This should probably come as no surprise. The Clemson Tigers have been picked as the preseason choice to win the regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference championship. They were chosen by 132 of 134 votes that were cast by members of the media. They were also picked to win the conference championship game that will be played in December. Their star quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, was selected as the preseason Player of the Year and the team led all schools with 27 players chosen to the league preseason all-conference team. The other two first-place votes went to Notre Dame.
Lawrence was named ACC preseason Player of the year on 100 ballots. And if you need reasons why check out these numbers from one year ago. He completed 268 of 407 passes attempted for 3,665 yards and a career-high 36 touchdowns. In his two seasons wearing a Tigers uniform, Lawrence has amassed almost 7,800 yards of total offense while accounting for 76 total touchdowns (66 thru the air, 10 on the ground). His backfield running mate, Travis Etienne, was named on 30 votes. These two have had quite a run at Clemson helping the Tigers to a 29-1 record over the last two years. This has been highlighted by two trips to the National Championship Game with a win two years ago over Alabama and a loss this past January to LSU.
Etienne, who has already been named ACC Player of The Year in back-to-back campaigns, enters this one as the all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 56, total touchdowns with 62, and points by a non-kicker with 372. He was named on 133 of 134 ballots. Hard to believe that someone did not vote for him. He led all players with that number of votes. Others who received at least 100 votes are Florida State’s defensive tackle Marvin Wilson (108 votes), North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt (106), and Seminoles wide receiver Tamorrion Terry (100). There are seven members of last year’s All ACC-first-team on this year’s team. Florida State was next on this year’s team with four on the team, one on the offensive side and three on the defensive side.
As for Player Of The Year, three are quarterbacks. Besides Lawrence, Sam Howell of North Carolina was third, and Fighting Irish QB Ian Book was fifth. The defensive side of the ball was represented by two players. Surratt placed fourth and defensive lineman Carlos Basham of Wake Forest was sixth.
The Atlantic Coast Conference season begins on Thursday night September 10, when Miami plays host to UAB. Then on Saturday, September 12, six more games are scheduled with four of them being non-conference matchups.