Greensboro, GA ? Clemson is the preseason pick to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship according to media attending the league?s annual preseason Kickoff at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, GA. It marks the first time since 1991 that Clemson has been the preseason favorite to win the title. That was also the last season Clemson won the ACC Championship.
?This is the first time we have been the preseason favorite since I have been at Clemson,? said Head Coach Tommy Bowden. ?My father usually carries that burden.
?A big reason we are the preseason favorite is our returning offensive skill position players. But, we have holes to fill in the offensive line - we must replace four starters, including two All-Americans. We also have three new linebackers.
?I believe our players will embrace this and it will motivate them in our August practices. But it will also motivate the opposition, including our non-conference opponents. We will get everyone?s best shot.
?We appreciate the respect, but the objective is to earn it on the field by the end of the season. We have a lot of work to do to achieve that.?
This is the sixth time Clemson has been the preseason favorite according to media covering the league?s summer kickoff since the event began in 1976. Clemson has gone on to win the championship four of those years. Clemson was the preseason favorite in 1978, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991. Clemson went on to win the title every year but 1989 when Clemson finished third.
This is the first time Clemson has been the preseason favorite to win the league title or the Atlantic Division since Tommy Bowden became head coach in 1999. Florida State has been the preseason favorite according to media covering the ACC Kickoff 14 of the last 16 years. Virginia Tech was the preseason favorite to win the championship last year and the media was proven correct at the end of the season when the Hokies defeated Boston College to win the league title.
In the previous nine years Bowden has been at Clemson, the Tigers have equaled or exceeded the media?s preseason prediction seven times. That includes last year when Clemson was picked to finish third in the Atlantic Division, but finished the year in second place. Clemson also exceeded the preseason expectations in 2005, 2003 and 1999. The Tigers finished where they were picked in the preseason in 2000, 2002 and 2006. The only years under Bowden that the Tigers failed to reach the preseason predictions were 2001 and 2004.
Twenty-one of the past 32 years the team chosen in the preseason to win the championship has gone on to win the title at the end of the year.