Kicking off the Kickoff: Media days storylines to follow
The SEC had its fun. Now it’s the ACC’s turn to hijack the national talk show circuit for a few days.
2013 ACC Football Kickoff Media Days
When: Sunday 12:30-6 p.m., Monday 10:30 a.m.-6:15 p.m.
Where: The Grandover Resort, Greensboro, N.C.
How to follow: Postandcourier.com, Tiger Tracks blog, or @Aaron_Brenner and @Sapakoff on Twitter
Radio: Beat writer Aaron Brenner is scheduled to call in to 910 AM ESPN Charleston on Monday afternoon with a live report from Greensboro
Well, not quite. The ACC Football Kickoff lasts two days, like most other conferences; but the SEC carnival keeps the media grilling coaches and players for three days.
Plus, as if winning seven straight national titles wasn’t enough, the SEC puts out its talking points in Johnny Football’s off-field drama, the podium antics of Les Miles, Will Muschamp and Steve Spurrier, and Alabama fans’ translucent love for three-time-in-four-year champion Nick Saban.
No, SportsCenter won’t be cutting live to Greensboro, N.C., with minute-by-minute analysis of opposing quarterback feuds or coaches’ cutting comments. However, Sunday and Monday provide ACC leaders a mouthpiece for previewing the upcoming season, which promises to shine plenty of enticing storylines.
Let’s go through one angle to watch for with each of the 14 ACC squads, plus three more general subjects on the docket from The Grandover Resort:
Florida State (12-2, 7-1 ACC): De-fense, (clap clap), de-fense, (clap clap.) Jameis Winston will try to fill in for EJ Manuel, but let’s be honest: the Oct. 19 showdown in Death Valley probably determines the Atlantic champion.
Clemson (11-2, 7-1): Given good health, Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins alone should be good for nine (or so) wins. Is the Tigers’ defense good enough to reach more than last year’s total, 11?
North Carolina State (7-6, 4-4): The Wolfpack spoiled Florida State’s title dreams, but that was N.C. State’s only triumph over a FBS squad with a winning record. Maybe new coach Dave Doeren brought some of that MACtion magic with him from Northern Illinois.
Wake Forest (5-7, 3-5): The past four years, the Demon Deacons have finished 5-7, 3-9, 6-7 and 5-7. If barely-below-mediocrity turns you on, head to Winston-Salem.
Maryland (4-8, 2-6): Hey, Randy Edsall, your Terrapins are 6-18. Third year better be a charm. Maryland does host Edsall’s alma mater, Syracuse, on Nov. 9.
Boston College (2-10, 1-7): Where have you gone, Matt Ryan? (Atlanta. That’s where.) At least Chase Rettig gives the Golden Eagles hope as a veteran quarterback.
Syracuse (8-5, 5-2 Big East): Going from coach Doug Marrone, quarterback Ryan Nassib and a Big East schedule to coach Scott Shafer, someone who’s not Nassib and ACC opponents is what we call an uh-oh situation, kids.
Georgia Tech (7-7, 5-3): Sixteen returning starters help. But with a new quarterbacks coach (not that that matters much in the triple option) and defensive coordinator, the Yellow Jackets are a rebuilding division champion.
North Carolina (8-4, 5-3): Maybe it sticks in their craw they couldn’t go to Charlotte and face the Seminoles because of that pesky bowl ban. Bryn Renner leads a revitalized Tar Heels program under center.
Miami (7-5, 5-3): QB Stephen Morris looks to pick up where he left off (11 TDs, no interceptions his last four games of 2012). He and tailback Duke Johnson will be quite the one-two punch behind a terrific offensive line.
Virginia Tech (7-6, 4-4): Quarterback Logan Thomas was explosive but inconsistent, and therefore passed on the draft to return for his senior year. New offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler was a bust at Auburn; will he work better with Thomas?
Duke (6-7, 3-5): Yes, Duke does have a football team. The Cameron Crazies discovered what a bowl game looks like. Are the Blue Devils on their way up, or was it a one-year wonder? (History points to the latter.)
Virginia (4-8, 2-6): Mike London called for a line change with his assistants after his second 4-8 season in three years. If the Cavaliers don’t improve, guess that means the culprit is still on staff.
Pittsburgh (6-7, 3-4 Big East): Wide receiver Devin Street is fun to watch. Coach Paul Chryst is more of a quarterbacks kind of guy, though, so perhaps Tom Savage should be licking his chops.
Three and out
• League boss John Swofford will crow about his two new members of the family, with Louisville and second cousin Notre Dame on the way. But how long until your conference starts winning big bowl games again, commish?
Three and out
• The SEC now has its fancy all-inclusive TV network set to launch in 2014. The Big Ten’s already been there, done that since 2008. Et tu, ACC?
• A hot topic down in Hoover was whether the new-age hurry-up offenses are safe for college football. Certainly the ACC coaches will have something to say about that.