Five hot story lines from the ACC Kickoff

Greensboro,  N.C.—Welcome to the 2010 ACC Football Kickoff. This event is always smaller (there are 300 media members here) than the SEC meetings in Birmingham, where over 1,000 people received credentials to cover last week’s event.

It is also a little less intense, more relaxed.  Classical music plays in the lobby of the Grandover resort hotel as you walk in. There aren’t hundreds of fans standing behind roped off areas waiting to get pictures and autographs. The coaches don’t have security to get them from place to place. You’ll actually see coaches hanging out with writers on the golf course (gasp!)

I’m not saying that one event is better than the other. The SEC is certainly bigger but both media kickoffs have their charm. And while the ACC is smaller by design, there are no storage of important story lines as it gets ready for preseason practice. We met with the players here yesterday and today will meet with the coaches. Here are just five of the better story lines from these meetings:

 

1. The Comeback Kids:  A little over a year ago Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare but aggressive form of cancer. He thought he might not live to see his 23rd birthday. He was told to forget about football and just worry about survival. That’s tough to do when you’re the ACC defensive player of the year in 2008. Also a year ago N.C. State linebacker Nate Irving was in a near fatal automobile crash. He was also told that football was probably over and that he would be lucky to function normally again.

Both men were here yesterday and will be in training camp when it starts next month. Their stories are inspiring.

 

2. Bobby Bowden is not here: For the first time since 1992, when Florida State joined the ACC, Bowden is not the head coach at Florida State. There is a lot that we are going to miss about the man who always drew a crowd of media to his table. He was entertaining but with coach Bowden, you always learned something that you did not know. And you got a better understanding of why he was one of the best recruiters in the business. “We are going to miss his wisdom and experience,” said Commissioner John Swofford. “And we’re going to really miss his dadgummits.”

 

3. The ACC has agent issues as well:  Nobody has called them “pimps” or “predators” yet but the agent issue that dominated the headlines last week apparently got its start right here with North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin. What we want to know, and won’t find out this week, is whether or not Austin will be in the Georgia Dome on Sept. 4 when North Carolina opens the season against LSU. Has this story been a distraction to the rest of the North Carolina football team? You bet it has. “We can’t wait for practice to start so that we can put this behind us,” said quarterback T.J. Yates, who played at Pope High School in Marietta. “We don’t know what is going to happen. Our job is to get this team ready to play LSU and that is what we’re going to do.”

 

4. This league still has a lot to prove: The ACC has been as deep as any conference in the country lately. Two years ago they sent 10 teams to bowl games. What the ACC hasn’t done is have a team that was legitimately in the national championship conversation in late November. That’s because Florida State and Miami, who were supposed to be the foundation for football of this conference when it expanded, have both hit rough times. Both appear on the way back. But until they do get back, the ACC really needs to pick up some signature wins early in the season. That’s why North Carolina’s game in Atlanta with LSU and Virginia Tech’s meeting with Boise State on Sept. 6 in Landover, Md., are just huge for the league. They have to split these games. They can’t start the weekend 0-2. The ACC also big non-conference games as Miami travels to Ohio State and Florida State goes to Oklahoma, both on Sept. 11. The ACC cannot go 0-4 in those games.

 

5. The championship game is moving again: The ACC got very mixed attendance results holding its championship game in Jacksonville and Tampa. Those locations were picked as a hedge against the weather with the hope that at least one of the Florida teams would be in the game.

Now the game moves to Charlotte, which is in the middle of the ACC footprint and the state where four of its members are located. A bunch of other schools (Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Virginia) are but a few hours away by car. The hope is that this proximity will spur sales of local tickets by fans who aren’t connected to either team. That’s how the SEC has always been sold out in Atlanta. All of the local tickets are gone each year in June.

“We feel good that the road to Charlotte is going to be a very special experience,” said Michael Kelly, the ACC’s associate commissioner for football. “We’re excited about the atmosphere that is going to be created in downtown Charlotte.”

It would help, everybody here conceded, to have a team that was in the national championship hunt play in the conference title game. Yes it would.

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100 comments Add your comment

DeepDiver

July 26th, 2010
6:15 am

You got to be up early to be first

Edsak

July 26th, 2010
6:16 am

#2 BAMA FAN

July 26th, 2010
6:19 am

With FSU and Miami down the ACC only has Tech and VT as the bell cow of the ACC. Guys I don’t want to rain on your parade but the ACC is nothing but a basketball conference and 4 or 5 at best
football conference!! RTR

Mike Clowdis

July 26th, 2010
6:35 am

Somebody give #2BAMA FAN the Captain Obvious Award for the day. How long did it take you to figure that out?

Top Dawg

July 26th, 2010
6:38 am

Crickets chirping…..

OB-1

July 26th, 2010
6:49 am

I don’t agree with you #2 Bama, top to bottom I think the ACC is good, what the ACC doesn’t have is exactly what is stated in point #4. The SEC has Florida and Bama on top and 4 or 5 hopefuls and then 4 or 5 bottom dwellers, The Big 10, right now, have Ohio State and Penn State on top with 4 hopefuls and 4 bottom dwellers, The Big 12 Texas, OU, and UN with the rest being bottom dwellers, the PAC USC and then 4 or 5 real good teams and 4 bottom dwellers, do you see a pattern here. The ACC nee U and FSU to get back to their old selves and with VT that would bring the ACC up to 3 top teams with 4 or 5 hopefuls and 4 more that are bottom dwellers. Again each conference has their top teams, the hopefuls, and the bottom dwellers, and the only thing that really separates them is the top teams. The SEC top is probably the best in the country, but they are the best 1-2 punch.

Mark

July 26th, 2010
6:55 am

Are the officials in the ACC as poor as those in the SEC?

#2 BAMA FAN

July 26th, 2010
6:56 am

Mike don’t let the door hit you on the way out and have a great day you need it!!

naganole

July 26th, 2010
7:20 am

If FSU and UM were back to their old selves, the ACC would be as top heavy as the SEC or Big 10…

leland

July 26th, 2010
7:30 am

Mr. CF–glad to see you using triple spacing again, but you should use it throughout. Also, consider trying four or even spaces between paragraphs. Bet that would look great.

Old School

July 26th, 2010
8:11 am

I hope VA Tech beats Boise State 66-0.

reality

July 26th, 2010
8:14 am

Nothing exciting here like red panties and players getting arrested and kicked off the team…eh Top Dawg?

Spike

July 26th, 2010
8:14 am

Tony, you can say it because it is true. The ACC Media Days is a lot less interesting than the SEC. UGA-30. ACC Champs-24.

dawgcrzy

July 26th, 2010
8:14 am

nole, if if’s and buts were candy and nuts oh what a world this would be.

Water Boy

July 26th, 2010
8:20 am

The ACC is the SEC’s junior varsity. The ACC Champ last year got walked on by an 8 win Georgia team & then spanked by the Big Ten runner-up. LSU will beat UNC. I do hope VT beats Boise State. I am tired of hearing about them. The ACC IS better than the WAC & Mountain West. I’ll give you ACC people that. #1 – SEC #2 – Big Ten #3 – Big 12 #4 – ACC #5 – PAC 10

IPoopedOnABug

July 26th, 2010
8:21 am

The Aye She She, the Athletic Clown Conf, whose Conference champion aka, 2nd best college football team in the state of Ga, was beaten like a blow up doll at a tech frat party, in their nationally televised Bowl game, by a bunch of guys from the mid-west, ROTFLMAO! The alumni and fans of GT are so pathetic, there rally cry is “we were in that Game” or “we had a chance to win it in the 4th quarter” really? Who gives a crap; “yea we lost, but we fought valiantly”, awww! U lost dumb @$$, it doesn’t matter if the game was close, that actually makes it worse, ur stupid HS offense couldn’t get close enough to Kick a Field goal to tie it up? Ur Head coach is so dumb; he doesn’t realize he’s better off playing for overtime? Kinda like saying, yea the Russian was in it…; until Rocky knocked his @$$ OUT!

OB-1

July 26th, 2010
8:22 am

nole, you’re on the way back, good luck.

Worm

July 26th, 2010
8:34 am

Charlotte has sold 38,000 tickets for the game..Decent start, but weather will probably be a factor in the final numbers.

collegeballfan

July 26th, 2010
8:51 am

Good points OB-1.

The ACC did get sunk at birth with Miami & FSU falling off the cliff.
You cannot count VT as the “savior” of the conference; except for one year they have also been “pretenders” to the throne.

The SEC is the best conference top to bottom. Big 10 and/or Big 12, (now who is the Big 12 and who is the Big 10?) are next. Is Penn State in the Big 10 or Big 12?

Lets have a new rule; conferences are not allowed to have numbers in their conference name. We can call the former Big 10 the “Snowbelt Conference” & the former PAC 10 the “Earthquake Conference”.

?????? Call it the “Agricultural Conference” dummy!

Ron Mexico

July 26th, 2010
8:54 am

Mark, the SEC officials aren’t poor, they get very large gratuities to ensure certain teams stay in the national title hunt…

gcs

July 26th, 2010
8:57 am

yawn………

.

Dostoyevskiy

July 26th, 2010
9:06 am

#2 Bama, and the SEC is no more than a loud-mouth football conference, with you as their spokesman.

Beast from the East

July 26th, 2010
9:10 am

OB-1,
Good points. I don’t see Miami making it back to the level they once were. I do see FSU making some serious strides. It seems Jimbo has re-energized them with the recruiting efforts. Now let’s see it he can coach ‘em up.

Denver Dog

July 26th, 2010
9:11 am

OB-1 you need to learn who are in the conferences before you comment upon them.

OB-1

July 26th, 2010
9:15 am

collegeballfan
July 26th, 2010
8:51 am
Good points OB-1.
The ACC did get sunk at birth with Miami & FSU falling off the cliff.
You cannot count VT as the “savior” of the conference; except for one year they have also been “pretenders” to the throne.
The SEC is the best conference top to bottom. Big 10 and/or Big 12, (now who is the Big 12 and who is the Big 10?) are next. Is Penn State in the Big 10 or Big 12?
Lets have a new rule; conferences are not allowed to have numbers in their conference name. We can call the former Big 10 the “Snowbelt Conference” & the former PAC 10 the “Earthquake Conference”.
?????? Call it the “Agricultural Conference” dummy!

Collegeballfan; no numbers uhh, yeah I like the Big 10/11/12 being the Snowbelt Conference, the Big 12/10 being the Sunbelt or Rustbelt, and the Pac 10/12 just being the PAC.

Dawgtards ruin this state

July 26th, 2010
9:19 am

SEC has UF, Bama and LSU, which are great respected programs having great runs right now. The rest of the SEC is very average cow town football. A great top 3 and then nothing.

Damon DirtyDawg

July 26th, 2010
9:21 am

Any “good people” want a Mojito?

Mike

July 26th, 2010
9:22 am

The ACC is the deepest conference in the country where over the half the conference has a legitimate shot to win the conference (VT, GT, UNC, Miami, FSU, BC, Clemson). It does need at least one of them to become a top 5 team before it can garner the respect of being a national player, though.

ACCnut

July 26th, 2010
9:23 am

Is it Basketball season yet?

Holly

July 26th, 2010
9:23 am

Tony which conference has more grants and endowments? Sec or Acc? Oh that’s right. Acc crushes them by tens of billions. But all that matters to you and your redneck following is football wins!!!
Btw, these things are cyclical. You know it but won’t admit it.

OB-1

July 26th, 2010
9:26 am

Denver Dog
July 26th, 2010
9:11 am
OB-1 you need to learn who are in the conferences before you comment upon them.
*************************
Denver Dog: Please enlighten me as to who I messed up on; the Big 10/11/12 will pick up Nebraska in 2012, I think that is the year, the Big 12 has lost Nebraska and Colorado, the PAC will gain Colorado and Utah, or are you sore that I didn’t put your school as one of the top programs. Perhaps UGA, what has UGA done lately in the SEC, or maybe you prefer to see that written as the shhh e she?

DP

July 26th, 2010
9:29 am

Tony, please don’t give us the nonsense that the SEC championship game sold out because of geographical proximity of neutral fans to Atlanta. The last 2 Alabama-Florida championship games would have sold out in Tampa, Jacksonville or Charlotte and neither of the ACC championship games would have sold in the Georgia Dome.

And the ACC preseason event is 30% of the size of the SEC’s “by design”? Are you serious?

Huh?

July 26th, 2010
9:35 am

Apparently Edsak cares enough to read the blog, decide to post, think of something witty to say, come up blank (shocker!), then post a stupid comment anyway.

Last I checked, the SEC got swept by the ACC in bowl games.

Galen Hall

July 26th, 2010
9:39 am

I miss living in central North Carolina during football and basketball seasons. All the ACC rivalries make it interesting.

Lane Kiffin

July 26th, 2010
9:44 am

Love how TB totally ignored Day 3 of SEC media days after he got to worship Day 1 and Day 2 at the feet of Saban and THuga. I guess Auburn and UT just aren’t worth commenting on.

ACC Champs

July 26th, 2010
9:52 am

If the SEC only has 3 good teams and the ACC is so balanced top to bottom, how did South Carolina and Georgia both defeat the ACC division winners on the same day? Just wondering…..

Bud

July 26th, 2010
9:52 am

ACC keeps getting better and better. One of these years, maybe 2010, ACC could pass the SEC if this keeps up. Lots of great teams and coaches. They don’t recruit as well as the SEC, that’s the biggest difference, and they don’t have the $$$$ revenues fr facilities and stuff. But the ACC is is a major player.

Whopper Dawg

July 26th, 2010
9:56 am

By definition, there can be no hot story lines coming out of the ACC.

In order to ensure a sell out, they need to move the championship game to yet another venue. I would suggest a high school stadium somewhere.

Gene, a Tar Heel forever

July 26th, 2010
10:01 am

The ACC was based on basketball, while most other conferences were based on football. Only recently, when the ACC realized that serious revenue is in football, not basketball, that the focus became football. We’ve gotten the message, and we will compete. Maybe we are not the SEC or Big 10 yet, but don’t count us out–we’ve just started. If UNC, the # 1 basketball franchise in the nation, has gotten the message that it needs a top football program to compete financially, then the ACC is serious about the future of its football.

Paul "ManBoobs" Johnson

July 26th, 2010
10:03 am

Tony — This is one of the weeks where you actually have to earn your pay….sorry buddy. I hope you packed a case of Red Bull and a fist full of amphetamines. One other recommendation….download one of the Sudoku apps on your iPhone….that should burn a few hours of time for you at the snoooze fest.

KR

July 26th, 2010
10:04 am

Holly: you must be looking for the “Mr. College Grants and Endowments” blog. I’m not sure where you should go to find it, but Tony’s blog is dedicated to college football.

My thoughts on the ACC:

moving the title game to Charlotte is probably a good thing. Attendance really couldn’t get much worse.

I don’t think Miami will get back to their former level of prominence with Randy Shannon as coach.

It’s still too early to tell whether Jimbo Fisher will have what it takes to bring FSU back.

OB-1

July 26th, 2010
10:05 am

ACC Champs
July 26th, 2010
9:52 am
If the SEC only has 3 good teams and the ACC is so balanced top to bottom, how did South Carolina and Georgia both defeat the ACC division winners on the same day? Just wondering…..
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ACC Champs, if you are directing your post to me I said all of the conferences have top teams, hopefuls, and bottom dwellers in their perspective conference. The top schools/teams you can count on most any year, they will have some bad years every now and then. The hopefuls are those schools/teams that have some very good years in which they vie for the conference championship but for the most part are also-rans. The bottom dwellers are those schools/teams that most would call cupcakes that will have a good year every now and then.
As far as the ACC being more balanced top to bottom, well that would be the saying; “On any given Saturday”, except for a couple schools/teams.

Beast from the East

July 26th, 2010
10:12 am

Holly,
This is a FOOTBALL blog. There are other forums to talk academics. I suggest you find one if that’s what you’re looking for.

SILLY UGA FANS

July 26th, 2010
10:16 am

wow so many uga fans so worried about the state of the acc and GT, so sad. You idiots should want the ACC to be strong since you and the rest of the sec play acc teams and a stronger opponent is better for your program. I guess you like easy schedules like this years so you can maybe be right about a 10-11 win season for once lately. If not for the lucky win last season over a top team you would not have even sniffed a bowl game.

Uncle Rico

July 26th, 2010
10:27 am

Tony — You’re not going to tourture us with dispatches from Snoozapalooza all week are you? Also, are really asking us to believe that this ‘Media Days’ event, which presumably is put on so as to publicize and provide exposure to ACC football is “smaller by design”. If it is “by design” then why pray tell do they engage in such self defeating behavior? We want exposure and publicity, but only in small doses, you know it’s “by design”. This is similar to Lane Kiffin’s famous “it’s all part of the plan” reasoning.

BAMA STAN

July 26th, 2010
10:33 am

13 NATIONAL TITLES – 22 SEC TITLES!!!

Obviously agree that the SEC is better top to bottom – but I have a lot of respect for the ACC. FSU beat BAMA pretty handily 3 years ago in Saban’s first year at ALABAMA. This was before we went on our run.

The ACC may not have a true top 10 team – but you take the ACC and line up against the next wave of SEC teams – and you will have great competition.

Look at these match ups – you can mix and match different teams – and still have compelling games. These teams could beat up on each other all day.

VT vs LSU
MIA vs UGA
GT vs ARK
FSU – vs AUB
NC vs SC
Clemson vs TN
NC ST vs Ole Miss
Wake vs KY
Duke vs Vandy
Virg. vs MS STATE

The ACC is missing the signature elite program.

NOW – to get my UGA DAWG friends all bowed up – Who would you pick in these match-ups?
UGA vs Miami?
UGA vs FSU?
UGA vs Clemson?
UGA vs VT?
UGA vs NC
UGA vs GT

I am sure that on any given day – UGA could BEAT all of these teams – but to be honest – on any given day – UGA could get BEAT by any of the these teams. Remember – UGA got beat by OK STATE by 2 touchdowns – split last two agianst Tech, split last 2 agianst KY.

I personally think UGA is on the rise – but my point is the ACC is NOT the worst league out there – and has body of proud programs.

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!!

Warp Drive 1

July 26th, 2010
10:46 am

As being a GT man and a big fan – I have to admit that I wish GT was in the SEC. I like our games against Clemson, Miami and VT – beyond that – we do not play FSU that often – and the rest of the league is just not compelling to me due to geography.

I would love for GT to be in the SEC EAST – as big as the Tech, Georgia rivalry is – imagine how insane it would be if it was a conference game – with more on the line besides pride?

Would love to play Auburn every year – have a rotation with Alabama/ LSU . Have Florida, TN and SC coming into Atlanta. Yes, to me – this would be much better.

As far as academics – this is about sports. If GT wants to be a player on the national stage – we need to get the best athletes we can regionally and nationally – and take on the best. I have plenty of friends that attended UGA, Florida, S. Carolina and Auburn – all are doing well professionally and are very bright people.

Everyone drink your Coffee and chill

July 26th, 2010
10:46 am

The ACC is a SOLID conference. There are no Goliath’s and then everyone else. Every team is competitive. Better than the Big East and Pac 10. All of these nay sayers on here are prob UGA fan’s who just like giving GT and ACC people a hard time. Just ignore them. Ok, said my peace. Can’t wait for kickoff!

Savannah Jacket

July 26th, 2010
10:47 am

Tony – it is good to see you final write something that isn’t about the SEC, eventhough you had to start out by setting up all of your SEC boys with how the ACC media days were “no where near as big” as the SEC.

This year is going to suprise a lot of people. The ACC is going to get over the hump and win the majority of thier OOC games and place 2 teams from the Coastal in BCS games this year. Best case senerio would be to have GT and VT both go undefeated other than one team loosing there head to head on Nov 4th. Winner goes on to win the ACC and play for the National Championship. Loser wins out and gets an at-large bid and beats a Conferance Champion.

The ACC is back!!!!

G8R GRAD

July 26th, 2010
10:54 am

Moving the ACCCG to Charlotte.
Great idea.