The ACC Football Kickoff begins tomorrow, and with it comes the unofficial start to college football season.
With every team in the league sending their team’s coach and two players to Charlotte for the two-day event–that features the commissioners forum, the officials press conference and, of course, the media voting for various awards–there is certain to be a laundry list of things that are near guarantees to be heard.
Today we look at the five things that will, most likely, happen at the 2017 ACC Football Kickoff.
1: Lamar Jackson will be named the ACC Player of the Year (and offensive player of the year):
Last season saw Jackson walk away every major postseason award: the ACC Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, First-team All-ACC, the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award, the AP Player of the Year, the Sporting News Player of the Year and was a unanimous All-American.
After that type of season he will once again be the media’s darling to win the ACC’s preseason top honors, and rightfully so, even though Florida State safety Derwin James could make a push for the Player of the Year honor.
James was one of the most dynamic players in college football last season before a meniscus tear cut his sophomore season short after only two games.
2: Clemson will dominate the defensive team:
The Clemson defensive unit will make their names known on the first-team ballots of many of the media in attendance.
The Tigers have the opportunity to sweep the first-team honors on the defensive line with Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell–even if they do not complete the sweep, one would expect them to not fall any further than second-team.
Joining the Tigers on the defensive side of the honors will be linebackers Kendall Joseph and Dorian O’Daniel, along with cornerback Ryan Carter and safety Van Smith. In total, one would expect no less than eight Tigers to find themselves on one of the All-ACC defensive teams.
3: Florida State will, once again, be the pick to win the league:
Following the Clemson Tigers two-year reign as the media’s pick to win the league, the voters will once again return to the Seminoles as the pick to win the league.
Even though the pseudo play-in game for the ACC Championship will be played in Clemson’s Death Valley this year, the media will place their faith in Florida State to carry the mantle for the league this season–even with Clemson winning the last two meetings and coming off appearances in the last two national title games, and winning the title last season.
4: Dabo Swinney will mention, at least once, that last season’s touchdowns don’t win this season’s games:
Okay, so maybe not in those exact words, but the Tigers head coach will mention, more than once, that the Tigers have put last season’s national championship behind them.
Whether it is the “windshield mentality”, “last season’s touchdowns” one can rest assured that Swinney will do his best to convey the message to football world that he has been preaching to his team since the January 11– this is a new team, but with the same goals.
5: Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson will continue his complaining:
The Georgia Tech head coach created a media firestorm after the conference released the 2017 football schedule saying, “The conference is trying to screw us” in an interview with the AJC.
Johnson’s Yellow Jackets will have to face three opponents that have an open date before playing them, and adding to the coach’s ire is the fact that six conference teams–Boston College, Clemson, Louisville, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest– will not face any opponents coming off a bye week.