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July 23, 2013

Clemson, Miami favorites in ACC

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney still keeps a clipped newspaper story in his office from when quarterback Tajh Boyd signed to play for the Tigers in 2009.

Now the two are making headlines together again.

For the second time since 1991, Clemson is the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference and Boyd is the preseason pick to win another ACC player of the year award.

“I’ve kept that (article) because it’s just a reminder of what an attitude of belief can do, and when you get the right guys around you, you can do great things,” Swinney said. “And Tajh has just been tremendous since he got here, has grown as a player, has grown as a young man.”

The Tigers and Miami were picked to win their respective divisions and meet in the title game in Charlotte, following a vote of 120 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

The voting results were announced Monday, the second day of the ACC’s two-day preseason media blitz.

Clemson received 102 first-place votes in the Atlantic Division balloting, well ahead of the 18 that reigning league champion Florida State got.

The Tigers are the preseason favorites in the division for the first time since 2008, when a midseason stumble led to then-coach Tommy Bowden’s departure and the ascent of Swinney to replace him.

Clemson had been picked second in the Atlantic behind Florida State in each of the four years since — and won it twice in that span.

Miami had 65 first-place votes in the Coastal, ahead of Virginia Tech’s 27 and North Carolina’s 22.

The Tigers then received 95 votes to 15 for the Seminoles as the eventual ACC champion.

The Hurricanes — who were picked fifth in the 2012 preseason poll — would have played in last year’s ACC title game, if not for self-imposed postseason-ban sanctions over the ongoing NCAA investigation.

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