On Thursday USA Today released the 2018 preseason Amway Coaches Poll. The usual suspects crowd the top five spots. The Alabama Crimson Tide, coming off their most recent National Championship, collected 61 of the 65 total first place votes available. Positioned smartly for the probable fourth iteration of Clemson versus Alabama, in the CFB Playoffs, the No. 2 Tigers collected three first-place votes. The Ohio State Buckeyes stumbled into the final first place vote and find themselves again looking up at the ACC and SEC champions. Rounding out the top five are the Georgia Bulldogs and the Oklahoma Sooners.
Enough about those programs. What about the Virginia Tech Hokies?
With 524 points Virginia Tech find themselves locked in as the No. 17 program in the preseason poll. After barely dropping the Camping World Bowl to the Oklahoma State Cowboys the Hokies finished last year at No. 25 in the Amway Coaches Poll. Only six points ahead, at No. 16, are the Texas Christian Horned Frogs. With 117 points less than VT, at No. 18, one finds the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Of much more interest is the team that fills the No. 19 ranking. After the implosion of their 2017 season and the dramatic departure of head coach Jimbo Fisher the Florida State Seminoles have snuck back into the top 25.
The September 3 matchup between Virginia Tech and Florida State will open the regular season for both programs. Both teams being ranked adds even more drama to a contest whose result will likely carry immediate impact to the ACC Coastal and Atlantic foes vying to return to the top of the conference.
The fourth and final ACC squad represented in the preseason poll are the Miami-Florida Hurricanes. After the Clemson Tigers the ‘Canes are the only ACC program represented in the top ten. Clocking in at No. 8, Miami represents the favorite to win the Coastal division.
Although they are technically not part of the ACC, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish spend a lot of time in the conference’s company. During the 2018 season ND will face five ACC foes, so we will give them an honorable mention as a partial ACC squad. The Fighting Irish find themselves positioned just out of the top ten at No. 11.
Except for Clemson every top 25 ACC program (and ACC honorable mention program) opens their seasons against a ranked opponent. On September 2 Miami starts the year against the No. 24 LSU Tigers. As mentioned above No. 17 VT and No. 19 FSU face one another. Notre Dame starts their season on September 1 against the No. 14 Michigan Wolverines. Clemson also plays on September 1 against the Furman Paladins.
Referencing the preseason poll the Hokies will be facing three ranked opponents. No. 19 FSU on September 3, No. 11 ND on October 6, and No. 8 Miami on November 11.
You can see the entire 2018 preseason USA Today Amway Coaches Poll here.