GREENSBORO, N.C. -- An ego boost, followed by a “see-you-later” kick.
The Miami Hurricanes were selected Monday by media members at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff to win the Coastal Division — then lose in the league title game to expected Atlantic Division champion Clemson.
“I don’t really have much reaction other than I hope they’re not as inaccurate as they were a year ago,” said UM coach Al Golden, whose Canes actually won the Coastal by virtue of a tiebreaker and would have played in the ACC title game had they not self-imposed a ban on postseason play. “They picked us fifth. …We’re not worried about what anybody says about us, good or bad.”
Clemson also had the preseason pick for ACC Player of the Year — in a landslide. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd got 105 votes, with Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson earning four votes as the runner-up.
The preseason prediction garnered 102 first-place votes for Clemson — which leads all ACC teams with 14 conference titles — in Atlantic Division balloting. Defending ACC champion Florida State placed second with 18 first-place votes.
“I don’t think being picked first really helps them either,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We have to control what we can control, and that’s how we play. They may draw something from that, but if that’s our key motivation that makes us want to win, we’re not the program I thought we were.”
Clemson was named on 95 ballots to win the ACC title, with FSU getting 15 championship votes and Georgia Tech, Miami and UNC each getting three.
North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, whose Tar Heels play host to the Canes on Oct. 17, said he empathizes with Golden.
Fedora, in his second season with UNC, is in the second year of a three-year NCAA probation. Last season the NCAA imposed a bowl ban for the Heels.
“I feel for Al. He’s kind of going through the same situation I was going through,” Fedora said. “He had nothing to do with anything that happened there, but he has to deal with it. Al and I have talked about that. He hasn’t asked for my advice — he doesn’t need to. He’s a great football coach, and I’m sure he’ll do fine.”
Because the Canes’ self-imposed a postseason ban to keep them from playing in the ACC title game in 2012, and Fedora’s team was on probation and couldn’t play either, Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech faced FSU instead. The Yellow Jackets lost 21-15.
“It wasn’t difficult, it was different,” Johnson said. “We all tied for the division, so it wasn’t like we finished in third place.”