Breaking down ACC football's matchups through 2030

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The ACC released its new scheduling model for 2024-2030 on Monday, accounting for the additions of Cal, Stanford and SMU, which officially begin league play next season. The league protected 16 annual rivalry games. It limited travel to the West Coast for the 14 current ACC members who will each play a total of three times in California through 2030, and none will travel to California in back-to-back seasons.

ACC reporters Andrea Adelson and David Hale weigh in with their early thoughts on the new format.

What's your first impression from the release?

Adelson: The league did a good job protecting the games it absolutely had to protect, like Florida State-Miami, Florida State-Clemson, Duke-North Carolina and Virginia-Virginia Tech (among others). Having Stanford, Cal and SMU play each other annually also is a no-brainer. I am also delighted that Miami-Virginia Tech and Wake Forest-NC State are back on as protected games after they were dropped this season when the league went to no divisions and a 3-3-5 scheduling model. There will be questions, of course, about fairness. Florida State, for example, has two protected games and Clemson has only one. Georgia Tech and Louisville have zero. We still do not know yet how Notre Dame will factor into the rotation, either. But on the whole, the fact that travel to the West Coast will be mitigated for current ACC teams, geography was a central factor in scheduling, and the biggest, best rivalry games were preserved means the league did yeoman's work in creating this schedule for 17 teams scattered literally across the country.

Hale: Let's address the obvious right off the bat: There was no perfect plan for scheduling. In the era of bloated conferences and nationwide competition, everyone has to make a few compromises. In all, the ACC did a solid job addressing the bulk of the core concerns by preserving key rivalries, limiting cross-country travel and providing enough marquee matchups to keep TV partners happy. Should Florida State be upset that, more years than not, it will have Miami, Clemson, Florida and likely Notre Dame on the schedule, when some of its top ACC competition won't have quite so tough a haul? Well, Florida State being upset at the ACC is not new regardless. The Notre Dame question, however, remains the biggest one still lingering. How will the inclusion of the Irish as a nonconference partner for five or six games impact competitive balance? Does Notre Dame's annual game against Stanford count toward its contractual obligation with the ACC now that Stanford is an ACC member? As always, there are a few loose ends still in need of tying.

2024 game we're most excited about

Adelson: When the 3-3-5 scheduling model came out for this season, I was extremely vocal about my displeasure with losing Miami-Virginia Tech, a throwback rivalry from their Big East days. While the game might have lost some of its national luster in recent decades as both programs faltered, more often than not their games always delivered. Up until this season, the game had been played every year since 1992. While that number is relatively small considering the other rivalries in the conference, Miami was independent for a large portion of its history, and aside from Florida State, Virginia Tech had emerged as its biggest rival once it joined the Big East. Three of their past four games were decided by a touchdown or less, and if we want to go further back into history, these teams played 11 times as Top 25 opponents.

Hale: The two that jump out immediately are Florida State playing at SMU and Miami making the trip to Cal. For all the drawbacks of realignment and the loss of geographically aligned conferences, getting to see some of the ACC's top teams in new locales should be a boon for all parties. The Miami-Cal matchup will certainly bring back memories of the dramatic 2008 Emerald Bowl -- no? no one recalls this game? Randy Shannon, we're looking in your direction -- but the 2024 trip will actually be the first true road game in the state of California for the Hurricanes since 1995. Florida State opened the 2014 season against Oklahoma State in Dallas, but the game at SMU will represent the Seminoles' first true road date in Texas since 1976 -- five years before Mike Norvell was born. (That was Bobby Bowden's first year at FSU. The opponent? North Texas State coached by Hayden Fry!) For two of Florida's top programs, going into two states traditionally rich with recruiting talent has some distinct advantages, too.

Matchup we're bummed we won't be seeing

Adelson: It really is a bummer to see the Textile Bowl between Clemson and NC State go, a game that has been played 91 times dating back to 1899 (although NC State fans might feel a little differently considering Clemson has dominated the series). While it is understandable that the ACC wanted to protect the rivalry games between the North Carolina schools, Clemson-NC State has delivered its fair share of memorable moments -- especially over the past decade, as the Tigers have repeatedly stood in the way of NC State getting an opportunity to play in the ACC championship game. But we also got a red Solo cup and cigar-smoking Dave Doeren after a big double-overtime win in 2021, so it hasn't all been bad for the Wolfpack.

Hale: Hey, NC State has won two of the past three against Clemson, so perhaps it's the Tigers who should be pleased this game is going away. And, of course, it won't be gone forever -- just played a bit less frequently. The same is true for Clemson and Georgia Tech. But it's actually the Georgia Tech-Florida State game that I'm upset we're losing. Under the short-lived 3-5-5 model the ACC developed last year, these two schools would've played annually -- something FSU administrators long pined for, given the sizable alumni base and fertile recruiting ground in Atlanta -- but alas, it was too beautiful for this world. Of course, Georgia Tech and FSU will play in 2024 -- a game that was already etched in stone before the new scheduling model came out. It just won't be an easy commute for FSU alums in Florida or Georgia. The game will be played in Dublin, Ireland.

2024 opponents and permanent rivals

Boston College Eagles

2024 Home: Louisville, North Carolina, Pitt, Syracuse

2024 Away: Florida State, SMU, Virginia, Virginia Tech

Permanent rivals:Syracuse, Pitt

California Golden Bears

2024 Home: Miami, NC State, Stanford, Syracuse

2024 Away: Florida State, Pitt, SMU, Wake Forest

Permanent rivals:Stanford, SMU

Clemson Tigers

2024 Home: Louisville, NC State, Stanford, Virginia

2024 Away: Florida State, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Permanent rivals:Florida State

Duke Blue Devils

2024 Home: Florida State, North Carolina, SMU, Virginia Tech

2024 Away: Georgia Tech, Miami, NC State, Wake Forest

Permanent rivals:North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest

Florida State Seminoles

2024 Home: Boston College, Cal, Clemson, North Carolina

2024 Away: Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, SMU

Permanent rivals:Clemson, Miami

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

2024 Home: Duke, Florida State, Miami, NC State

2024 Away: Louisville, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia Tech

Permanent rivals: None

Louisville Cardinals

2024 Home: Georgia Tech, Miami, Pitt, SMU

2024 Away: Boston College, Clemson, Stanford, Virginia

Permanent rivals: None

Miami Hurricanes

2024 Home: Duke, Florida State, VT, Wake Forest

2024 Away: Cal, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Syracuse

Permanent rivals:Virginia Tech, Florida State

North Carolina Tar Heels

2024 Home: Georgia Tech, NC State, Pitt, Wake Forest

2024 Away: Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Virginia

Permanent rivals:Virginia, Duke, NC State

NC State Wolfpack

2024 Home: Duke, Stanford, Syracuse, Wake Forest

2024 Away: Cal, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina

Permanent rivals:Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina

Pitt Panthers

2024 Home: Cal, Clemson, Syracuse, Virginia

2024 Away: Boston College, Louisville, North Carolina, SMU

Permanent rivals:Boston College, Syracuse

SMU Mustangs

2024 Home: Boston College, Cal, Florida State, Pitt

2024 Away: Duke, Louisville, Stanford, Virginia

Permanent rivals:Stanford, Cal

Stanford Cardinal

2024 Home: Louisville, SMU, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

2024 Away: Cal, Clemson, NC State, Syracuse

Permanent rivals:Cal, SMU

Syracuse Orange

2024 Home: Georgia Tech, Miami, Stanford, Virginia Tech

2024 Away: Boston College, Cal, NC State, Pitt

Permanent rivals:Boston College, Pitt

Virginia Cavaliers

2024 Home: Boston College, Louisville, North Carolina, SMU

2024 Away: Clemson, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Permanent rivals:North Carolina, Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Hokies

2024Home: Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia

2024Away: Duke, Miami, Stanford, Syracuse

Permanent rivals:Miami, Virginia

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

2024 Home: Cal, Clemson, Duke Virginia

2024 Away: Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Stanford

Permanent rivals:Duke, NC State

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