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What to watch for at the 2017 ACC Football Kickoff

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What’s going to happen at a nice hotel in Charlotte?

NCAA Football: ACC Football Kickoff Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The upcoming season creeps closer and closer, and this week’s one of the top mile markers prior to opening weekend. This Thursday and Friday (July 13 and 14), the conference’s coaches, player representatives, conference leadership and media meet up at the Westin Charlotte for the ACC Football Kickoff.

Along with Dino Babers, the Syracuse Orange will be represented by senior linebacker Zaire Franklin and junior quarterback Eric Dungey. The stuff we’ll care most about takes place on Thursday:

  • 10 a.m. ET: Commissioner’s Forum
  • 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. ET: Atlantic Divis
  • ion Interviews

You can catch that action on ACC Network Extra and We’ll also be capturing the most important info here during the day.

But in advance of those sessions, what are the top things you’ll want to watch out for at this increasingly for-publicity event? We pick out some of the biggest storylines.

ACC Network update

Commissioner John Swofford has reaffirmed that a linear ACC Network will launch as planned in 2019, and there’s also been news of one distribution deal already being in place (with an unknown provider). But that’s only going to fuel more questions from attending media. Who’s the provider? What still needs to happen before the 2019 launch? What are estimates from ESPN in terms of per-school earnings? Swofford’s going to dance around all of those a bit, but he’ll certainly be prepared for all of those questions.

“Best conference in the country?”

After Clemson beat Alabama in January’s College Football Playoff National Championship, there’s been plenty of hype from media and fans alike about the ACC “overtaking” the long-dominant SEC in the sport’s hierarchy. Given this league’s gains across the board over the last four years, there’s zero chance Swofford and others avoid the chance to crow a bit. That may mean hearing too much from Dabo Swinney. But we can handle that in exchange for some pro-ACC preening.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame vs Syracuse Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Can Dino get more popular?

In a sea of new ACC coaches last year, Syracuse’s seemed to draw the most attention down in Charlotte as a humorous, smart and successful coach. And then he went out and upset Virginia Tech and announced his arrival in bold fashion. The “new” shine of Babers’s regime may be off by this point, but it’s still an exciting time to be around SU. Expect a few entertaining quips from Dino this week.

Syracuse gaining more respect from conference media

Last season’s All-ACC voting showed progress in terms of the Orange’s perception. Now we see if that holds over to year two. Dungey’s already received buzz, and Franklin is a veteran of this event. We’ll see if anyone else (Ervin Philips???) gets themselves some additional praise. Based on what people think of Dino, I’d say it’s a pretty good bet.