The preseason has officially arrived, and ACC Atlantic Division coaches and players follow the Coastal to fill the Westin Charlotte on Friday for Day 2 of the ACC Kickoff. The two-day event is split by divisions this time around, so that gives us a chance to preview the storylines and expected questions for the members of the seven teams we'll speak to.
Among the expected talking points:
What do the two favorites have to say?
Both Clemson and Florida State are expected to be in the preseason top five, so it will be interesting to see how Dabo Swinney and Jimbo Fisher approach their sessions with the media. The hype is already building around their Oct. 29 meeting as a de facto playoff game, and we’re all listening in for clues as to how each coach perceives his roster a little over a month before the season. There are questions for each -- Clemson has a retooled defense and Florida State a quarterback quandary -- but there is a lot of confidence on each side.
Has Lamar Jackson helped Louisville close the gap?
The Cardinals needed to settle on a quarterback in 2015 to set up a 2016 run, and they have done that with the sophomore Jackson. It says a lot that coach Bobby Petrino brought Jackson, who is getting Heisman Trophy dark-horse buzz, to media days after starting only a handful of games. Louisville brings back nearly an entire starting 22, so does Petrino see this as the year to possibly win the ACC for the first time since joining in 2014? The schedule is tough with Clemson and Florida State bunched up early, but there’s enough talent to pull off an upset and force a tiebreak at the end of the year.
Two Heisman Trophy candidates in the house
Clemson and Florida State are in the national title conversation because of the star backfield member each team possesses. The Tigers have the country’s best quarterback in Deshaun Watson, a Heisman finalist last season. Many have pegged him as the preseason favorite to win the Heisman while also leading the Tigers to their first title since 1981. The Seminoles counter with Dalvin Cook, a junior running back who FSU feels should have received much more Heisman love in 2015. He received only a handful of first-place votes. Their Heisman campaigns could start in earnest at media day.
Will Dabo dance?
This event is an opportunity to preview the upcoming season. Hopefully Swinney takes this opportunity to sample some of his moves planned for 2016.