A poll of the 158 media members in attendance at the annual ACC Kickoff revealed that Georgia Tech and Clemson are the two favorites to win the Coastal and Atlantic Divisions, respectively. This is no shock in the case of Tech, which received 52 more votes than second-place Virginia Tech, as heightened expectations from inside the program have translated to equally heightened expectations by media outside of Atlanta. In Clemson's case, however, the story is a bit more interesting -- it previously seemed that the media consensus was in favor of Florida State winning the Atlantic. Whatever the case may be, the ACC Championship will almost certainly be a rematch if Tech can manage to claim the Coastal yet again; the Jackets face both FSU and Clemson in the regular season, with FSU being a home game and Clemson being a road game.
With baseball summer league play winding down, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look at some of the numbers put up by various Yellow Jackets with their respective teams. It really doesn't appear that many guys are tearing it up with their summer league squads, but there have been a few notable performances by players who could be key contributors during the 2016 season. One of these players who has experienced great success is catcher Grant Wruble, who posted an impressive .305 batting average with a couple of homeruns during June and July. Though Arden Pabst seems to be starting catcher for Tech (he spent much of last season in that role while excelling defensively), a hot-hitting Wruble could certainly see some time in the outfield or at DH. Any consistent bats are welcome in the Tech lineup which so often failed to produce last season.
The AJC's Ken Sugiura is on the ground in Pinehurst and was kind enough to provide us with three important notes from quarterback Justin Thomas relating to the upcoming season. As Sugiura points out in the article, Thomas is not one for excessive talking, but the junior did provide some great insight about a few big questions surrounding the program in 2015. Probably the most important point that Thomas spoke on was about his relationship with wide receiver Micheal Summers, the probable starter for week one against Alcorn State. He also seems optimistic about the role that Summers' fellow wideouts, Ricky Jeune and Antonio Messick, will play during what will hopefully be their breakout season of 2015.
Although many people believe that the ACC's two divisions are becoming more equal by the day, the Charlotte Observer makes a good case for why the Atlantic and Coastal are still skewed by imbalance. If this article had been published a year or two ago, I'd have absolutely no problem reading what was presented and moving on. Today, however, the Coastal and Atlantic Divisions are as comparable as I can remember them being in recent years. The Atlantic obviously features two clear-cut favorites, Clemson and Florida State, but neither are the absolute juggernaut that they've been in recent years. Are both perennial top-10 teams? Sure, but the days of 14-0 FSU and Tajh Boyd are over. I wouldn't be at all shocked to see a team like Louisville or even NC State make the leap and cause some issues in Atlantic Division, which has otherwise been a two-horse race. The same is true for the Coastal -- I can see a number of teams, including Georgia Tech, having what it takes to topple the FSU-Clemson hegemony that has been established recently. The ACC is a different conference than it was in 2013.
Are the ACC's divisions too skewed by imbalanced? Are they heading towards a state of relative equality or becoming more lopsided?