The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world of sports in March. Since that time, sports fans have longed for a return to normal. On Thursday, college football got one step closer to its much-awaited return as the first preseason coaches poll was released.
There were no surprises at the top with Clemson leading the way at No. 1. The Tigers finished with 38 first-place votes. Ohio State came in at No. 2, while Alabama was ranked No. 3.
Georgia and defending national champion LSU rounded out the top five.
The Virginia Tech Hokies made an appearance, coming in at No. 24. The Hokies, who return multiple starters on both sides of the ball, had high expectations for the 2020 season with numerous players garnering preseason All-ACC honors. Even without All-ACC defensive back Caleb Farley, the expectations for the program remain high.
Overall, three ACC teams made the top 25 with North Carolina also coming in at No. 19. Hopes are high in Chapel Hill with sophomore quarterback Sam Howell — the best quarterback in the ACC not named Trevor Lawrence.
Notre Dame, which is officially a member of the ACC in football for 2020 only, came in at No. 10.
Louisville, Miami, Virginia, Pittsburgh and Duke all fell short of the top 25 but received votes.
Given that the preseason poll's release timing this year comes with several players announcing opt-outs for the season across college football, there will likely be more teams than usual both over-ranked and under-ranked heading into Week One.