ACC is on the rise

July, 8, 2011
7/08/11
3:30
PM ET
If you haven't heard it enough already, you're sure to hear more this summer about the strength (or lack thereof) of the ACC as the opening kickoffs draw near.

The ACC will be judged nationally based on its results in nonconference matchups like Florida State-Oklahoma, Miami-Ohio State, Clemson-Auburn, and Florida State-Florida -- just to name a few.

Win or lose, though, you know the saying: There's always next year, and for the ACC, that couldn't ring more true.

College football fans should expect some bumps along the way for the ACC this season. Clemson had an offensive overhaul, Virginia Tech has more questions than many probably are willing to concede, Miami and Maryland both have new head coaches, and every team in the conference has a legitimately tough schedule. The overriding issue for the ACC, though, will be the transition at quarterback for more than half of the teams. Rookie mistakes are bound to happen, but so are jaw-dropping plays that are going to get you excited about the future of ACC football.

While Florida State is leading the race to represent the ACC in the national championship game, Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina and Clemson have also been recruiting very well. Duke and Virginia, which have been stuck at the bottom of the ACC, are slowly and quietly putting pieces in place to return to the postseason.

The ACC is deeper than most give it credit for.

If these young quarterbacks mature and progress the way many expect, if programs like Miami and Clemson can find some coaching stability, and if teams continue to win on the recruiting trail, it will only be a matter of time before the ACC is in the national spotlight for all of the right reasons.

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