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Jason Staples' 2016 Preseason All-ACC Ballot

Jason Staples' preseason All-ACC ballot and projected conference standings.

The predicted order of finish for the ACC will be released this week along with the All-ACC preseason team and player of the year picks.

The following is my ballot as submitted to the ACC office:

Division Standings and ACC Champion

Atlantic Coastal
Florida State UNC
Clemson Virginia Tech
Louisville Miami
NC State Pittsburgh
Syracuse Georgia Tech
Wake Forest Duke
Boston College Virginia

ACC Champion: Florida State

This was fairly difficult, as both FSU and Clemson are top-5 caliber teams, and a strong argument can be made that Clemson should get the nod in virtue of having the nation's best QB leading what should be the nation's best offense. But I just couldn't get past how 1) a very young FSU squad gave Clemson all they could handle in Death Valley last year, 2) FSU has more room to improve beyond their 2015 team given their youth and QB difficulties last season, and 3) FSU should be the more balanced team, with arguably the nation's best defense against spread type offenses.

Beyond UNC, who I do think is a step better than anyone else in their division as long as they stay healthy (though they drew @FSU for their cross-division matchup), the Coastal is again a series of decent football teams all around the same level. I wouldn't be surprised if UNC won the division at 6-2 or so (maybe 7-1 if they stay especially healthy) and then there was a four- or five-way tie for second. Since that wasn't an option, I went with VT largely due to their favorable schedule and because of a gut feeling about how they'll look in their first year under Justin Fuente. I do think Miami will be better than they were in 2015, but given their schedule they'll need a few breaks to win the Coastal. 

Offense

QB Deshaun Watson Clemson
RB Dalvin Cook Florida State
RB Elijah Hood UNC
WR Mike Williams Clemson
WR Isaiah Ford Virginia Tech
WR Travis Rudolph Florida State
TE Jordan Leggett Clemson
OT Roderick Johnson Florida State
OT Mitch Hyatt Clemson
OG Dorian Johnson Pittsburgh
OG Tyrone Crowder Clemson
C Lucas Crowley UNC

Defense

DE DeMarcus Walker Florida State
DE Ejuan Price Pittsburgh
DT Carlos Watkins Clemson
DT Derrick Nnadi Florida State
LB Devonte Fields Louisville
LB Keith Kelsey Louisville
LB Micah Kiser Virginia
CB Cordrea Tankersley Clemson
CB Des Lawrence UNC
S Derwin James Florida State
S Quin Blanding Virginia

Special Teams

PK Nick Weiler UNC
P Nicholas Conte Virginia
Spec Ryan Switzer UNC

Preseason Player of the Year

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson


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