NOTEBOOK: Tigers Similar to Georgia Tech?

PINEHURST, N.C. – For the 16th straight year, Florida State was selected by the media in the preseason to either win its division or the ACC Championship. And in 12 of the previous 15 seasons, those voting were right.

Of 83 voters, 37 said the Seminoles were going to win the Atlantic Division, with 25 first-place votes going to Boston College. Clemson just barely finished ahead of Wake Forest in the voting for third place, with Maryland predicted to finish fifth and N.C. State sixth.

However, oddly enough, the Demon Deacons had more first-place votes (13) than the Tigers (8). But Clemson finished with a total of 332 total points, while Wake Forest received 325 points.

For every first-place vote, six points are awarded to that team. Then five are given for second place, four for third, three for fourth, two for fifth and one for sixth.

So while the Demon Deacons received more first place votes, many more believed they would finish behind Clemson in the standings.

The Coastal Division was a runaway for Virginia Tech, which received 77 of a possible 83 first-place votes. Georgia Tech had four first-place votes and just barely edged out Miami, which had two votes for first, in the points. Virginia was selected for fourth, with North Carolina being fifth and Duke sixth.

It's the seventh straight year that Duke has been predicted to finish last in the conference or its division.

On 69 of the ballots, the Hokies were predicted to win the ACC Championship. The results of the other 14 ballots weren't made available, so it's unclear if anyone thought the Tigers would win the conference crown.

GROBE BUILDING A WINNER: Last week, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden made a remark that Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe wouldn't have had a chance to win an ACC Championship at Clemson because he had three straight losing seasons previously.

Grobe agreed with him to an extent because he said there had been very little, if any, winning tradition at Wake Forest, which resulted in him getting a little extra time to build the program the way he wanted.

"Wake Forest had not won in for ever since Moby Dick was a minnow," said Grobe, while wearing a Demon Deacons shirt with "ACC Champions" embroidered on the left sleeve. "At Wake Forest, we had a little bit of leeway. There wasn't exactly an ACC Championship overnight.

"The thing about Wake Forest is they've appreciated everything we've done. Even when we were 7-4, they love us. Now, they probably love us a little more with a championship."

CLEMSON'S MIRROR IMAGE: Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey is in a very similar boat as Tommy Bowden. Both schools are expected to have very good defenses and both already have a great offensive backfield.

Each school is faced with an unknown on the offensive line and at quarterback.

However, Taylor Bennett did start at quarterback the bowl game for the Yellow Jackets last season, and looked good doing it, which raised many questions as to why he didn't get more playing time during the season or even replace much-maligned quarterback Reggie Ball.

Those are very similar questions Bowden is getting about his quarterback Cullen Haper and Will Proctor.

But Gailey said there's an easy answer as to why Bennett looked better during the bowl game.

"If you're getting eight reps a practice and if you get 68 reps a practice, you're going to get better," Gailey said. "You're naturally going to get better."

ON GOING NIGHTMARE IN DURHAM: Duke head coach Ted Roof never once remotely envisioned that his team would go 20 straight games against Division I opponents without a win.

His team's last win came in 2004, when the placekicker for the Blue Devils booted a 51-yard field goal at the buzzer to beat Clemson. They haven't beaten a Division I school since, though they came extremely close to winning three last year.

"I didn't think that would happen," Roof said. "We've got to find a way to win our close games. You're talking about one-play games. Then who knows what facilitates from there."

THIS AND THAT WITH TOMMY BOWDEN: Bowden said he is under much more pressure to produce victories than his legendary father Bobby Bowden at Florida State.

"He's got a lifetime contract," the son said. "Now, he's 77, so it might not be a long life." …

Bowden wouldn't reveal just how drastic the changes to the offense will be this season, but he said a top priority is to get tailbacks C.J. Spiller and James Davis on the field at the same time. However, both likely won't be lined up behind the quarterback.

"I think it's more important to get them on the field together and not in the backfield together," he said, "whether it's in the slot or at wide receiver or at quarterback, a la (Darren) McFadden at Arkansas."

Bowden did admit that the one likely to do all the moving around is Spiller. …

Bowden admitted to an occurrence not long ago when he had called a recruit living in Jacksonville, Fla., who also happened to be being recruited by his father at Florida State.

When the younger Bowden called the kid's home, the mother answered and promptly told her son that Coach Bowden was on the phone.

After a brief moment, she returned to the phone and asked, "Is this the real one or the other one?" Top Stories