The weather is starting to heat up. And the buds on the trees are finally starting to bloom.

But while spring has officially sprung, this weekend will have the distinct feel of fall around the ACC as the final 9 conference teams – including newcomers Cal and Stanford – hold their annual spring football games.

Much of the attention will be focused on Tallahassee. And not because of Florida State’s ongoing legal battle with the ACC. But rather, because of the massive turnover in the Seminoles’ roster as they try to put themselves back in position for another championship run.

Saturday’s games will also feature the debut of new coaches Manny Diaz at Duke and Fran Brown at Syracuse, along with some spirited quarterback battles. And a stealth game in Chapel Hill.

It will be the last glimpse of ACC football we get until the leaves begin to turn and autumn actually arrives.

So let’s enjoy the moment.

But before we do, here’s 1 question I have about each spring game:

Cal – How much progress has the newly revamped offensive staff made?

The Bears improved from 96th nationally in scoring offense in 2022 to No. 52 last season and they return 1,300-yard rusher Jayden Ott from a team that won 6 games and played in the Independence Bowl. But with the architect of that progress, former coordinator Jake Spavital, now at Baylor, it’s up to his replacement – offensive line coach Mike Bloesch – to keep the momentum going. In addition to Bloesch’s promotion, Sterlin Gilbert has been added to the staff as passing game coordinator while Mike Saffell has been elevated from graduate assistant to full-time assistant coaching tight ends. In addition to highlighting the new staff’s progress, Saturday’s Spring Showcase will also be an opportunity to handicap the quarterback battle between incumbent Fernando Mendoza and North Texas transfer Chandler Rogers.

Duke – Where does the 3-way quarterback battle stand heading into the summer?

Henry Belin IV threw a pair of touchdown passes to help beat NC State last season in his only career start before getting hurt. That opened the door for Grayson Loftis, who went 3-2 as a starter including a victory in the Birmingham Bowl after getting thrown into action. Both, however, are underdogs to Texas transfer Maalik Murphy in the battle for the Blue Devils’ starting quarterback job. Murphy is the favorite not only because he’s a former 4-star prospect, but because he’s also the only one brought in by new coach Manny Diaz. Saturday’s Blue-White game will go a long way toward determining a pecking order heading into fall camp. And presumably, which of the 2 holdovers will enter the transfer portal.

Florida State – How well has Mike Norvell reloaded and how much work does he still have left to do?

If anything substantive can be taken from the Seminoles’ Orange Bowl embarrassment at the hands of Georgia, it’s that Norvell and his staff have their work cut out for them if they hope to keep their team at or near the top the ACC standings and national polls. Saturday’s Spring Showcase will be a 1st look at how well they’ve replenished the talent pool. Among the transfers to watch are quarterback DJ Uiagaliei, who has the unenviable task of replacing the irreplaceable – at least as far as the CFB Playoff Committee is concerned – Jordan Travis and edge rusher Marvin Jones Jr., brought in from Georgia to fill the void left by All-American Jared Verse. Running back Jaylin Lucas from Indiana and wide receiver Malik Benson from Alabama are also key free agent pickups. As much work as Novell has done, Saturday’s game will also provide him with an indication of which holes he still has left to fill now that the portal has opened back up.

Louisville – Who’s still on the roster and who’s not?

The Cardinals will be the 1st of the 7 ACC teams playing spring games this weekend to take the field when they hold their annual Red and White game under the lights Friday night. While there is no shortage of on-the-field storylines to go around, including the Louisville debut of 7th-year transfer quarterback Tyler Shough, much of the attention will be focused on recently published reports of a transfer portal exodus. Among those named as possible departures are multiple offensive linemen, defensive lineman Jermayne Lole and running back Peny Boone, who has only been with the program for 3 months after arriving as a transfer from Toledo. Tracking who and how many players are available for Friday’s game might be as important as how they all perform.

North Carolina – Why isn’t Saturday’s game being televised?

If you’re interested in what the Tar Heels’ defense will look like under new coordinator Geoff Collins or how Texas A&M transfer quarterback Max Johnson is adapting to life as Drake Maye’s replacement, you might want to make plans to be at Kenan Stadium on Saturday. Because that’s the only way you’re going to find out. UNC’s spring game was originally scheduled to be televised by ACC Network. But coach Mack Brown pulled the plug on those plans by working out a deal with the network to skip Saturday’s festivities. At a press conference last week, Brown suggested that he didn’t want to give his team’s upcoming opponents a competitive advantage by seeing all the defensive changes that have been made, and by scouting the quarterback battle between Johnson and Duke’s Mayo Bowl starter Conner Harrell. If you’re planning to go, the game kicks off at 3 p.m. with a fan fest starting 2 hours earlier. Admission is free.

Stanford – Will a freshman lead the Cardinal’s fresh start in the ACC?

Ashton Daniels is the incumbent starter at quarterback for the Cardinal. But after throwing almost as many interceptions (8) as touchdowns (11) for a team that lost to Sacramento State and won only 3 times all season, his hold on the starting job is tenuous as best. His role for Stanford’s inaugural ACC season will likely be determined by how quickly prized freshman Elijah Brown has progressed during his 1st 15 college practices. All indications that the strong-armed 4-star prospect has had a productive spring. A strong showing in Saturday’s scrimmage could thrust him straight to the head of the class heading into the fall.

Syracuse – Who will be on the receiving end of Kyle McCord’s passes?

Landing Ohio State transfer McCord as the trigger man for the offense was the 1st big victory of Fran Brown’s tenure as the Orange’s new coach. But a quarterback is only as good as the receivers he has to throw the ball to. As Syracuse fans are only too aware. Their offense sputtered to a stop last season after an early injury took out All-ACC pass catcher Oronde Gadsden II. Gadsden is back. So is Dan Villari, who has returned to tight end after playing several roles – including quarterback – a year ago. Saturday’s game will be the 1st look at how well Brown replenished the receiving corps by bringing transfers Jackson Meeks and Zeed Haynes with him from Georgia. It will also be an opportunity for 3-star freshman Ta’Ron Haile to show off the big-play potential he’s displayed throughout the spring.

Virginia – Can the Cavaliers be as together on the field as are off it?

Sophomore Anthony Colandrea is still engaged in a tight battle with graduate Tony Muskett for the starting quarterback job. But he’s already acting like a team leader. During UVa’s spring break, he organized a team-building field trip to his hometown of St. Petersburg, Fla. for a group of his receivers and running backs, including transfers Chris Tyree, Andre Greene Jr. and . Unlike most college students, they didn’t go to the Sunshine State to party. They went to work, getting up early each morning and spending several hours a day running passing drills and familiarizing themselves with the playbook. We’ll get to see just how much that bonding experience, along with a full complement of spring practices, has helped them prepare for what is likely a win-or-else season for coach Tony Elliott.

Wake Forest – What has Dave Clawson done to bounce back from a dismal 2023?

Change has been in the air for Clawson and the Deacons this spring. And that’s a good thing, considering that is coming off a losing season in which it missed out on bowl eligibility for the 1st time in 8 years. According to the veteran coach, there are as many as 30-35 new players on the roster, many the result of a more aggressive use of the transfer portal than ever before. But the turnover in personnel isn’t the only adjustment that’s been made. Clawson also changed his practice formats in an effort to address the depth issues that plagued the Deacons in 2023 and the newcomers up to speed as quickly as possible. With particular attention to an offensive line that allowed an ACC-high 49 sacks last season. Among the new wrinkles were 2 separate live 11-on-11 drills held simultaneously on adjacent fields. Saturday’s spring game will be the 1st induction of how well the plan worked.