PK – Connor Hughes, Virginia
P – Ryan Plackemeier, Wake Forest
SP – Devin Hester, Miami

DL – Mathias Kiwanuka, Boston College
DL – Manny Lawson, N.C. State
DL – Darryl Tapp, Virginia Tech
DL – Mario Williams, N.C. State
LB – Ahmad Brooks, Virginia
LB – D'Qwell Jackson, Maryland
LB – Ernie Sims, Florida State
DB – Tye Hill, Clemson
DB – Greg Threat, Miami
DB – Pat Watkins, Florida State
DB – Jimmy Williams, Virginia Tech

Mathias Kiwanuka, Boston College

With 12 teams now in the ACC, it appears as though the ACC is on the verge of adding at least one more, if not two more bowls to its alliance, which would give the conference eight bowls, just like the SEC.

"From my standpoint, I don't think there can be too many bowls," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "With that many bowls for our conference, I think it says to people that having that many bowl games legitimizes the ACC."

The use of instant replay in all conference games this year will be a new thing for several coaches. However, for people like Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey and Virginia's Al Groh, it won't be hard to get used to. Both of them served as head coaches in the NFL.

But there will be one thing different, the coaches have no say so in which plays get reviewed. All of that will be determined by an official sitting in front of a television screen in the press box.

"I was not for the coaches challenging calls like in the NFL," Gailey said. "There should be a man sitting in that booth that is as capable at his job as the referee is at his job and if we can find that consistency, I shouldn't have to challenge a play."

In Monday's annual golf outing with media, staff and coaches, Whitehurst won one of a couple of longest drives by smoking his ball 340 yards on a designated hole.

"If he can throw a ball half that far, we'll be in good shape," Tommy Bowden said.

Bobby Bowden said that assuming the recent arrests of a couple of his players remain misdemeanors and not turned into felonies, they would not be suspended for the Miami game, which is the Seminoles' first game of the season.

"There are more ways to discipline other than suspension," he said. "You all heard of physical pain, haven't ya?"

He went on to say that all the problems teams are having this year with arrests and players getting into trouble isn't that surprising.

"It's just the way it is nowadays in college," he said. "It's the sign of the times."

A few minutes later, he also offered the quote of the day about losing quarterback prospect Joe Mauer to baseball's Minnesota Twins.

"I don't know why he went to their league for $10 million. We would have given him $11 million." Top Stories