Tuesday, July 24, 2012
What we learned at ACC media days
By Heather Dinich
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Media days have come to an end at the Grandover Resort, and after two days of interviews with players and coaches, a few lessons were learned at the ACC Football Kickoff. Here is a quick summary of this year’s hot topics, in no particular order:
1. The usual suspects are once again the front-runners. Florida State and Virginia Tech were again picked to win their respective divisions, and the Noles were predicted by the media to win the program's first ACC title since 2005. This should come as no surprise. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said he is more confident in his team than he was a year ago because of the depth that has developed in the program.
2. More change is coming for the ACC. Commissioner John Swofford said the league is exploring several scenarios for an Orange Bowl partner and is also looking into the possibility of a scheduling partnership like the one that fell through between the Pac-12 and Big Ten. Swofford said a broad group could be a possibility for the Orange Bowl, and that there is interest in Notre Dame.
3. If the coaches had it their way, the ACC would stay at an eight-game conference schedule. Most coaches throughout the league like things the way they are -- particularly those who already have a built-in SEC rival. The athletic directors have already decided, though, to move to a nine-game league schedule once Pitt and Syracuse join the league in 2013. "We're headed in that direction unless the athletic directors felt they'd want to revisit that and change it," Swofford said. "They discussed that as recently as May at our spring meeting, and the supermajority continue to prefer going forward with a nine-game schedule."
4. There are far more questions than answers for Miami. Coach Al Golden said he has no idea when the program might get closure on the ongoing NCAA investigation. A recent Yahoo! Sports story has implicated Golden in the violations, alleging that his staff violated recruiting rules. Golden declined to provide further details on the report and reiterated that he stands by his record of compliance.
5. North Carolina has moved on. A new era has officially begun in Chapel Hill, and first-year coach Larry Fedora was one of the more popular coaches interviewed Monday. Those within the program say they have put the NCAA investigation and sanctions behind them and that they are ready to concentrate on football again. The Tar Heels will have entirely new offensive and defensive schemes this fall, and Fedora said time will tell if he has the personnel to fit them.