Georgia Tech picked to finish last in ACC Coastal

Credit: Sara D. Davis

Credit: Sara D. Davis

Surpassing preseason expectations was something of a tradition of the Paul Johnson era at Georgia Tech. Johnson’s successor will get an opportunity to do likewise.

Coach Geoff Collins’ first Yellow Jackets team has been picked to finish seventh in the seven-team Coastal Division in the ACC by media. Results were released by the conference Monday.

It’s the first time that Tech has been voted to finish last since the league adopted a two-division format in 2005. Media filled out ballots for the conference’s media-days event last week in Charlotte, N.C. Prior to 2005, Tech was picked to finish last in the ACC once before, in 1989.

At the ACC Kickoff event, Collins anticipated the dismal projections, and said that was O.K.

“They don’t know what these young men have done, what these young men have invested in the program,” he said. “And I’m just excited to be out there and take the field with these guys and go to battle with them.”

» More: 6 notable things heard from Geoff Collins at ACC Kickoff

Low projections were likely based on the significant change in offensive scheme, thin depth on the offensive and defensive lines and the loss of key players such as quarterback TaQuon Marshall (graduation), defensive end Anree Saint-Amour (graduation) and guard Parker Braun (grad transfer). Virginia was picked to win the Coastal with 82 first-place votes out of 173 cast. Clemson was the overwhelming favorite to win the Atlantic (171 first-place votes) and the ACC (170). The Tigers are playing for a fifth consecutive ACC championship.

In 11 seasons at Tech, Johnson’s teams outperformed their preseason media poll projection eight times, matched them twice and underperformed once. Johnson himself spoke up on behalf of his former team through Twitter, reminding fans that the Jackets finished first or second in the Coastal seven out of 11 times in his tenure and writing “don’t sleep on the Jackets!!”

ACC Championship Votes 

1. Clemson – 170
2. Syracuse – 2
3. Virginia – 1

Atlantic Division 

(First place votes in parenthesis)  
1. Clemson (171) – 1,209
2. Syracuse (2) – 913
3. Florida State – 753
4. NC State – 666
5. Boston College – 588
6. Wake Forest – 462
7. Louisville – 253

Coastal Division

(First place votes in parenthesis) 
1. Virginia (82) – 1,003
2. Miami (55) – 992
3. Virginia Tech (20) – 827
4. Pitt (8) – 691
5. Duke (6) –566
6. North Carolina (1) – 463
7. Georgia Tech (1) – 302