2010 ACC Season Preview While the ACC is primarily known as a basketball conference, this could be the year that the football teams' step out of the shadow. Let's take an in-depth look at the four user controlled teams: #21 Florida State Seminoles - A new era begins this fall in Tallahassee, gone are the decades of Bobby Bowden running the show instead he has been replaced by Jimbo Fisher. The change is already beginning to take shape in practices and media relations, but none of that matters if they can’t change what happens on Saturdays. The once mighty Seminoles have managed only one 10 win season in the last nine years in which they have gone 74-42. Leading the charge will be senior quarterback Christian Ponder, poised to use his final season to propel him up the NFL draft boards. Along with Ponder, the backfield seems to be loaded with talent. Whether FSU wants to rely on Ponder’s arm or the loaded backfield, the O Line is strong and capable of holding their own in the trenches. The offense is going to have play really well, if the defense does not improve over last year. The 2009 Seminole defense gave up 30+ points a game last year. This is one reason Fisher brought in Mark Stoops to help fortify the defensive side of the ball. They’re going to need it too, as FSU has one of the toughest out of conference schedules in NCAA, featuring Oklahoma, BYU and Florida. If FSU is able to survive this schedule, it will help ease the transition to the new era of Fisher. #12 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - The Yellow Jackets begin the season as defending ACC Champions, their first ACC title since 1990. Their success can be attributed to their ability to wrack up yards on the ground. GT features a triple option offense that has been able to cause chaos and confusion amongst opposing defenses. Entering his third year, Hewitt has his players in place and will set his sights on more than the ACC title. The offense should be in solid hands behind senior quarterback Josh Nesbitt. He was an all-ACC player his junior year, where he rushed for 18 touchdowns and improved his passing game as well. During the few times GT lost last year, the defense had to bear the brunt of the blame. Jacory Harris lit up the defense last year in their loss to Miami with 270 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. While, Georgia was able to rush for 339 yards in their 30-24 defeat of GT last year. If they are able to shore up the defense, the Yellow Jackets could pose a serious threat to repeat as ACC champs and maybe more. #14 Miami Hurricanes - The talk around Miami is that “the U” is back, swagger and all. Yet, talk needs to turn into results on the field. Since joining the ACC, Miami has yet to win a conference title. This is something that Miami hopes to change this season. A rough out of conference schedule, with road trips to Ohio State and Pittsburgh, should prepare them for perhaps a rougher conference schedule. With 16 returning starters, the Hurricanes are in a position to not only survive but thrive in the face of competition. Perhaps, the Canes’ biggest obstacle will be in protecting Harris. This is an O Line that ranked 100th nationally in pass protection last year. If given time, Harris can be a dangerous QB where he racked up 3,352 yards and 24 TD’s through the air last year. These numbers should only improve with another year of experience. The backfield will be an area of concern for Miami as they may have to take a more backfield by committee approach to compensate for Cooper’s knee injury. While there are questions on offense, the defense should be sharp and will have to be in order to survive their schedule. #22 North Carolina Tar Heels - The Tar Heels look to improve upon the success they had last year. They finished with 8 wins for the second consecutive year. With 16 returning starters, they have the pieces in place to meet or exceed their previous year’s win total. In order to achieve success this year, the Tar Heels will have to rely on their defense. This should be no problem considering they return five junior all-ACC defenders, in addition to the league’s sack leader in Robert Quinn. While defense may win championships, you need offense to win games. This is the achilles’ heel for North Carolina. This is an offensive unit that ranked 11th in Total Offense and 10th in scoring in the ACC. Getting the offense back on track will probably be the job of returning starter T.J. Yates, that is unless former blue-chip recruit Bryn Renner takes over at QB. Regardless of who is at the helm, the Heels have to get it together early because they open the season against #17 LSU in the kick off classic. This early season match up will set the tone for the rest of their season. *I would like to thank Athlon sports and College Football News, as they proved to be very valuable resource in writing this preview.