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UNC picked to win the ACC Coastal, despite five other teams receiving votes

Six teams received first-place votes in the ACC Coastal Division pre-season poll. But someone from this division will be good, right?

NCAA Football: ACC Football Championship Game-Clemson vs North Carolina Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

In recent seasons, the ACC Coastal Division has gained a reputation for being “wild”. A large part of that comes from the 2012 season.

Three teams, including North Carolina, finished atop the division at 5-3. The spot in the ACC Championship game would have gone to UNC, however they and Miami both missed out due to NCAA sanctions. That meant the third 5-3 team, Georgia Tech, was the Coastal representative in the championship game. They were 6-6 going into that game, and lost to Florida State.

Admittedly, 2012 was a crazy year in the Coastal Division. However, since that year, a ten-win team has won the division each of the last three seasons. Yet the division still has a reputation for being unpredictable.

In the media poll, six of the seven teams in the division received a first-place vote. North Carolina received the most and was picked to win the division, while only Virginia didn’t get one. It’s not incredibly surprising, especially considering Louisville got a first-place vote in the Atlantic, which contains two possible playoff teams in Clemson and Florida State.

It’s also not surprising considering the reputation the division has developed. No, there probably isn’t a clear favorite in the Coastal this season. UNC still has to replace some pieces, and other teams have new coaches. That being said, six teams getting first-place votes seems to be solely due to the division’s reputation.

Duke football has the potential to be a perfectly solid bowl team in 2016. However, the fact that they received two first-place votes seems to have a lot to do with the Coastal’s reputation more than anything. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not expecting Duke to win the division, but they won’t be a walkover.

Yes, 2013 Duke, 2014 Georgia Tech, and 2015 North Carolina may not have been the expected division champions in those years. However, all three of them established themselves as good teams somewhere along the way. By the end of each of those three seasons, it wasn’t surprising that they won the division.

In 2016, the Coastal Division probably won’t be the seven-way tie at 4-4 mess people seem to think it is. Someone will establish themselves. If you want to argue that it’s a wild and unpredictable division because there are several teams it might be, then fine, I guess. But there’s too much potential for someone to be good for it to be as much of a mess as everyone says. I think.