The Washington Times - October 27, 2009, 02:09PM

Loyal reader Fearthenoodle asked if there was some way to look back on past ACC preseason polls and figure out if there was any trends in the voting.

Fortunately, it’s a football bye week, and it was a curious idea.


So let’s lay out the parameters …

* This covers the five years since expansion (2005-present).

* A tie in the actual standings leads to a “finish” of the average of the spots assumed in the tie. In other words, two teams that tie for sixth are given a “6.5” as a finish. Three teams tying for ninth get a “10” as a finish.

* In the chart, predicted finish is listed first, followed by actual finish.

Pretty basic, right? OK, here goes:

Virginia Tech
Florida State
North Carolina
Boston College
Wake Forest
N.C. State
Georgia Tech

Trends from this relatively limited data set?

* Georgia Tech is overestimated every season. Let’s just go ahead and say the Yellow Jackets won’t finish in the top four this year. That would continue this trend.

* N.C. State hasn’t exceeded estimates. The only time the Wolfpack did better than anticipated, they finished a game ahead of last rather than in the cellar. Not exactly a great achievement.

* Clemson is fairly predictable. Despite the lack of proven backcourt options, I actually like the Tigers this season. The voters pegged them third, and a third- or fourth-place finish sounds right.

* North Carolina never disappoints. At least not under Roy Williams. The closest the Tar Heels came to that in the last five years was when they shared the regular-season title with Virginia in 2007.

* A couple surprise seasons can skew the data. Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech both dramatically exceeded expectations twice in this data set. All three disappointed on average in the other three years.

* Speaking of which, good luck figuring out the Hokies. Virginia Tech hasn’t finished within a spot of its expected place in the standings since it joined the league. Go ahead and figure the Hokies won’t land in the 8-9 game – or in seventh place, either.

* For the most part, people have Duke and Maryland pegged pretty well. Both teams have a surprise year in there (both in 2007), but for the most part they’ve been tethered close to anticipated results.

* The “Overlooked Boston College” angle is new. In the ACC, anyway. The Eagles received a just amount of respect their first three years in the league. It’s just last year and this fall that it seems like people have opted to underrate BC.

Patrick Stevens