Can't wait to see these things this fall

Updated: May 9, 2007, 3:48 PM ET
By Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall In The ACC
Ivan Maisel
Mark Schlabach
1. The new Miami coach (Randy Shannon) and the old Miami coach (Butch Davis, now at North Carolina) both step into new roles at success- starved schools. Can Shannon make a leap that is usually more difficult than the leaper expects? Can Davis prove that he can win at a school where, unlike Miami, he has to recruit outside of a 20-mile radius?

Taylor Bennett2. Taylor Bennett came off the bench to replace the ineligible Reggie Ball and spurred Georgia Tech to score 35 points in the Gator Bowl. Bennett now must meet raised expectations for himself and for his Coastal Division champion Yellow Jackets and do so with a new offensive coordinator (John Bond, who replaced Miami-bound Patrick Nix) and without Calvin Johnson. Yikes. Yikes.

3. I had this crazy dream that Wake Forest won the ACC last year. I have got to cut back on the dark chocolate. Let's just pretend that the Deacs did go to the Orange Bowl last season. They've got to rebuild a defense that produced 28 turnovers. They've got to open up at Boston College, followed by a home game against Nebraska. And they've got to deal with a league anxious to put Wake back in its place. Dealing with success is every bit as challenging as creating it.
1. Which traditional powerhouse gets back on top in the ACC first -- Florida State or Miami? The Hurricanes' recent slide -- an unsightly 25-12 the past three seasons -- cost former coach Larry Coker his job. The Seminoles have been even worse under coach Bobby Bowden with a 24-14 mark since 2004. Bowden vows things will get better with five new coaches on board.

Matt Ryan2. Boston College's Matt Ryan, perhaps the most underrated quarterback in the country, should flourish under new offensive coordinator Steve Logan, the former East Carolina coach. If new Eagles coach Jeff Jagodzinski can rebuild his offensive line, and if senior tailbacks L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender give the offense some degree of balance, Ryan could emerge as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate.

3. Life at Virginia Tech will never be the same after last month's shooting rampage that left 32 students and faculty dead. But Virginia Tech's students, alumni and fans take more ownership and pride in their football team than any other place I've ever been, so look for coach Frank Beamer's squad to help the healing process. Virginia Tech was already equipped for a special season, and there will be a lot more people across the country rooting for them in 2007.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball

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