What's on tap in the ACC with the long offseason about to come to an end?

By next weekend, players for every

Atlantic Coast Conference

football program will be checked into their respective campuses and will be geared up for the start of practices.

So, to get you through one last entirely football-less weekend, here's a collection of topics, questions and things to watch with 35 days left before the ACC's first full Saturday of games.


Hang in there. The offseason wait is almost over:

Though nine ACC teams are slated to kick off their seasons Sept. 1,

North Carolina State



will get the season started for both the ACC and

Southeastern Conference

on Aug. 31 in Atlanta. N.C. State's Mike Glennon faces a secondary that helped Tennessee finish 12th in the nation last season in passing defense (178 yards per game) and has all four starting defensive backs returning.


On Sept. 8, running back Montel Harris and Temple play


. What's the big deal? It'll be Harris' only game this season against an ACC opponent, after transferring from

Boston College


Can Michael Rocco hold down the starting quarterback job at


and fend off


transfer Phillip Sims from Oscar Smith High in Chesapeake? How long is Rocco's leash?

Along those lines, will Hampton High alum

David Watford

redshirt this season at U.Va.?

Toastier hot seat: Maryland's

Randy Edsall

? Or Boston College's Frank Spaziani?

There's a shortage of proven pass-rushing threats at U.Va. Perhaps defensive end Bill Schautz can lend a hand if he's fully recovered from his badly broken leg.

Virginia Tech

quarterback Logan Thomas is considered by


draft guru Mel Kiper to be a potential top-five pick in next year's draft if Thomas opts to forgo his senior season. Thomas will need to have a season comparable to last year (3,013 yards passing, 19 touchdowns passing, 10 interceptions, 469 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns rushing), when he did it with a more experienced corps of wide receivers.

Georgia Tech

at Virginia Tech on Sept. 3: Coastal Division championship game (already)?



Florida State

on Sept. 22: Atlantic Division championship game?

Maybe FSU quarterback EJ Manuel or Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins can generate some

Heisman Trophy

buzz coming out of that Sept. 22 game. The only two Heisman winners in ACC history have been FSU quarterbacks (

Charlie Ward

in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000).

Barring injury,


receiver Conner Vernon will likely become the most prolific pass-catcher in conference history. He needs 35 catches (has 198 career) and 843 yards (has 2,675 career) to take over career leads in both categories.

N.C. State's David Amerson will past the ACC's career interceptions mark (21 by former

Wake Forest

cornerback Alphonso Smith) if Amerson even comes close to duplicating last season's effort. He has 13 career interceptions, all of which came last season, led the nation and set the ACC single-season record.

Virginia Tech finished among the nation's elite last season in scoring defense (seventh; 17.6 points per game) and total defense (10th; 305 yards per game). The progress of new starting safeties Detrick Bonner and Kyshoen Jarrett, and the health of linebackers Tariq Edwards, Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and


Taylor will be big factors in determining if Tech can maintain those high standards.


North Carolina

make its postseason-less 2012 campaign meaningful by sneaking up and winning the Coastal Division? With new coach Larry Fedora's no-huddle spread offense, it's possible.

Looking for impact freshmen? Virginia Tech's backfield (Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman) and Maryland's skill positions (running back Wes Brown and receiver Stefon Diggs) should have them.

U.Va.'s Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses: Do the Cavaliers have the nation's best offensive tackle duo?

No quarterback in the nation may have better weapons around him than Clemson's Tajh Boyd, a Phoebus High graduate.

Perry Jones will try to become U.Va.'s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2004, when Alvin Pearman ran for 1,037 yards.

Best non-conference game? Nov. 24,

South Carolina

at Clemson.

Lopsided "rivalries": Virginia Tech has won eight straight against U.Va.; N.C. State has defeated UNC five consecutive times.

Keep an eye on how FSU, UNC, U.Va., Clemson, Maryland and Virginia Tech finish up their 2013 recruiting classes. All six schools could be among the nation's 25 best.

Can Virginia Tech defensive end James Gayle, a Bethel High graduate, lead the conference in sacks? He had a team-best seven last season.

Does the ACC have enough overall strength top-to-bottom to warrant a second straight

Bowl Championship Series

at-large bid?

What visual atrocity will the designers of Maryland's uniforms try to shove before the pained eyes of the college football-viewing world?

If Georgia Tech can develop a steady pass-rush from somebody other than linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, defensive coordinator and former U.Va. coach

Al Groh

may have his best unit in three seasons in Atlanta.

Will Wake Forest be able to keep quarterback Tanner Price healthy? The Demon Deacons surrendered 35 sacks last season (second-most in ACC), and have just one returning offensive line starter this season.

Where have all the great ACC tight ends gone?

In theory, passing offenses should excel. It's the first time the ACC has ever had double-digit returning starting quarterbacks (10).

Players dealing with the most pressure? Thomas, Manuel, Watkins, Boyd, Glennon and UNC's Bryn Renner and Giovani Bernard come to mind, but how about once highly-recruited and as yet unproven Virginia Tech senior right tackle Vinston Painter?


, which will have new starters at quarterback, running back and two receiver positions, could have one of the ACC's most anemic offenses unless some breakout players emerge.

Toughest defensive player in the ACC? Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech's cornerback/outside linebacker hybrid.

Everybody knows about Sammy Watkins, but who's the ACC's most underrated game-breaker type? FSU punt returner Greg Reid.

Team that could surprise the most? Maryland has potential for significant improvement after going 2-10 last season.

Possible biggest flop? Let's not forget N.C. State had to win three of its last four regular season games last season just to get bowl-eligible. A 4-0 start against Tennessee, at Connecticut, South Alabama and The Citadel would provide an enormous boost.

For the second time in three years, Charlotte will be inundated Dec. 1 by various shades of Seminole garnet-and-gold and Hokie maroon-and-orange.