CLEMSON - Here are the key storylines to keep in mind when the ACC Football Kickoff commences Sunday and Monday at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.:
Pass the crab legs
Thankfully, Jameis Winston is in the house.
There was some quiet wondering whether the Heisman Trophy winner who'd been embroiled in controversy from his November rape investigation to his May citation for stealing crab legs from a Publix would show up in Greensboro.
Well, he will. Good, because Winston's Heisman predecessor Johnny Manziel faced similar scrutiny entering the 2013 season and he appeared at SEC Media Days. It would have looked worse for Florida State to hide their superstar from the press.
Wanna see beat writers' heads explode? Stick Florida State's quarterback and Louisville's head coach in the interview room at precisely the same time. (It won't happen, but still.)
Bobby Petrino ought to attract more media vultures than perhaps the rest of his ACC colleagues combined, save for Jimbo Fisher and Dabo Swinney, especially since this is Petrino's welcome to the ACC.
He won't be able to avoid the questions tacked to him the rest of his career about the motorcycle mistress incident that chased him from Arkansas, or the way he left Louisville the first time around.
Which, to the Cardinals, is a bit of a shame, because the guess here is Louisville's football team is being a bit overlooked in the race for ACC Atlantic sovereignty. The man wins football games, if not popularity contests.
Finally, someone wrested the SEC's crystal ball away from the most powerful conference in college football, and it was the ACC courtesy of Florida State beating Auburn.
Finally, something for the ACC to boast over the SEC. The ACC hasn't compiled a seasonal winning record against the SEC since 2003, including last year's 4-7 mark. In the past 10 years, the SEC holds a commanding 54-30 advantage. (Not Clemson's fault. The Tigers are a respectable 9-10. FSU is 6-8. Everyone else: 15-36.)
How do the likes of Swinney, Fisher, Petrino and Paul Johnson feel about that dominance? Guess we'll find out, the weekend following the controlled chaos that is SEC Media Days.
2014 ACC-SEC regular season matchups include Clemson-Georgia, Kentucky-Louisville, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State and, of course, South Carolina-Clemson. Then there loom potential bowl showdowns in the Belk, Music City, TaxSlayer.com and Independence Bowls - or perhaps the Capital One Bowl or College Football Playoff. The SEC is 36-19 all-time vs. the ACC in bowls.
Got SEC fatigue? Check out some intriguing ACC-Big Ten challenges, like Virginia Tech-Ohio State, Iowa-Pittsburgh, Maryland-Syracuse and Miami-Nebraska.
"Oh, football? Yeah, cool. But seriously, guys: who's ready for basketball season???" -John Swofford, probably.
The ACC commissioner made aggressive proclamations a summer ago about how great a basketball league he'd assembled by capturing Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame away from the deadened Big East Conference. (Turns out he should've gone harder after Connecticut, which swept the men's and women's titles in 2014.)
With Louisville on its way in, Rick Pitino and company only add another rock star program to the mix. Count on Captain Swofford to solicit his conference's hardwood prowess almost as much as their football members.
Stoudt, Beasley talk
Your friendly neighborhood Post and Courier beat writer had guessed defensive tackle Grady Jarrett would represent Clemson in front of the masses; but that would have meant defensive end Vic Beasley would be the nation's only returning All-American not appearing at his league's media days.
So how will the introverted Beasley behave? Will he keep his answers short and not-as-sweet? Or let a little bit of that charm he occasionally flashes in private moments out for a walk? Will be interesting to watch.
No such guessing for Cole Stoudt: he's well-spoken, and well-schooled in the art of saying the right thing. He can get feisty with defending his team from naysayers from time to time, but expect the senior quarterback to keep opponents' bulletin boards a boring locale.
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