Brian: On Friday, the preseason 2010 USA Today Coaches Poll was released, and the ACC was well represented. The conference’s five selections were the highest number of programs ranked in the preseason Coaches Poll since 2005, when all three ex-Big East programs -- Virginia Tech (7), Miami (8) and BC (22) -- joined Florida State (12) and Virginia (23) in the poll.
Here’s how each ACC team fared:
No. 6 Virginia Tech 1,052
No. 13 Miami (Fla.) 728
No. 17 Georgia Tech 455
No. 18 North Carolina 445
No. 20 Florida State 374
ORV Clemson 44
ORV Boston College 10
Two questions. First, when the season is finished, do you think that 5 ACC teams will make the final USA Today Coaches Poll? And which of the five ACC programs in the Top 25 is the most likely to be the first to drop out?
Jeff: No, I do not think that five teams from the ACC will finish the year in the Top 25 of the USA Today Coaches Poll. I think that Virginia Tech finishing in the top is a given, but the other four teams here all have big question marks and schedules. In addition, each of the four teams in the Coastal will play each other, which will give 1-2 of those teams too many losses to finish the season in the top 25. I think BC or Clemson could finish the season in the top 25. Clemson would have to start the season off by winning at Auburn and BC would have to sweep their non-conference schedule. But in order for both of them to get in and make up for some of the Coastal teams that will almost certainly drop out, they will likely have to knock Florida State out of the Top 25.
As for who will drop out first, I believe that will be the loser of the North Carolina-Georgia Tech game on September 18. If UNC losses to LSU in a reasonably close game, I think they will remain in the top 25 but then they won't be able to afford a second loss. After September 18th, they will not be able to both stay in the top 25 with 1-1 records. If UNC is good enough to beat LSU, I think they will then go on to beat Georgia Tech and knock them out.
Brian: I think you are right in saying that 5 ACC teams won't make the final USA Today Coaches Poll. My guess is one of the four Coastal teams will drop off and the final poll will include the top Atlantic team and three Coastal teams.
But I disagree with either North Carolina or Georgia Tech as your pick for the first team out of the poll. I think that distinction will most certainly go to Florida State. Specifically, the Seminoles will drop out after the September 13 poll. They are already the lowest ranked ACC team of the five, and if they can't stick with Oklahoma in Norman (which I suspect they won't be able to), I think a 1-1 record with a win over Samford won't be enough to keep them in the Top 25. Especially with teams ranked below the 'Noles -- Georgia, Auburn, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Houston, etc. -- all with a very good shot at starting the season 2-0.