July 27, 2004
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Florida State and Miami have played their share of close games for three decades. The two national powers went down to the wire again Monday in voting for the top spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason football poll.
The defending ACC champion Seminoles, who have ruled the league since joining in 1992, edged the newcomer Hurricanes by 12 points in voting by 88 media members at the ACC Football Kickoff.
Florida State received 49 of the top votes for 925 points, while Miami, who recently joined the ACC after being a member of the Big East, got 36 first-place votes for 913 points.
“With those two teams you can flip a coin,” North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato said of the Seminoles and Hurricanes. “The differences are just the colors of the uniforms and the names on their backs. They each recruited the same players.”
The other new ACC member — Virginia Tech — was picked to finish sixth behind Virginia, Clemson and Maryland.
Meanwhile, NC State was selected seventh, followed by Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Duke.
The Blue Devils have been picked last five straight seasons.
Miami beat Florida State 16-14 in the Orange Bowl and the two programs will open the season Sept. 6 in Coral Gables, Fla., adding even more spice to the rivalry.
“There is no easy time to play Miami,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. “But whoever wins that ball game is going to move up pretty good (in the polls) and whoever loses it still has time to work their way back up.”
This was the 13th straight time the Seminoles have been picked to win the ACC crown, and they’ve won the title every time except 2001, when Maryland was the champion.
Bowden joked about his poll spot just ahead of one of his main rivals, who have beaten him five straight times.
“Hey, nobody does it preseason better than me,” Bowden said. “I am the preseason champ and I ain’t got a trophy to show for it yet. It’s interesting. It’s fun. I do like polls.”
Chris Rix is a four-year veteran at quarterback for FSU and leads an offense that returns eight other starters. The defense also returns four senior starters.
Miami’s Larry Coker counters with a 35-3 record in his three seasons, but must replace six first-round NFL draft picks.
“This move to the ACC is going to make me a better football coach, and it’s going to make our staff better and it’s going to make our team better,” Coker said. “It’s going to have to.”
1. Florida State (49) 925 2. Miami (36) 913 3. Virginia (2) 697 4. Clemson (1) 664 5. Maryland 653 6. Virginia Tech 511 7. NC State 509 8. Georgia Tech 365 9. Wake Forest 273 10. North Carolina 184 11. Duke 114 # of 1st-place votes in parenthesis