With the likely elimination of the strict championship game rules, the table is set for the ACC to go way out of its way to make football more competitive. In fact, one option is to go to three divisions. From there, the two best teams could play for the ACC Championship. The Confidential loves this idea. First, it paves the way for ND football to be more intertwined with ACC football. Second, it increases the likelihood that the two best ACC teams play for the right to move on to the playoffs. Here are the Confidential’s other thoughts…
The ACC released its schedule earlier today and even though the season is several months away, I can’t help but take a peek at some big games coming this year in the ACC.
- Rivalry: Nov 28 @ Syracuse
- Weeknight: Sept 18 vs. Florida State
- Other notable game: Nov 21 vs Notre Dame @ Fenway Park
The Eagles get a great opportunity in their weeknight game this year as they’ll get Florida State at home. After coming so close last year, BC gets a chance to get revenge. They are also one of Notre Dame’s 5 ACC matchups this year, but this will be a fun one as it’ll be played at historic Fenway Park
- Rivalry: (Non-Conference) Nov 28 @ South Carolina, (ACC) Oct 10 vs Georgia Tech
- Weeknight: Sept 17 @ Louisville
- Other notable games: Nov 7 vs Florida State, Oct 3 vs Notre Dame
Clemson could have a real chance to do something special this year especially when you look at their schedule. They get Florida State, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech at home. Any team with wins against those 3 should find themselves in good position for a New Year’s Six bid (if not a CFB Playoff spot). However, all Clemson fans know how the story goes by now, but I feel cautiously optimistic about this team.
- Rivalry: Nov 7 @ North Carolina, Nov 28 @ Wake Forest
- Weeknight: Sept 3 @ Tulane
- Other notable games: Sept 19 vs Northwestern, Oct 24 @ Virginia Tech
Not that a rivalry game needs any more hype, but last year we saw UNC go into Durham and absolutely embarrass the Blue Devils. This year, you can be sure that Duke will be looking to turn around and do the same to the Tar Heels. Also, September 19th will be the 2nd game in the new Wallace Wade Stadium and the first against a FBS team. Northwestern may not be the best of the B1G, but this is a bigger power 5 matchup than Duke fans are accustomed to.
- Rivalry: (Non-Conference) Nov 28 @ Florida, (ACC) Oct 10 vs Miami
- Weeknight: Sept 18 @ Boston College
- Other notable game: Nov 7 @ Clemson
With the departure of Jameis Winston, no one is really sure how the Seminoles will look next season. We should find out on September 18th as Florida State travels to Boston College for their first real test of the season. Later on, they travel to Clemson who will be hungry for a victory after losing the last 3 matchups against the Seminoles.
- Rivalry: (Non-Conference) Nov 28 vs Georgia, (ACC) Oct 10 @ Clemson
- Weeknight: Sept 3 vs Alcorn State, Nov 12 vs Virginia Tech
- Other notable games: Sept 19 @ Notre Dame, Nov 21 @ Miami
Even though it’s a weeknight game, I don’t think many people will be tuned in to the opener against Alcorn State. Either way, the bigger weeknight game for the Yellow Jackets will come on November 12th when the Hokies come to town. Just a few weeks later, we will find out if Georgia Tech can win consecutive games against Georgia for the first time since 2000.
- Rivalry: Nov 28 @ Kentucky
- Weeknight: Sept 17 vs Clemson, Oct 30 @ Wake Forest
- Other notable games: Sept 5 vs Auburn @ Georgia Dome, Oct 17 @ Florida State
Louisville got a schedule this year that places most of their tough games at the beginning of the season. The Cardinals get the Chick-fil-A kickoff game this year and face Auburn to open up the season. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as Clemson comes to town just two weeks later for a weeknight game. Then, Louisville travels to Florida State a few weeks after that. On the other hand, the season ends with Virginia, Pitt, and Kentucky. With a schedule like this, there are only two ways this turns out. If the Cardinals can get hot to start the season, they could find themselves in the driver’s seat of the ACC and have a (somewhat) easy road to Charlotte. Otherwise, the beginning of the season will be brutal with the end serving as a consolation for a tough year.
- Rivalry: Oct 10 @ Florida State
- Weeknight: Nov 27 @ Pitt
- Other notable games: Sept 19 vs Nebraska, Oct 1 or 3 @ Cincinnati, Oct 31 @ Duke
The Hurricanes apparently didn’t get the memo about scheduling easy non-conference opponents. They face Nebraska and travel to Cincinnati before even getting in to ACC play. It’s a bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for them as two wins here will give the team some serious momentum heading into their season opener against Florida State.
- Rivalry: Nov 28 @ NC State, Nov 7 vs Duke, Oct 17 vs Wake Forest
- Weeknight: Sept 3 vs South Carolina @ Bank of America Stadium, Oct 29 @ Pitt
- Other notable games: Sept 19 vs Illinois, Nov 14 vs Miami
You don’t see it much anymore, but this year UNC will play all of its in-state rivals plus South Carolina. Wins in all of these games could give the Tar Heels the title of state champions and the right to be known as “The True Carolina” for at least the next year. This will be a challenge however as winning a game in Raleigh and fighting off a revenge-minded Duke will not be easy.
- Rivalry: Nov 28 vs North Carolina, Oct 24 @ Wake Forest
- Weeknight: Oct 9 @ Virginia Tech
- Other notable game: Nov 14 @ Florida State
The Wolfpack open with 4 cupcake games to open the year and two of them on the road due to questionable home-and-home scheduling from a previous AD. After that, they travel to Blacksburg for their weeknight game against Virginia Tech. Later, the Wolfpack look to pick up its first win in Tallahassee since 2005.
- Rivalry: Oct 24 @ Syracuse, Nov 7 vs Notre Dame
- Weeknight: Oct 29 @ North Carolina, Nov 27 vs Miami
- Other notable game: Sept 19 @ Iowa
Pitt has a great chance to make a name for themselves this year as they get two weeknight games this year. They also have home dates with Notre Dame and Louisville. Even though there’s no guarantee of winning (or even being competitive in) those games, this is a program that could really use a fresh image. Maybe a win on national television could do the trick.
- Rivalry: Nov 28 vs Boston College, Oct 24 vs Pittsburgh
- Weeknight: N/A
- Other notable games: Sept 26 vs LSU, Oct 31 @ Florida State, Nov 14 vs Clemson
Looks like the ACC forgot to give Syracuse a weeknight game this season. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that Syracuse won’t be playing in the national spotlight this season. LSU comes to the Dome on September 26th. The schedule only gets tougher from there as the Orange will make a trip to Florida State, Louisville, and NC State. Don’t count them out of a bowl game yet though. Assuming they can start the season wins wins over Rhode Island, Wake Forest, and Central Michigan, 6 wins isn’t out of the question at all.
- Rivalry: Nov 28 vs Virginia Tech
- Weeknight: Sept 25 vs Boise State
- Other notable game: Sept 5 @ UCLA
After a surprisingly close game last year, Virginia will open their season playing the second half of a home-and-home series with UCLA. Many probably assume this game will be a blow-out, but remember, that’s what everyone said last year. The Cavaliers also have a weeknight game versus Boise State and after the Broncos have fallen from their former glory, this could be a good early win for UVA.
- Rivalry: Nov 28 @ Virginia
- Weeknight: Sept 7 vs Ohio State, Oct 9 vs NC State, Nov 12 @ Georgia Tech
- Other notable games: Sept 19 vs Purdue, Sept 26 @ East Carolina
Two of the Hokies defining non-conference games reverse locations this year as Ohio State comes to Blacksburg and the team travels to ECU. The Ohio State game is on a Monday and should the Hokies be able to pull of another upset, it should set a great tone for the season. That is, assuming they can get past ECU this year even with that game being on the road.
- Rivalry: Nov 28 vs Duke
- Weeknight: Sept 3 vs Elon, Oct 30 vs Louisville
- Other notable game: Sept 26 Indiana
Well maybe it’s not the traditional Thursday night action we’re used to, but Wake will open its season on a weeknight against Elon. They also get to host Indiana, Florida State, NC State, and Louisville. If nothing else, these should be entertaining games for the fans to watch and who knows, maybe the Deacons can get a win or two from that bunch.
Did I leave any big games out?
What games are you most looking forward to?
The rumors are that Paul Chryst of Pittsburgh will head back to Madison to coach the Wisconsin Badgers. The deal cannot be sealed until mid-week, next week, as there are specific hiring protocols for the University of Wisconsin. Still, there is no reason why Chryst would not go back to Wisconsin to coach at his alma mater and where he was offensive coordinator for several seasons. The question is… what will Pitt do if/when he bolts?
A team that required divine intervention to eke out a win, barely beat an FCS team, and required overtime to win its first game. A team that ended the season on a five-game losing streak. A team with questions surround its offensive coordinator. A once-popular head coach with a sub .500 winning percentage. A bowl season followed up by disappointment. A terrible season.
No, this is not about the 2014 Syracuse Orange football team. This is about the 2011 Syracuse Orange football team. Consider…
With only the ACC Championship Game remaining, the Confidential correspondents had no trouble listing Florida State #1 and #2. Actually, the only unanimous selections were FSU @ #1 and BC @ #6. In any event, here is how the correspondents view the top 10 in the ACC:
It is now the end of November. The regular season is down to its final week. The Conference Championship Game is set–all that is left is for some rivalry games. Here is how the correspondents view the top 10 in the ACC:
It is now mid-November. The season is down to its final weeks. The Atlantic is clear, the Coastal is essentially down to two teams. Here is how the correspondents view the top 10 in the ACC: