- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 5, 2014

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - The Atlantic Coast Conference owns a few prized possessions that once were property of the Southeastern Conference.

Among them: A national championship trophy, a Heisman Trophy, and a measure of respect.

That’s mostly because of Florida State’s big 2013 season, and now it’s up to the ACC to keep that momentum going.

“How about that, man, taking the rein from the SEC, huh?” said Heisman winner Jameis Winston of the Seminoles. “We are the national champions in this conference, and that’s important to me because people do need to respect the ACC more. … I believe that Florida State, we helped gain that respect, and hopefully we can continue that.”

There’s no question the Seminoles set the standard for the league after capturing the last national title of the BCS era seven months ago.

That helped change the perception of the ACC, which had won two BCS bowls from 1998-2011 before claiming three wins in the final two years of the format.

Now the league needs another team that can challenge Florida State.

Maybe it will be Clemson, last year’s Atlantic Division favorite which bounced back from a lopsided loss to the Seminoles and beat Ohio State in the Orange Bowl.

Maybe it will be Louisville, a league newcomer which won two BCS games in the old Big East.

Or maybe someone else will make a run - like perennial cellar dweller Duke did last year.


Here are 10 things to watch while the ACC prepares for another season:

ENTER LOUISVILLE, EXIT MARYLAND: Fast-rising Louisville is in the ACC after founding member Maryland left for the Big Ten. The Cardinals seem to have the players - and the resources - to remain competitive during their step-up in competition.

PRODIGAL PETRINO: The new coach for the ACC’s newest team isn’t really all that new: Bobby Petrino is back in charge at Louisville. He took a circuitous path that included a messy scandal at Arkansas to lead him back to the Cardinals.

THE GOLDEN DOME: This is the first year of Notre Dame’s scheduling arrangement with the ACC. The independent Irish play four games against ACC schools as part of their membership in all other sports the league sponsors. Notre Dame will play host to North Carolina and Louisville, will visit Florida State and will face Syracuse in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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