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Fan Fest, honors and a top-15 showdown: ACC football championship returns to uptown

A top-15 matchup headlines this weekend’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship at Bank of America Stadium.

No. 4 Florida State, off to an unblemished 12-0 start, looks to secure its first trip to the College Football Playoff in nine years when it plays No. 15 Louisville. The Cardinals, who dropped to 10-2 after squandering a 10-point lead against Kentucky on Saturday, are making their first appearance in the ACC title game.

“It’s great to be in the ACC championship game — first time with no divisions, so it truly came down to the top two teams,” Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell told reporters Sunday on a video call. “We’ve got two great teams that are gonna square it off come Saturday night.”

Nov 25, 2023; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Jack Plummer (13) looks to pass against the Kentucky Wildcats during the second half at L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium. Kentucky defeated Louisville 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2023; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Jack Plummer (13) looks to pass against the Kentucky Wildcats during the second half at L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium. Kentucky defeated Louisville 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC, Charlotte Sports Foundation and Carolina Panthers in 2018 announced a 10-year agreement to hold this game at Bank of America Stadium through 2030. Excluding the 2020 game, which had limited fans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACC championship game in Charlotte has averaged about 70,000 fans (with the record being 74,514 from the 2015 Clemson-North Carolina contest).

“We’re excited about this great opportunity to go down to Charlotte and play in the ACC championship game against a tremendous, undefeated Florida State team that’s been really fantastic all year long,” Louisville head coach Jeff Brohm told reporters Sunday on a video call. “It’s a huge football game for us. We’re now in the national spotlight against an undefeated opponent that has a great chance of making the playoff. For us, we’ve got to prove our value.”

Florida State Seminoles quarterback Tate Rodemaker (18) throws the ball during the first half against the Florida Gators at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, November 25, 2023. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]
Florida State Seminoles quarterback Tate Rodemaker (18) throws the ball during the first half against the Florida Gators at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, November 25, 2023. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Florida State’s star quarterback, Jordan Travis, was carted off with a leg injury two weeks ago and is out for the season. Norvell has turned to redshirt junior Tate Rodemaker, who finished 12-of-25 for 134 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the Seminoles’ 24-15 win at Florida on Saturday.

The weekend’s festivities get underway in uptown Charlotte on Friday. Tickets to Saturday’s game can be purchased on Ticketmaster.

ACC Fan Fest

A Fan Fest will take place at Romare Bearden Park from 2 to 9 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Fan Fest is free, open to the public and will feature appearances from ACC mascots and personalities from the ACC Network’s “Chalk Talk.” There will be LED boards showing other championship games, a beer garden, food trucks, tailgate games and much more.

ACC Football Honors

Fourteen ACC football legends will be honored at the Belk Theater on Friday evening.

This year’s class includes former Boston College offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus (2004-07), Clemson offensive lineman Jeff Bostic (1977-79), Duke safety Matt Daniels (2008-11), Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward (1989-93), Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary (1987-91, 1994; 1995-2001), Louisville running back Michael Bush (2003-06), Miami offensive lineman Dennis Harrah (1972-74), North Carolina tight end Alge Crumpler (1996-2000), NC State defensive tackle Ray Agnew (1986-89), Pitt head coach Jackie Sherrill (1973-75; 1977-81), Syracuse fullback Robert Konrad (1995-98), Virginia defensive back Rondé Barber (1994-96), Virginia Tech tight end Jeff King (2001-05) and Wake Forest offensive lineman Bill Ard (1977-80).

They will be celebrated at the ACC Football Honors program, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday inside Belk Theater. Tickets to the event are $150 and include pre- and post-show receptions. ACC Network will air this ceremony on Dec. 15.

Weekend timeline

Friday:

2 p.m.: Fan Fest opens

5:30 p.m.: ACC Football Honors

9 p.m.: Fan Fest closes

Saturday:

10 a.m.: Fan Fest opens

6 p.m.: Stadium gates open

7 p.m.: Fan Fest closes

8 p.m.: Kickoff!