The ACC kicked off its annual ACC Media Day on Wednesday. We got the chance to hear from the Atlantic division coaches and the commissioner Jim Phillips. Currently, the ACC is facing the daunting questions about expansion and what the ACC’s plan of action to keep its members happy and competitive. Besides those big questions, there were a few key takeaways from Wednesday and Thursday’s events.
1. The ACC is loaded at quarterback
The conference that seems to get the least amount of love around the country has arguably the best collective of quarterbacks out of any conference. The league returns NC State’s Devin O’Leary, FSU’s Jordan Travis, Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman, Louisville’s Malike Cunningham, Virginia’s Brennon Armstrong, and Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke. Each one of the players listed are NFL prospects for the upcoming draft with O’Leary and Van Dyke being projected as 1st round talents.
2. New coaches everywhere
This year’s ACC Media Day had a few new coaches leading some of the programs. Miami, Duke, Virginia, and Virginia Tech each hired a new head coach. With that being said, what was telling about the new hires was that the new hires were all from the coastal division. These four programs are at different stages on the expectation scale, but each coach emphasized toughness and discipline as the key ingrediants to building their new programs.
3. The road to the ACC Championship runs through Clemson
Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers should be back to full force in 2022. They are the favorites to win the ACC even if nobody wants to admit it. Clemson has the best roster in the conference and the best head coach. 2021 was an odd drop off from what we are used to from the Tigers. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei returns as the starter for the Tigers, but he will most likely have a short leach. The Tigers recruited another 5-Star quarterback in the 2022 recruiting class. It will be interesting to see if DJ can hold onto the starting job.
4. Mike Norvell is on the Hot Seat
It goes without question that FSU’s Mike Norvell’s first season should not count against him. When Norvell took the job in December of 2019, he did not expect for a worldwide pandemic to happen. Now, heading into year 3, Norvell needs to show some level of progress if he hopes to keep the job. He’ll have help from returning starting quarterback Jordan Travis. Norvell hit the transfer portal hard this offseason, so it will be interesting to see how much better the Noles have gotten since 2021.
5. No More Turnover Chain
The most asked question of the evening was about the “Turnover Chain.” Head coach Mario Cristobal made it clear that the chain thing was over. Introduced in 2017 to motivate the players to create turnovers, it has since created a legacy of its own. Coach Cristobal believes that a chain can’t bring you swagger on the field, but your level of play can. The Canes are favorites to represent the Coastal in Mario’s first year as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes.
Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman takes the cake as the best dressed player of all the the conference media days so far. The Peaky Blinders style was fresh.