GREENSBORO — Top-ranked Clemson is the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship for a sixth straight season.
The league released voting results Friday from media members for predicted order of finish and preseason all-conference picks, with the Tigers picked ahead of No. 10 Notre Dame and No. 18 North Carolina.
Clemson had the preseason player of the year in quarterback Trevor Lawrence, while two-time league player of the year Travis Etienne was among the Tigers’ five picks on the 27-member preseason all-ACC team.
The Tigers have gone 29-1 over the past two seasons and have won 22 straight against league teams dating to October 2017.
Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish has been a member of all other league sports since the 2013-14 season, but they’re giving up their cherished football independence amid the coronavirus pandemic to compete for the ACC title.
The Tar Heels were picked third in Mack Brown’s second season, followed by Louisville, Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Wake Forest, NC State, Duke, Boston College, Syracuse and Georgia Tech.
The ACC won’t have its traditional two-division format this year while playing a 10-game league schedule. Teams can play a nonconference game held within its home state.
Miami is the first ACC team to play by hosting UAB next Thursday, while the ACC championship game will be held in Charlotte either Dec. 12 or Dec. 19.
UNC led the four North Carolina teams with three players on the All-ACC Preseason Team: wide receiver Dazz Newsome, all-purpose back Michael Carter and linebacker Chazz Surratt. Wake Forest had two players, defensive end Carlos Basham and kicker Nick Sciba, and two specialists from N.C. schools — NC State punter Trenton Gill and Duke returnman Damond Philyaw-Johnson — made the team.
UNC’s Sam Howell and Surratt and Wake’s Basham both received one vote for ACC Player of the Year, while Clemson dominated the voting — Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence was first with 100 votes, followed by teammate and All-ACC running back Travis Etienne with 30. Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book was the only other player to receive a vote, receiving one.