Most of the media members at last week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Kickoff media days in Charlotte, N.C., thought it would happen.
Now they have to make it happen.
The ACC announced Monday that the Miami Hurricanes have been picked by the media to win their Coastal Division and face Florida State for the league title in the Dec. 2 ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The Hurricanes, who finished 9-4 and ranked 20th by the Associated Press and 23rd by the coaches in 2016, garnered 103 first-place votes and 1,065 total points, leading runner-up Virginia Tech, the defending Coastal champion, which had 40 first-place votes and 932 points.
“We could do it,’’ UM coach Mark Richt said on Friday in Charlotte. “You’ve got to start there. You can’t win anything else unless you win that. Win the Coastal, win the ACC, hope you’re in the playoffs, win two more games and then everybody is excited -- for about a month or two.
“And then everybody wants to do it again.’’
UM running back Mark Walton, who has been buoyed by his late mother’s spirit and birth of his daughter, said he could “smell’’ the difference in the locker room, and feels confident the Canes will get it done this season.
The rest of the Coastal Division had Georgia Tech placing third with nine first-place votes and 708 points, followed by Pitt (673 points), North Carolina (606), Duke (473) and Virginia (219).
FSU, which finished 10-3 last season, had 121 first-place votes and 1,108 total points, in being projected to win the Atlantic Division.
The Hurricanes meet the Seminoles in their annual regular-season clash on Sept. 16 in Tallahassee, the third game of the year.
The teams predicted to finish below FSU: Clemson, with 37 first-place votes and 1,007 points, Louisville (nine first-place votes and 843 points), NC State (658), Wake Forest (415), Syracuse (362) and Boston College (283).
The five-time national champion Hurricanes joined the ACC in 2004 but have never won the Coastal, let alone the league. They have been projected to win their division three previous times.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville was chosen to repeat as ACC Player of the Year after a record-setting 2016 campaign in which he averaged 393.4 yards per game of total offense and accounted for 51 touchdowns, both ACC single-season records. His 1,571 rushing yards and 21 rushing touchdowns were also ACC records for a quarterback.