Welp. Nowhere to go but up.
The ACC released its 2014 baseball coaches poll, and to nobody's surprise, Boston College is the preseason 14th place team in the league. BC received 17 points, one less than Pittsburgh, the team selected to finish last in the Coastal Division. The Birdballers are picked to finish last after going 17-40 on the year, 4-25 in league play. They finished five games back of fifth place Wake Forest in the Atlantic Division, a full nine games back of eighth place Miami, the last team into the ACC baseball tournament.
Virginia was tabbed as the league's preseason favorite after with 10 championship votes after receiving 12 first place votes in the Coastal Division. They are picked to win the ACC Championship over Atlantic Division champion Florida State, who received four championship votes and received five Atlantic Division first place votes.
This, of course, isn't a death knell for the Eagles, who will no doubt have an uphill battle against the rest of the league to make it into the ACC Tournament. Ten teams will make the ACC championship bracket, with two division winners being joined by the next eight teams in terms of winning percentage. There will be two play-in games where the 7th seed plays the 10th seed, and the 8th seed plays the 9th seed. Those single elimination game winners will advance to play the top two seeds (after reseeding), while the #3 team plays the #6 team and the #4 team plays the #5 to begin two double-elimination brackets. The ACC Tournament will also experiment this year with instant replay, allowing umpires to determine if a ball originally called foul can be ruled fair.
With Maryland set to depart after this year, BC will play in the Atlantic Division with some of the nation's best. Of the five other teams in the Atlantic Division, two are in the nation's preseason top 10. Florida State is picked 5th in the preseason poll, with NC State seeded 10th. A third team, Clemson, is ranked 21st. The ACC also got North Carolina, its defending champion and reigning regular season champion, Virginia, and Miami into the top 25 (11, 12, and 13, respectively).
This isn't great news for BC, who play all of these teams this year. Of the 13 other ACC schools, BC will play their entire division and half the Coastal Division. Of the Coastal Division teams, they draw North Carolina, Miami, Virginia, and Pittsburgh, meaning they miss out on playing Duke, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech during this rotation. Of their 10 ACC three-game series, six are against opponents ranked in the top 25 (and against every ACC school ranked in the top 25). On the bright side, if BC is able to go .500 or show marked improvement, they'll rocket up the national RPI rankings.
The preseason coaches poll ranked Florida State first in the Atlantic, NC State second, Clemson third, Maryland fourth, Notre Dame fifth, Wake Forest sixth, and BC last. The Coastal Division has Virginia first, North Carolina second, Miami third, Georgia Tech fourth, Duke fifth, Virginia Tech sixth, and Pitt seventh.