ACC Football Kickoff: 10 stories to watch
The ACC’s annual Football Kickoff should be more interesting than it has been for some time because there’s no shortage of storylines to follow.
Coaches and players from the ACC’s 12 teams will gather at the Grandover Resort just outside of Greensboro, NC, beginning Sunday to meet with the media and discuss the upcoming season. Some of the topics will be similar to recent years, but there will also be some new items bandied about.
Here are 10 things you should be hearing about this coming weekend:
1. What will happen to Miami? With the Friday release of a report on possible NCAA violations in recruiting by coach Al Golden and his staff, Hurricanes players Mike James and Brandon McGee face the media first on Sunday, followed by Golden on Monday. Will there be questions about Golden's job security? The NCAA also reportedly had investigators on the Miami campus recently, so trouble may be right around the corner.
2. Is the ACC stable with its Orange Bowl alliance? It will be most interesting what Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher says about this since he was on record in early May saying FSU needs to do what’s best for FSU when rumors swirled about the Seminoles possibly leaving for the Big 12.
3. Will anyone go on the record discussing Notre Dame as the ACC’s primary Orange Bowl partner, and how this union could lead to the Fighting Irish eventually joining the conference if it decides to expand to 16 members?
4. Is this the year the ACC finally puts forth a legitimate national title contender for the first time in a decade? Florida State has the defense, the quarterback and the depth, but does it have the running game, and is Fisher ready to lead such a run?
5. Eleven of last season’s starting quarterbacks return this fall, making the ACC the deepest QB conference in the nation. Given the position’s importance, is it an early indicator the league could make a huge national splash, even if it doesn’t produce a national contender?
6. Clemson returns what might be the most electrifying trio in the nation in quarterback Tajh Boyd, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and tailback Andre Ellington. The Tigers will score points, but will the defense allow them to challenge for another ACC title — and more?
7. North Carolina is banned from playing in a bowl game, but the Tar Heels say they have plenty to play for under new coach Larry Fedora. They take on four in-state opponents and say they want to make each week a bowl game of sorts. Will the Tar Heels maintain focus despite the bowl ban?
8. Maryland coach Randy Edsall couldn’t have had a more unfortunate first season in College Park (2-10, 1-7). Despite criticism from DC-area media, Edsall remains quite positive. Is Edsall ready to move the program forward, or was last year more than a bad accident?
9. Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas is getting rave reviews everywhere you look this offseason, but is it entirely justified? He struggled at times a season ago and still has proving to do with his arm. But Thomas has so many of the intangibles Frank Beamer wants in his QB, and breathtaking physical potential, as well. This will be a fun story to watch develop.
10. Is NC State quarterback Mike Glennon in the verge of breaking through nationally? His numbers are comparable to the other top-rated ACC signal-callers, but at 6-foot-6 and in Tom O’Brien’s system that has produced Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson and others, Glennon has the tools to climb the NFL draft order with an outstanding season.