ACC football: How new scheduling model impacts Clemson, Miami and more


ACC football will look totally different beginning in 2023, as the 3-5-5 scheduling format will bring to an end the always-confusing Atlantic and Coastal Divisions.

Pour one out for the soon-to-dead Atlantic and Coastal Divisions, as ACC football is going to a 3-3-5 scheduling model beginning in 2023.

The ACC announced on Tuesday this is the route they are taking from a scheduling perspective from 2023 to 2026. All 14 member institutions will compete without the antiquated collegiate construct known as divisions, as the top two teams based on winning percentage will meet at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte annually in the Subway ACC Football Championship Game.

Here is what ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement about the scheduling decision.

“The future ACC football scheduling model provides significant enhancements for our schools and conference, with the most important being our student-athletes having the opportunity to play every school both home and away over a four-year period,” said ACC commissioner Jim Phillips in a statement. “We appreciate the thoughtful discussions within our membership, including the head football coaches and athletic directors. In the end, it was clear this model is in the best interest of our student-athletes, programs and fans, at this time.”

For those who need clarity on what a 3-5-5 model is, all 14 teams will play an eight-game conference schedule with three annual opponents, alternating half of the other 10 teams annually. Thus, every team will play at least one home and road game against every other program in the conference over the course of a four-year period. This is tremendous for all the student-athletes.

ACC football: Each team’s permanent opponents in new 3-3-5 scheduling model

In addition to outlining the every team’s conference games between 2023 and 2026, the ACC has carefully decided who each team’s three annual rivals are now. Behold!

  • Boston College Eagles: Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
  • Clemson Tigers: Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State
  • Duke Blue Devils: North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest
  • Florida State Seminoles: Clemson, Miami, Syracuse
  • Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Clemson, Louisville, Wake Forest
  • Louisville Cardinals: Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia
  • Miami Hurricanes: Boston College, Florida State, Louisville
  • North Carolina Tar Heels: Duke, North Carolina State, Virginia
  • North Carolina State Wolfpack: Clemson, Duke, North Carolina
  • Pittsburgh Panthers: Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia Tech
  • Syracuse Orange: Boston College, Florida State, Pittsburgh
  • Virginia Cavaliers: Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia Tech
  • Virginia Tech Hokies: Pittsburgh, Virginia, Wake Forest
  • Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech

Looking at the traditional powers, Clemson’s trio of Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State is very navigable for now, but could be a beast if the Wolfpack hold steady and the Seminoles and Yellow Jackets ever get their stuff together. They may no longer have Wake Forest on the schedule annually, but they do not get teams like Boston College of Louisville yearly either.

As for Florida State, the Seminoles have it rough already, as they will have to play not only in-state rival Miami annually, but will continue their rivalry with Clemson for the foreseeable future. The only saving grace is they still get to play Syracuse every season. Sadly, Florida State will no longer play Louisville every year and the Seminoles former rivalry with Virginia was not revived this time.

And with Miami, the Hurricanes do not have an easy go of it either, as they must face Boston College, Florida State and Louisville annually. Interestingly, neither of these three new annual rivals played in the Coastal Division with Miami. Florida State was already their previous cross-divisional, but Miami has some connection to Boston College from their days in the old Big East.

Ultimately, the ACC is smart to only commit to this setup for four seasons. This will allow the conference to readjust its annual rivalries to matchups more compelling should they emerge. For as solid as everything looks here at first glance, there is only one major downside to this. The ACC will be the only league with an eight-game schedule once Oklahoma and Texas finally join the SEC.

Good for the ACC to get rid of divisions so that it can give its football fans better games to watch.

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