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College Football Spring Preview: The ACC

The ACC begins spring workouts this month, with spring games slated to start in early April.

The ACC is ripe with storylines coming into this season. Here are some storylines to keep track of during spring through the rest of the season.

Who does divisionless football help the most?

We officially bid farewell to the ACC Coastal Division, as the conference will go divisionless for the first time since 2020. This time, however, it is permanent. Each team has three permanent opponents and will face the other ten teams twice over the next four years, once at home and once on the road.

The ACC went to divisions after absorbing several teams from the old Big East. One of the reasons for the split is to have Miami and Florida State play each other as much as possible in the conference championship game. The rise of Virginia Tech and Clemson, coupled with the fall of Miami and the middling of Florida State, was not expected.

Now the conference returns to divisionless football. Say goodbye to Coastal Chaos with 12 different champions in 12 years. The new format instantly helps a Florida State program that is on the rise. Though the Seminoles do play the Tigers every season, either team can still reach the title game with a loss.

No team has the unfortunate task of playing both Clemson and Florida State. Another team that benefits based on their permanent opponents is Virginia Tech. If second-year coach Brent Pry get it rolling in Blacksburg, they could be a player in the conference. The Hokies' permanent opponents are Virginia, Pitt, and Wake Forest. North Carolina is another team that draws winnable permanent opponents with Duke, NC State, and Virginia.

Quarterback Storylines

Key spring quarterback battles.

Keep an eye on Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and the Boston College Eagles. Head coach Jeff Hafley needs to replace outgoing quarterback Phil Jurkovec. Emmett Morehead filled in admirably when Jurkovec was injured, but don't count out incoming freshman Jacobe Robinson. The Texas native has a big-time arm to push the football down the field.

Second-year head coach Tony Elliot has to replace veteran quarterback Brennan Armstrong in Charlottesville. Jay Woffolk returns, but transfer quarterback Tony Muskett and incoming freshman Anthony Colandrea will all compete for the starting job. If Elliot wants to turn the program around, he has to get the quarterback right.

Will second-year head coach Brent Pry return to Grant Wells, or can Baylor transfer Kyron Drones come in and take the job? Wells flashed, but his habit of turning the ball over too often followed him from Marshall. Drones, largely inexperienced after sitting behind Blake Shapen and Gerry Bohanon at Baylor, is very toolsy.

The Hokies have added some solid wide receivers as the staff continues to build the roster, so whoever wins the job will have better players around them than last season.

New faces in different places.

The ACC was the conference of quarterbacks last season. Sam Hartman, Devin Leary, and Kedon Slovis are no longer in the conference. However, some new quarterbacks in the conference and a couple of familiar names changed addresses.

Brennan Armstong: The graduate transfer rewrote the passing record book at the University of Virginia. With one year of eligibility left, Armstrong did the logical thing; he reconnected with his offensive coordinator at Virginia, Robert Anae. Will Dave Doeren let Anae implement his offense fully? It might be the only way to compete for an ACC title.

Haynes King: Georgia Tech and new head coach Brent Key have a new starting quarterback in Texas A&M transfer Haynes King. Last season's starting quarterback, Jeff Sims, competes for a starting position at Nebraska. King threw for 1220 yards and seven touchdowns for A&M last season. Georgia Tech's offense should be more quarterback friendly for King.

Phil Jurkovec: Boston College transfer Phil Jurkovec is looking for redemption after two injury-riddled seasons. The Notre Dame transfer is talented, but he has to stay healthy. Head coach Pat Narduzzi and offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti want to run the football, which should help protect Jurkovec. The Panthers need Jurkovec to play well, with Israel Abanikanda declaring for the draft.

Are these QBs ready for prime time?

Cade Klubnik: Klubnik flashed last season, but North Carolina's defense proved an excellent elixir for alarming offenses; ask Notre Dame and Appalachian State. Klubnik has all of the tools to be an excellent quarterback. Adding former TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley to the same position should give the Tigers are Klubnik a more quarterback-friendly offense.

Jordan Travis: Travis took another step forward in his development at quarterback. The three players the Seminoles signed from the Pac-12 in the portal were vital to Travis' development. Micah Pittman (Oregon), Johnny Wilson (Arizona State), and Trey Benson (Oregon) were key contributors last season. Travis and the Seminoles look to take another step and win the ACC title. FSU needs Travis to play like a conference player of the year to do that.


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