ACC Releases 2015 Football Schedule

ACC Releases 2015 Football Schedule

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The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) may have just wrapped up its last football season, but enthusiasts know that the buzz never quite ends. Come spring, member schools will be actively engaged with their practices before taking a break until midsummer for the start of fall practice.

The interlude between now and spring practice is filled with two significant dates. Next week is national signing day, the moment when high school seniors make their official commitments. The other important date took place yesterday when the conference released this fall’s schedule. Let’s review some of the notable confrontations.

Top 25 Opponents

Some have criticized ACC teams for scheduling ineffectual non-conference opponents. Certainly, while it is true that the Elons and Woffords are still present, the league will also see games against a number of top opponents. Indeed, judging by ESPN’s Way Too Early Top 25 rankings for 2015, ACC teams will have a slew of top games in the offing. Moreover, the ACC is playing a higher percentage of contests against Power Five Conference teams, 38 percent, than the other four conferences. So much for a weak schedule!

“This year’s ACC Football schedule once again showcases that collectively our league is arguably playing the toughest nonconference schedule in the country,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “In addition to the nonconference games, we have a tremendously competitive league schedule which provides our teams and fans with great games each week of the season.”

Those “great games” will begin on Thursday, Sept. 3, when the North Carolina Tarheels and the South Carolina Gamecocks converge at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. This particular Carolina tussle will give a duo of emerging teams the opportunity to take on a worthy opponent to kick off the season. Two days later Louisville and Auburn will battle it out in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome for the seminal Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Also that evening, Virginia will be playing UCLA at the Rose Bowl in California.

On Labor Day, the Virginia Tech Hokies will host the defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes. Last year, Tech handed State its only loss of the season. OSU will have revenge on its mind for that evening battle. Certainly, football fans across the country will be tuning in.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame is a conference member in all sports, with the exception of football. Nevertheless, the Fighting Irish has arranged six games against ACC opponents with Georgia Tech and Wake Forest traveling to Indiana, while the Irish will call on Clemson, Virginia and Pitt. A sixth game will be played at Fenway Park in Boston with the Irish hosting a Nov. 21 skirmish against Boston College. The Eagle’s will in effect play a road game right in their backyard.

In this fall’s schedule, the ACC is also touting each school’s schedule of games against teams that competed in bowl games last year. Every ACC team will face at least six teams that battled in bowl games last season with Virginia up against 10 bowl teams. Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia Tech will play 9 games against bowl teams and seven others will face eight teams that played bowl games last season.

Way Too Early Poll

Surely, early season polls are generally inconsequential, above all the “way too early” ESPN rankings. Nevertheless, it can serve as a sufficient method for ACC teams to gauge what they will be up against when the season kicks off in September.

To point out, Virginia Tech’s game against Ohio State will have the Hokies playing the early No. 2 team in the nation. Other games involving highly-ranked opponents include: No. 7 hosting Virginia, No. 8 Georgia will welcome Georgia Tech and 12th ranked Notre Dame scheduling six games against ACC opponents. Auburn, LSU and Boise State are three other highly-regarded teams that play ACC opponents and are likely to be ranked to start the season.

Finally, four games this season will be played before a national audience on Thursday nights and another five games will enjoy a coast-to-coast viewership on Friday nights. Of course, Saturday will also have its own share of key match ups for a national audience.

Queen City Contests

The ACC season will officially conclude on Dec. 5 when the conference championship is played in Charlotte. Thus, the Queen City will open and close the season, and will also have the privilege of hosting one of the 35 bowl games — the Belk Bowl — pitting an ACC team against an SEC opponent.

See Also — NCAA Opens a New Chapter in Conference Autonomy

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