University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes picked second in ACC Coastal. Projected league champ is no-brainer.

You know that old saying: “No. 2 tries harder.’’

Perhaps it will prove true for the Miami Hurricanes, who will likely not only try harder, but maybe make that effort pay off with an ultimate Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division title.

For the first time in three years, the ACC media did not project the Hurricanes to win the 2019 Coastal Division title.

The ACC released its media poll Monday, and Virginia, which defeated UM 16-13 last season in Charlottesville, is projected to win the Coastal.

Miami was predicted to finish second, followed by Virginia Tech, Pitt, Duke, North Carolina and Georgia Tech.

The Atlantic Division was projected to be led by defending national champion Clemson, followed by Syracuse, Florida State, NC State, Boston College, Wake Forest and Louisville.

Clemson was projected to beat Virginia in the ACC title game by a landslide. The Tigers, who finished 15-0 in 2018 after pummeling Alabama in the national title game, got 170 of 173 votes to win the conference championship. Syracuse got two votes and Virginia, one.

UM finished 7-6 last season and 4-4 in the conference.

The voting was done by 173 media members credentialed for last week’s ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Hurricanes got 55 first-place votes (992 points) for its division finish, while the Cavaliers got 82 first-place votes (1,003 points). The Hokies got 20 first-place votes (827).

Each of the seven Coastal teams got at least one first-place vote. Pitt got eight first-place votes (691), Duke got six (566), and North Carolina (463) and Georgia Tech (302) each got one.

The only other Atlantic Division team other than Clemson (1,209 points) that got any first-place votes was Syracuse (913), which received two. FSU, which meets UM Nov. 2 in Tallahassee, had 753 points, followed by 666 for NC State, 588 for Boston College, 462 for Wake Forest and 253 for Louisville (Nov. 9 against the Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium).

UM opens fall camp on Friday and starts the season Aug. 24 against the Florida Gators of the Southeastern Conference.

In 2017, when Miami finished 10-3, it won the Coastal and lost 38-3 to Clemson in the league title game.

Miami Herald sports writer Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes football beat writer since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She has won several APSE national writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to the College Football Playoff to major marathons to the Olympics.