With quarterback Thomas Sirk still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon and the Blue Devils facing a more difficult schedule in 2016 than in years past, Duke will have to answer its fair share of questions when it kicks off the season Sept. 3 against N.C. Central.
Being picked to finish fifth in the ACC Coastal Division should give the Blue Devils even more motivation.
The media's preseason league standings were announced Monday morning by the ACC. Duke, which tied for fourth in its division last year with a 4-4 ACC record, was picked to finish fifth in the division this year, with North Carolina picked to win the Coastal and Clemson picked to win the Atlantic Division and overall ACC championship. The Tigers won the ACC last year before falling to Alabama in a thrilling national championship game.
Full preseason conference standings with corresponding vote totals can be found below.
The media has struggled to predict the Coastal Division standings in recent years given the division's parity and lack of a dominant program. In 2013, the year Duke won its first division title, the Blue Devils were picked to finish last in the division. Georgia Tech won the Coastal Division in 2014 after being picked to finish fifth in the preseason, and North Carolina was also picked to finish fifth in the division last year before winning it convincingly and challenging Clemson in the ACC championship game.
In addition to predicting the league standings, the media picked Tiger quarterback Deshaun Watson to repeat as ACC Player of the Year. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, who finished second in the voting last year, was picked second. Duke cornerback DeVon received one of the 191 votes for Player of the Year.
The full picks for preseason conference player of the year with corresponding vote totals can be found below.
Full results from the ACC preseason media poll:
- North Carolina (121 first-place votes)—1,238 points
- Miami (50)—1,108
- Pittsburgh (14)—859
- Virginia Tech (3)—697
- Duke (2)—597
- Georgia Tech (1)—588
- Clemson (148 first-place votes)—1,293 points
- Florida State (42)—1,176
- Louisville (1)—961
- N.C. State—704
- Boston College—441
- Wake Forest—347
- Clemson—144 votes
- Florida State—39
- North Carolina—7
Preseason Player of the Year
- Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Clemson—164 votes
- Dalvin Cook, running back, Florida State—18
- Elijah Hood, running back, North Carolina—4
- Brad Kaaya, quarterback, Miami—2
- Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville—2
- DeVon Edwards, cornerback, Duke—1
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