Clemson edged Virginia Tech for the 2016 ACC title, then went on to knock off Alabama for the national championship.
It was Clemson's second consecutive trip to the national championship, while Virginia Tech made its first ACC title game appearance since 2011 and did so in the first year of the Justin Fuente head coaching era.
The 2017 preseason forecast, based on the Congrove Computer Rankings, says Clemson will once again vie for the Atlantic Division title, but ultimately fall short by the thinnest of margins. Florida State is a mere 0.93-point favorite when the two juggernauts meet in the regular season at Clemson on November 11.
North Carolina State gets the nod for 3rd-place in the Atlantic, ahead of Louisville and the returning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Lamar Jackson.
Georgia Tech is a surprising pick to win the Coastal with the Jackets' only projected loss coming at Clemson on October 28. But GT is also only a slim 0.51-point choice at Miami on October 12, and a 6.01-point home pick over Virginia Tech on November 11.
As for the conference championship game in Charlotte on December 2nd, Florida State is the favorite to squeeze past Georgia Tech by 4.13 points.
Ultimately, the Seminoles are the computer's favorite to bring the ACC its 3rd national title in the last 5 years. Florida State is a 1.70-point preseason pick over Oklahoma in the semifinals, and a 0.42-point favorite over Ohio State in the January 8 finale in Atlanta. The Buckeyes get a 2.24-point advantage over Alabama in the other semifinal. Ohio State won the first College Football Playoff Championship in the 2014 season, and Alabama won the 2015 season title game. Florida State won the last BCS Championship game to conclude the 2013 season.
It's not like we have to wait til the end of the year to have some national championship-flavor excitement as Florida State has a huge season-opener in Atlanta on Sept. 2 where they are a narrow 2.66-point computer choice over consensus national title favorite Alabama.
Note: Every 2016 head coach in the ACC returns for 2017.