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Monday, May 1, 2006
Can't wait to see these things this fall

By Ivan Maisel and Pat Forde

Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall In The ACC
Ivan Maisel
Pat Forde
1. Not since Chris Weinke six years ago has Florida State had a quarterback with as much talent and promise as Drew Weatherford. The Seminoles won the ACC without a good offensive line or an experienced quarterback. If both improve, and if the defense recovers from losing four first-round draft picks, Florida State will get back in the national championship hunt.

James Davis2. Clemson tailback and ACC Rookie of the Year James Davis tantalized us last season (879 yards, nine touchdowns) with how good he could be, which is what the Tigers have been doing for years. Is this the season Davis and his teammates break through the ceiling?

3. Larry Coker slashed and burned his coaching staff with the cold efficiency of a corporate raider. How quickly quarterback Kyle Wright and pals adapt to the new system of coordinator Rich Olson will be the key to the future of the Hurricanes -- and Coker.
1. After producing an astounding 12 first-round NFL draft picks, is this league heading for a down year? Could be. Mostly what the draft showed is that the ACC didn't do a whole lot nationally with tremendous talent, pointing specific fingers at NC State (7-5 with three first-round picks) and FSU (8-5 with four picks in the top 19). That's one more reason there's pressure on Chuck Amato and growing restlessness with legendary Bobby Bowden.

2. After some uncharacteristically unproductive seasons, Miami and Florida State both have returning starters to build around at QB -- time for Kyle Wright and Drew Weatherford to prove they're big-time players. Miami has rejiggered its offensive staff, and FSU simply cannot have worse injury luck on the OL. But major questions remain.

3. Can anyone rise from the ACC's vast middle class and make a run at the title? Virginia, Maryland, Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State, North Carolina, Boston College … no league has more pretty-good-not-great teams year after year. Despite losing QB Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson is the trendy pick to crash the FSU-Miami-Va. Tech party.