It's been a long time coming, but the Florida State Seminoles are once again leading the ACC, this time in the 2011 preseason college football rankings. The No. 5 'Noles are the highest-ranked team in the preseason USA Today top 25, and one of just two ACC teams in the top 25.
Florida State, which has built an imposing defense under Jimbo Fisher and has promising dual-threat quarterback E.J. Manuel under center, rode a wave of late-season excellence in 2010 and superb recruiting in the offseason to its first top-five ranking in a preseason poll since being No. 5 in the preseason AP Poll in 2004.
The other ACC team in the top 25 is Virginia Tech, the defending conference champion. The Hokies, ranked No. 13, recovered from an early loss to Boise State in 2010 to earn the ACC's automatic BCS berth, and gave eventual Orange Bowl champion Stanford a scare in their BCS bowl game.
The ACC's two teams ties the Pac-12 for the second-fewest teams ranked in the preseason top 25 among BCS automatic qualifier conferences. Miami, North Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina State and Georgia Tech all fell into the "also receiving votes" portion of the poll.
Here's the full list of ACC teams in the 2011 USA Today preseason coaches poll:
No. 5 Florida State
No. 13 Virginia Tech