ACC Media Days: 3 Things to Watch on Day Two
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Following a day in which Tajh Boyd singing the opening bars to an Eric Church song provided one of the few noteworthy moments, the spotlight turns to the ACC coaches for what promises to be a more intriguing day at the ACC Kickoff. Let's face it: Outside of Boyd and a select few other players in attendance, any star power the league possesses resides in its coaching ranks.
So, barring any unforeseen difficulties at the league's annual golf outing at the Grandover Resort Monday morning, here are a few of the key storylines to watch as the headmen grab the microphones:
Following last season's primetime showdown that all but decided the ACC race -- a 49-37 Florida State win in Tallahassee; the Seminoles went on to capture ACC and Orange Bowl titles -- the anticipation has slowly been building for the Atlantic Division's best football rivalry to retake the field on Oct. 19. Will the two men manning the sidelines provide any sort of bulletin board material to add fuel to the fire. Not likely.
But Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Florida State's Jimbo Fisher have never been shy about sharing their opinions on the topics of the hour. It will be interesting to see which topics spark their interest on Monday. Is Swinney still semi-fired up about the Jadeveon Clowney comment (yes, expect to hear about this storyline again … and again … and again)? What has Fisher seen out of his new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt? Will FSU start a redshirt freshman at QB? How will both teams replace top NFL draftees from a year ago?
Needless to say, all of the topics have been covered en masse by both teams' local beat writers, but with this being the first full-on media session of the season, expect many of the questions to focus on how each team is gearing up to grab the division crown -- and, by default, the ACC title.
UNC coach Larry Fedora, who was then entering his first season at the helm in Chapel Hill, quickly became the pied piper of this event last year. He projected energy and confidence -- as well as throwing in some notable quotes concerning Red Bull -- and his team went on to claim the best record in the Coastal Division (but missed out on the ACC title game due to a postseason ban).
There's no statistical evidence to correlate a positive media day with a positive season, but it wouldn't hurt to see Pittsburgh's Paul Chryst and Syracuse's Scott Shafer jump into the fray with a bit more gusto than their players did on Sunday -- something to give ACC promoters more to talk about than, "Just wait till basketball, you guys."
Conference and national championships will always be the end goal for every program in a Power Five conference, but will the coaches discuss the issues plaguing their teams at the moment? Is bowl eligibility the real end game (goodness, what a lackluster end game for any program), for programs with offensive question marks and projected six-win ceilings?
Overall, it'd be nice to introduce some interest, at least in terms of soundbites, for any school north of Blacksburg.
Aside from the conference newcomers, NC State's Dave Doeren and Boston College's Steve Addazio step in front of the ACC media gathering for the first time.
To steal an influential phrase from the illustrious South Florida program, somebody please Do Something.
In his opening Q&A sessions on Sunday afternoon, Commissioner John Swofford put a personal deadline on when he'd like to hear the NCAA rule on rogue booster Nevin Shapiro and his involvement with the Hurricanes program. Anything short of the season's opening game, the commish said, would be "disappointing."
The sooner the investigation ends, the better for Golden and his team, one that expects to compete for the Coastal Division title in 2013. But will he propose his own deadline?
Even with all of the legal hiccups and investigative issues (to put it kindly) the case has encountered, the NCAA soon needs to present its findings here. Two years is quite a wait. Today marks the second ACC Kickoff Golden has attended with an investigation hanging over his head -- it has to be his last, right?