Share This Page

ACC notebook: Pitt predicted to finish 6th in Coastal Division

| Monday, July 21, 2014, 1:48 p.m.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Pitt coach Paul Chryst's reaction was predictable when he saw his team picked to finish sixth in the ACC's seven-team Coastal Division.

“It doesn't mean a lot,” he said about the preseason media poll released Monday.

Indeed, recent history is the clearest indicator.

Duke was picked last in 2013, but won the division and earned a berth in the conference championship game.

“It's not just what Duke did,” Chryst said. “We all have been a part of teams that weren't expected to do well and didn't do well and weren't expected to do well and did well.” Pitt was one of six Coastal teams that received first-place votes (two), a possible prelude to a title chase that Chryst and several other coaches said is “wide open.” Defending national champion Florida State of the Atlantic Division was the nearly unanimous choice to repeat as conference champion, picked to win it on 104 of 112 ballots. Miami edged Duke for first in the Coastal with a 614-597 edge in the voting system, but Duke received 33 first-place votes to the Hurricanes' 26.

Florida State quarterback and defending Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was named preseason player of the year with 99 votes. Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley had six and Miami running back Duke Johnson, Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder and Virginia Tech quarterback Brenden Motley had one vote each.

Motley is a curious choice. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has yet to name his starter among a field of five, including Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer.

“Not knowing who your quarterback is, you would rather be on the other side of that,” Beamer said.

The predicted order of finish in the Coastal: Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pitt and Virginia. In the Atlantic, it is: Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Syracuse, North Carolina State, Boston College and Wake Forest.

• Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher was asked if it's possible for his team to duplicate its successful run through the 1990s when it won or shared the ACC championship every year from 1992-2000. “It's feasible,” he said, “but it would be tougher now. More people are playing football now than have ever played.” Said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: “The gap's not that wide between Florida State and other ACC teams.”

• The ACC will increase the size of its officiating crews to eight for conference games. ACC coordinator of football officiating Doug Rhoads, who worked on five-man crews 30 years ago, said the new man — the center judge — will line up in the backfield opposite the referee and will be responsible for spotting the football and managing substitutions.

• Rhoads also termed ACC replay review “wonderful,” noting there were only 49 reversals of 210 stops last season, with an average time of 64 seconds. “Shorter than commercials,” he said. “That's 49 things I don't have to deal with on Sunday or Monday.”

• There are two major rule changes in the ACC this season. First, when replay review overturns a targeting penalty and reinstates the ejected player, the 15-yard penalty also disappears. Last season, the penalty remained. Second, low hits on quarterbacks will draw a 15-yard penalty, with stipulations. The passer must be in a throwing posture and have one or both feet on the ground. The defensive player must make unabated contact with the knee or below, employing a forcible, driving blow and can't be pushed into the passer.

Michael Kelly, chief operating officer of the College Football Playoff group, said tickets for the national championship Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will be $450 each, with the participating schools having the ability to sell 50 percent of the allotment.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.