While lame-duck Atlantic Coast Commissioner John Swofford maintains a low profile during this COVID-1, the search committee in charge of finding a replacement for Swofford is moving forward.

According to sources in the ACC, the goal is to have someone selected before Christmas, which would put that person in place by mid-January as a replacement for Swofford, who is scheduled to retire next summer.

While there have been numerous names mentioned among the leaders for the job, which is regarded as one of the better positions in collegiate athletics, two people appear to have emerged as front-runners.

Clemson University President James Clements

ESPN executive vice president for programming and scheduling Burke Magness.

Reportedly there are two other candidates also in the final mix, but they might be parachute choices if both Clements and Magness do not work out.

The choice will be an indicator at which direction the ACC, which is the middle of several key issues regarding its future, including the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the ongoing flirtation with Notre Dame as a full member.

Choosing Clements would be a clear sign that the Presidents want a more active role in athletic matters.

The Clemson President, who has been at Clemson since 2013, has been a quiet force both at Clemson and throughout the ACC since his arrival from West Virginia

 Unlike many uiversity presidents, Clements also has taken an active role in the athletic matters for the Tigers, who have emerged as one of CFB's premier powers over the past 7 seasons.

Magness is more intriguing because of his link to television, including the newly formed ACC television network, which is also an ESPN production.

Having a commissioner with that direct a linkage to television is regarded as a major asset.

Still, in this athletic year in which No patterns are obvious, the ACC could go for diversity, with the possibility of someone like Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir as a choice.

It could also take a safer path, with former ACC official and current South Florida athletic director Michael Kelly, whose credentials are solid, as a choice to guide the league through its next phase.

One thing is certain. The ACC needs visible leadership, which has diminished in the past several months with Swofford's low profile and it needs it ASAP.