ACC Kickoff: Dates, schedule, five things to watch

Written By Bill Bender
(AP Photo)

Vital Info

WHAT: ACC Kickoff 

WHEN: July 19-21 

WHERE: Pinehurst Resort (Pinehurst, N.C.) 


NEED TO KNOW: The two-day event features player interviews on Monday, July 20, and coach interviews on Tuesday, July 21.

MORE: SN Top 25 | All-Americans | Top 25 conference matchups

Five things to watch 

WHO WILL STOP THE ‘NOLES? Last season’s record-setting ACC Kickoff revolved around Jameis Winston and Florida State. The Seminoles are still the defending champions, and transfer quarterback Everett Golson is one of the leading storylines in this year’s event.  Florida State seeks a fourth straight ACC championship in 2015. Georgia Tech has won the ACC Coastal Division two of the last three seasons, and Duke won the division in 2013.  

MORE: Top 10 ACC games for 2015

“THE REMATCH”: Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer enters his 29th season as head coach for the Hokies, and a lot of the focus will be on the Labor Day showdown with defending national champion Ohio State. Virginia Tech beat the Buckeyes 35-21 in Columbus last season. 

MORE: Ranking ACC nonconference schedules 

WHO'S NEXT?: Golson isn’t the only quarterback who will be a center of conversation. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas are two of the most dynamic playmakers in the FBS. Could Watson and/or Thomas work their way into the Heisman Trophy discussion? 

NARDUZZI’S DEBUT: The lone first-year coach in the ACC is Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi, a longtime Michigan State defensive coordinator who should bring that aggressive defense to the conference. The Panthers have made seven straight bowl games, but are 25-27 the last four seasons. 

WHAT’S NEXT? Not counting Notre Dame, the ACC had 11 schools reach the postseason in 2014, and those schools compiled a 5-6 record. That’s the second straight season the conference compiled a 5-6 record in bowl games. It’s a deep-and-competitive conference looking to take the next step. 

Follow Sporting News’ college football team of Matt Hayes, Ken Bradley and Bill Bender for more college football coverage.

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