Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
After weeks of waiting, the ACC has revealed their scheduling plans and structure for the 2020 college football season and it's headlined by a 10-game conference schedule that will see Virginia Tech face Clemson at Lane Stadium.
There's a lot to unpack here so we'll break it down by subcategory of news.
New 10-Game Conference Schedule With 1 Non-Conference Game
First is the fact that the ACC has announced that teams will participate in a 10 + 1 schedule. No dates were provided for the specific games, but Virginia Tech's 10 ACC opponents were revealed with a few changes to the schedule
- New Games: vs. Clemson in Blacksburg, vs. N.C. State in Blacksburg, at Wake Forest
- Removed Games: vs. Georgia Tech in Blacksburg
In addition to the 10-game conference schedule, ACC schools are allowed to face one non-conference opponent but that game must take place either at their home stadium or on the road against an in-state opponent. Liberty and North Alabama are the two home non-conference games that have not been canceled that are allowed under these restrictions with Liberty being the more likely of the two.
There's no doubt that this does toughen up Tech's schedule mostly due to the addition of Clemson, but the Hokies definitely have plenty of opportunity to win some big games against some of the ACC's best which could prove valuable in what will be an ACC without divisions (more on that later).
Here's a full rundown of the home and away ACC games for Virginia Tech.
- Home: Boston College, Clemson, Miami, N.C. State, Virginia
- Away: Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest
Notre Dame Joins ACC For 2020 & Is Eligible for ACCCG
Included in today's announcement was the fact that Notre Dame will be a full-time ACC football member for only the 2020 season and will have a 10-game conference schedule. Additionally, the Fighting Irish will also be elligible to compete in the ACC Championship Game should they be among the top two teams in the conference.
As part of the dead to incoporate Notre Dame, all TV revenue will be shared between the 15 teams including Notre Dame's NBC TV contract for their home games. That TV revenue, along with the brand and top 25 quality of Notre Dame, likely were key in the ACC allowing Notre Dame to be ACC Championship Game eligible.
Now we've had our opinions about allowing Notre Dame to play an ACC schedule, but not be eligible for the ACC Championship Game. However, this isn't a surprising result and the brand of Notre Dame does bring value and intrigue especially in what is a unique ACC race.
Speaking of that...
2020 ACC Structure Headlined By No Divisions
For the first time since the conference has had at least 12 members, there will be no divisions this season. Now, divisions are currently planned to return for the 2021 season, but the 2020 season will see the top 2 teams based on winning percentages earn spots in the ACC Championship Game.
Additionally, the ACC Championship Game has been pushed back from the usual first weekend in December to either December 12th or December 19th, allowing room for games to be postponed and made up later in the season in case of COVID outbreaks within teams that affect games.
The start of the season has also been formally postponed from the weekend of September 5th to the weekend of September 12th. This should gives teams more time to adapt to the return of students on campus at most universities prior to starting their seasons though Clemson has already delayed the arrival of the general student population till late September.
Meanwhile, the ACC also announced other fall sports' plans including a 6-game conference schedule for soccer and 10-game conference schedule for volleyball. Additionally, multiple sports had their fall seasons cancelled including golf though golf's championships usually happen in the spring.