Hokies picked to win the ACC
By Jimmy Robertson
July 23, 2007

PINEHURST, N.C. - As expected, the Virginia Tech Hokies were picked to win the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division and also to win the league title outright in a voting conducted among media representatives at the league's 2007 Football Kickoff held in Pinehurst, N.C.

The Hokies received 77 of 83 first-place votes in being picked to win the Coastal Division. Georgia Tech received four first-place votes and was picked to finished second, with Miami receiving the other two votes and coming in third. Virginia, North Carolina and Duke rounded the Coastal.

"I appreciate it," said Tech head coach Frank Beamer, who, along with the other league coaches, met with the media Monday afternoon. "I don't know that it means a lot. I don't know where Wake was picked last year, but I do know where they finished [Wake won the ACC title].

"I think what this tells me is that we've got to get to work. You can only put so much reliability into this. People think we'll be good, but we've got some things to work on."

On the other side of the league, Florida State was picked to finish first in the Atlantic Division. The Seminoles received 37 first-place votes, while Boston College received 25. Clemson was picked to finish third and last year's champion, Wake Forest, was picked to finish fourth even though the Demon Deacons recorded more first-place votes (13) than Clemson (8). Maryland and N.C. State rounded out the Atlantic Division.

"I'm surprised," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "Usually, they base these things on how you do last year and we didn't have a lot of success last year. But we all know this doesn't mean a whole lot."

The Hokies enter the season with the fewest question marks of all ACC teams. Tech returns its starting quarterback, tailback, and its entire receiving group and tight ends group. Defensively, the Hokies return eight starters, including All-America candidates Xavier Adibi, Vince Hall, and Brandon Flowers.

"There's no question we've got some areas we need to improve," Beamer said. "We've got issues on the offensive line. Those guys need to continue to get better because that's the key to our offense. It starts with us offensively on the offensive line.

"Defensively, we can't assume anything. We've got to go out and do the same things we did last year, and from what I've seen this spring and summer, I think we'll do that. We've got a couple of positions where it's critical that we stay healthy.

"But the big issue with us is our kicking game. I feel good about our talent. I think Jud Dunlevy is going to be a good kicker and Brent Bowden is going to be a good punter and Bart McMillin is going to be a good snapper. But they haven't done it in a college game yet. Can they be consistent? That's the question."

Beamer met with the print media for approximately 90 minutes Monday afternoon. Like with what happened to the Tech players on Sunday, probably half of the questions were devoted to his team and program, with the other half concerning the tragedy that occurred on the Tech campus this past April.

"I think a couple of things on that," Beamer said. "After going through that tragedy, Tech people want to be with Tech people, and we've got a big opportunity to come together at Lane Stadium and remember the victims and their families. I hope we'll all show more caring and respect for each other, and there's no better opportunity to show that than this fall.

"And for our football team, we've got to get back to preparing each day. We need to take care of the little things. For us to be good, we've got to be focused on how we can get better each day and prepare as hard as we can, and then go out and play as hard as we can. That's all we control."

The Hokies open the season on Sept. 1 against East Carolina. Kickoff for that game is slated for noon and will be shown on ESPN.