PINEHURST, N.C. – And so it’s arrived. ACC Kickoff. Not the circus the SEC’s three-day session is, but no matter. Scribes and broadcasters (increasingly more broadcasters over the last couple years, actually) will descend on this resort town to talk about the ACC’s upcoming football season with players and coaches over the next couple days.
For those wondering, Maryland’s representatives are Danny O’Brien and Kenny Tate, as well as coach Randy Edsall. Virginia’s bringing Kris Burd, Chase Minnifield and coach Mike London. Virginia Tech’s contingent is Danny Coale, Eddie Whitley and coach Frank Beamer.
As for what might talked about? It won’t be all “When will the ACC be relevant again nationally?” all the time. It will come up (it usually does here and always does nationally by the end of September). Why it even gets asked is anyone’s guess. The answer, of course, is when Florida State re-entrenches itself as a top-five team. Well, that or whenever Virginia Tech goes 13-0. Either or.
In addition to the obvious – North Carolina’s NCAA troubles, new coaches at Maryland and Miami, Dabo Swinney on the hot seat (maybe? kind of?) at Clemson and this being the year (and everyone really means it this time) that Florida State makes its return to the national elite – there are some storylines for every team likely to be broached in some form or fashion in the next couple days.
* Is Chase Rettig mature enough to make Boston College a potential Atlantic Division sleeper, or will he simply be asked to hand it off to Montel Harris all the time and let the Eagles’ tailback take them however far they can go?
* How well will Clemson’s new spread offense under Chad Morris take? (Important alternate question that won’t be asked directly of Swinney: With expectations a little bit depressed for the Tigers, do the principles of Clemsonliness stipulate a 9-3 season is almost preordained?)
* Will the Duke defense approach average on enough occasions to give the Blue Devils a chance to reach a bowl game for the first time since 1994?
* Considering the coaches who have won national titles in recent years in Year Two (Bob Stoops 2000, Jim Tressel 2002, Urban Meyer 2006, Gene Chizik 2010), how far along does Jimbo Fisher think Florida State is toward that goal heading into his second season?
* How many caustic comments will Paul Johnson make about Georgia Tech’s NCAA sanctions during his 70-minute session with print reporters?
* Will anything be gleaned about Maryland’s new offensive and defensive systems (this weekend or before the opener) other than that they’re “multiple”?
* Will Al Golden be asked about his quarterback situation more than anyone else? (It’ll either be him or N.C. State’s Tom O’Brien)?
* Can the size of the media contingent besieging Butch Davis somehow be larger than last year?
* Back to QBs for a minute: Is there any doubt Russell Wilson’s name comes up among the first three questions Tom O’Brien is asked?
* With his first full recruiting cycle in the books and the yield of that labor en route to Charlottesville, what will be the barometer of success for Virginia coach Mike London this season?
* Certainly, there will be plenty of questions about Beamer’s recruiting work – that is, new assistant Shane Beamer. Dad (and head coach) Frank will no doubt offer a few observations on that topic.
* Will Wake Forest’s youth movement (and 3-9 cratering) last fall lead to a bounceback from the Atlantic Division cellar this year?