GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Today was the first full day of ACC media days at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro. League commissioner John Swofford kicked things off today, and after that we got a chance to speak with players from all 14 ACC schools. Tomorrow, we'll get the coaches. For now, here are a couple of notes from the first day...
- Swofford didn't have any significant news since when we last spoke to him down at Amelia Island at the ACC spring meetings in May. The ACC is still "strategically evaluating" the idea of an ACC TV channel, but it sounds like we're at least a year away from any sort of meaningful progress. There hasn't been any real movement to re-align the ACC divisions (though Swofford noted that there were discussions about it every time a new team entered the league). He refrained from commenting extensively about the ongoing Miami investigation or the pending Ed O'Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA.
- Swofford did say that he was looking forward to taking advantage of the ACC's new expansive footprint.
"It's a balancing act, but we've got a new footprint now, and you've got to take into account that new footprint," he said. "The balancing act is about meshing the tradition and history and a smaller footprint with the future and what's best going forward with an expanded membership and the new markets that you have. It's meshing new markets with old markets. Hopefully we'll do justice to both."
- It sounds like there will be some changes made to the ACC bowl payout structure in the near future. Namely, teams that go to bowl games will get more than teams that don't to ensure that teams going to bowl games don't have to take losses. There's nothing finalized, but Swofford sounded optimistic.
"We have had discussions without reaching conclusions at this point in time," he said. "I'm pretty sure there'll be some changes in how the financial aspects of the bowls are handled.
"It's not right for a team to play in a game to lose money and for a team not to play in a bowl game and come out ahead of the game. That's one thing you want to avoid."
- Swofford expanded a little bit more on how exactly the new "pooled" bowl system that the ACC announced last week would work. Basically, the bowls will be structured into tiers, and each bowl in a tier will submit which available team they would like to host. If multiple bowls request the same team, Swofford will work with the bowl games to create optimal match ups.
"We'll look at geography, we'll look at the opponent, whether that team has been there in recent years," Swofford said. "If they were there the year before, it's probably better for them to be somewhere else in the future. There's going to be more flexibility to it and we think that, while there may be some more heartburn getting there, we think overall it'll be better for the teams, for the fans and for the bowls. That's the idea, just have some flexibility."
- Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner had some thoughts about the opener against Pitt. I'm just going to leave this here.
"That's a big game for them, it's a big game for us," Joyner said. "They want to knock off the top dogs, or who people consider the top dogs in the ACC, and we want to show them that, 'Hey this is the reason that Florida State is the top dog in the ACC.' We're going to welcome y'all to the ACC the right way and let you know that this is not a cakewalk conference. We play football in the ACC."
- The ACC has a lot of talented quarterbacks. This isn't exactly breaking news, but it's pretty evident when Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech), Stephen Morris (Miami) and Bryn Renner (North Carolina) all march into the same room one after another.
"I think the best in the nation if you really look at it," Morris said. "Tajh Boyd has done a lot of great things, Bryn Renner's an unbelievable quarterback, everything that he's done. We're aways competing, we're always going to be up there. ACC is known for a lot of different reasons, but I think the quarterbacks have a great opportunity to excel."
- While the ACC is certainly known as an offensive league, Clemson linebacker Spencer Shuey thought the defenses are pretty good as well.
"There's definitely some great quarterbacks in the conference, but I think a lot of the great defensive players have gotten just as much recognition and they've gotten what they've deserved," Shuey said. "They probably won't make the SportsCenter highlights or anything like that, but throughout the organization, throughout the teams, the coaches see what's done and they definitely recognize it there and I think that's what's really important."