GREENSBORO, N.C. – The 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference football schedule released Thursday by Commissioner John Swofford is once again one of the most difficult non-conference slates among the Power Five Conferences.
ACC teams will play more games against teams that are ranked in ESPN’s Too Early Top 25 rankings for 2015 (12) than any of the other Top Five Conferences. The ACC’s total is also more than double the number of games played by the next closest Power Five league.
ACC teams are also playing games against opponents who had a higher FBS (.536) and overall (.536) winning percentage in 2014 than any other Power Five Conference.
“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.”
The ACC will again have a strong presence on the opening weekend of college football, beginning with North Carolina meeting South Carolina on Thursday, Sept. 3 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. That will be followed on Saturday, Sept. 5 by Louisville facing Auburn in the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and Virginia travelling to face UCLA at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
The ACC will then continue its tradition of national exposure on Labor Day Monday, as defending national champion Ohio State travels to Blacksburg, Va., to face Virginia Tech on Monday, Sept. 7. The Hokies were the only team to defeat the Buckeyes last fall, claiming a 35-21 decision in Columbus, Ohio. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN. The game will mark the 11th appearance in 12 years by an ACC team on Labor Day Monday Night since the telecasts began in 2004. It will also mark Virginia Tech’s third appearance on Labor Day Monday.
The schedule also incorporates six games against Notre Dame, which will be in its second year of its football scheduling agreement with the Conference this fall. Clemson (Oct. 3), Virginia (Sept. 12) and Pitt (Nov. 7) will host the Irish, while Georgia Tech (Sept. 19) and (Wake Forest (Nov. 14) will travel to Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame will also hold a home game at Fenway Park in Boston, hosting the Boston College Eagles there on Nov. 21.
In all, the schedule includes 56 regular-season conference match-ups over a span of 13 weeks and is capped off with the 11th Annual Dr Pepper Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship Game, which returns to Charlotte, N.C. this year and will be played on Saturday, Dec. 5 in Bank of America Stadium.
Including games against the 11 ACC teams which earned bowl bids in 2014, no ACC team will face fewer than six opponents that went to bowl games last fall, with Virginia facing the most with 10 followed by Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech with nine each. Boston College, Clemson, North Carolina, Pitt, Syracuse and Wake Forest will each face eight teams that were in bowl games last fall.
ACC teams will also play 12 non-conference games against eight teams selected by ESPN.com in its early preseason Top 10 including matches with 2014 defending national champion and projected second-ranked Ohio State (Virginia Tech), seventh-ranked UCLA (Virginia), eighth-ranked Georgia (Georgia Tech), 12th-ranked Notre Dame (Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Pitt, Virginia and Wake Forest), 14th-ranked Auburn (Louisville), 17th-ranked LSU (Syracuse) and 20th-ranked Boise State (Virginia).
In all, ACC teams will play 17 games against non-conference teams that appeared in the Associated Press Top 25 at some point during the 2014 season and 15 games against non-conference teams that were ranked in the College Football Playoff Rankings at some time during 2014. Both numbers are the most of any Power Five Conference.
Nonconference opponents that earned bowl bids this past season include Auburn, Boise State, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Georgia, Houston, LSU, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame (6), Ohio State, South Alabama, South Carolina (2) and UCLA.
The ACC will play four games nationally-televised by an ESPN platform on Thursday night beginning with North Carolina and South Carolina meeting at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte (Sept. 3) for the first Thursday night game of the year. Louisville will then host Clemson (Sept. 17) followed by North Carolina at Pitt (Oct. 29) and Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (Nov. 12).
Since 1991, ACC teams have played in 93 games on ESPN’s Thursday Night package with its teams making 163 appearances.
The league will also play five nationally-televised Friday games on ESPN platforms, with Boston College hosting Florida State (Sept. 18): Boise State at Virginia (Sept. 25); NC State at Virginia Tech (Oct. 9); Louisville at Wake Forest (Oct. 30), and Pitt hosting Miami on Thanksgiving Friday, Nov. 27.
The ACC Digital Network, official home of ACC Video and Highlights, will give fans a close look at the highlights of the 2015 ACC Football Schedule with its “Games to Watch”, “ACC Contenders: Can FSU Four-Peat?” and a special edition of its daily series “ACC Now”. The 2015 Football Schedule Release videos are available on theACC.com, ACC mobile apps, as well as various streaming and connected mobile and TV devices such as Amazon Fire, Apple TV and Roku.