The ACC is moving forward with an 11-game football schedule, beginning the week of Sept. 7-12.
The conference’s scheduling model, approved Wednesday by its Board of Governors as long as “public health guidance allows,” includes 10 conference games with one non-conference game. The non-conference game will be selected by each individual school and “must be played in the home state” of the ACC member. Additionally, the chosen non-conference opponent “must meet the medical protocol requirements as agreed upon by the ACC.”
The ACC football season will be played over “at least 13 weeks,” with each team having two open dates. The ACC has two dates blocked off for its championship game — Dec. 12 or 19. That game, as previously scheduled, will be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
As part of the updated schedule, the ACC will eliminate divisions and add in Notre Dame as a member eligible to compete in the 2020 ACC title game. With divisions eliminated, the game will feature the top two teams in the conference based on winning percentage.
The Fighting Irish, usually an independent FBS program, will play a 10-game ACC schedule and be eligible for the Orange Bowl should they win the conference title and not reach the College Football Playoff. In recent years, Notre Dame has had a scheduling agreement with the ACC. The school’s original 2020 schedule had six ACC opponents. Not to mention, the Irish had already lost games against Wisconsin, USC and Stanford due to the Big Ten and Pac-12 decisions to play conference-only schedules.
All of the ACC’s television revenue for the 2020 season will be shared equally by all 15 schools. That includes the Notre Dame home games that air on NBC.
Scheduling arrangements for football and the ACC’s other fall sports were constructed in consultation with the league’s medical advisory group.
“The Atlantic Coast Conference recognizes the uncertain and challenging environment all areas of our society are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the conference said in a press release. “Intercollegiate athletics is just one area that we must address as we work to return to our campuses, bring back students and faculty when possible, and pursue our academic missions and goals as part of higher education. The health, safety and well-being of all our campus constituents is at the forefront of all decisions.
Added ACC commissioner John Swofford: “Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference. The Board’s decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with competition. Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate the return in a safe and responsible manner. We recognize that we may need to be nimble and make adjustments in the future. We will be as prepared as possible should that need arise.”
ACC becomes third P5 conference to make scheduling decision
The ACC is the third of the Power Five conferences to make a decision about the football season. The Big Ten and Pac-12 are both planning on playing a conference-only schedule, though neither have released details yet.
Last week, the San Jose Mercury News reported that the Pac-12 was moving to finalize a 10-game structure that would begin the weekend of Sept. 19. Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday that the SEC was “moving closer” to finalizing a similar 10-game, conference-only format.
In the Big 12, two schools — Kansas and Oklahoma — have recently scheduled games for Aug. 29 while Iowa State added a non-conference game against Ball State for Sept. 12. The NCAA issued a blanket waiver on Monday to allow FBS programs to begin play on Aug. 29 to allow for scheduling “flexibility” amid the pandemic.
Home-and-away breakdown for each ACC team
The conference’s week-by-week schedule and television arrangements will be released at a later date. Below is the home-and-away breakdown for each school.
Home: Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pitt
Away: Clemson, Duke, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech
Home: Boston College, Miami, Pitt, Syracuse, Virgini
Away: Florida State, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Home: Boston College, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Away: Georgia Tech, NC State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia
Home: Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Pitt, Virginia
Away: Duke, Louisville, Miami, NC State, Notre Dame
Home: Duke, Clemson, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pitt
Away: Boston College, Florida State, Miami, NC State, Syracuse
Home: Florida State, Miami, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Away: Boston College, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Pitt, Virginia
Home: Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Pitt, Virginia
Away: Clemson, Louisville, NC State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Home: NC State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Away: Boston College Duke, Florida State, Miami, Virginia
Home: Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Wake Forest
Away: North Carolina, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech
Home: Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Louisville, Syracuse
Away: Boston College Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Pitt, Wake Forest
Home: Louisville, NC State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia Tech
Away: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami
Home: Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, NC State, Wake Forest
Away: Clemson, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pitt
Home: Boston College, Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State
Away: Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Home: Boston College, Clemson, Miami, NC State, Virginia
Away: Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, Pitt, Wake Forest
Home: Clemson, Miami, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech
Away: Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, Syracuse
Non-conference games impacted
Because the ACC’s preferred format includes a non-conference game played in each school’s respective state, the decision removes several non-conference games from the 2020 schedule. Those games are listed below.
The list of games does not include games previously scheduled against Big Ten or Pac-12 opponents that have since been canceled, nor does it include games against FCS teams whose conferences have canceled fall sports.
What happens to traditional in-state ACC vs. SEC rivalry games like Florida vs. Florida State and Clemson vs. South Carolina is yet to be determined. A scheduling format from the SEC is expected to be announced on Friday, according to multiple reports.
Boston College: at Kansas (Sept. 19)
Florida State: vs. West Virginia (Sept. 5 in Atlanta), at Boise State (Sept. 19)
NC State: at Troy (Sept. 19)
North Carolina: at UCF (Sept. 4), vs. Auburn (Sept. 12 in Atlanta)
Pittsburgh: at Marshall (Sept. 12)
Syracuse: at Western Michigan (Sept. 26)
Virginia: vs. Georgia (Sept. 7 in Atlanta)
Virginia Tech: at Middle Tennessee (Sept. 19)
Wake Forest: at Old Dominion (Sept. 4)
Notre Dame had Navy, Arkansas and Western Michigan on its schedule. The Navy game was originally scheduled to be played in Ireland, but moved to Navy’s campus in Annapolis, Maryland, because of the coronavirus. To meet the ACC’s criteria, that game — which has been played on an annual basis since 1927 — would have to be moved to Indiana.
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