What can we learn from the ACC schedule? At least six things.
1. Georgia Tech will be only one of two ACC teams to play all of its games on Saturday, as 12 of the 14 teams will take part in one or more of ESPN’s weeknight games – one on Labor Day, five on Thursday and three on Friday. N.C. State, which went winless in ACC play for the first time since 1959, was the other. Senior associate athletic director Ryan Bamford said that he was told that Tech was a candidate for a road game – the school requested to not be assigned a Thursday night home game this year – but that it didn’t work out.
Last year, 10 ACC teams were part of the ESPN weeknight package.
The Friday night games are a part of ESPN’s ACC package, but Tech is committed to not hosting one out of respect for the state’s high school games played on Friday nights. It would be open to playing in one on the road, which would be different.
2. By my count, three teams will play two teams that will have an extra week’s rest – Florida State (Miami and Boston College), Syracuse (Wake Forest and N.C. State) and Duke (Virginia Tech and Miami). This doesn’t include teams playing games where both teams have an open date prior to playing.
3. Syracuse has some of the same scheduling gripes that Tech did last year. It is the only team with an open date in the second week (as Tech did last year) and also has the two teams coming off open dates when they play the Orange. Plus their open dates are 10 weeks apart – the longest stretch of any team.
As was the case with Tech last year, the second week open date was logistically unavoidable. Eleven of the 14 teams had nonconference games scheduled for Sept. 6, and the ACC matched up Boston College and Pitt that week, leaving Syracuse with no choice but to take an open date.
4. N.C. State might also like a word with the ACC. The Wolfpack will get Florida State and Clemson back to back to open their ACC schedule.
5. As was the case last year with the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech game, the Duke-UNC game will be played on five days’ rest for both teams, both after division games (Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh, respectively). Not the ideal for playing a rivalry game.
6. In the Coastal Division, I’d say Virginia Tech made out best with its crossover games. The Hokies play Boston College (its permanent partner) and Wake Forest, who were a combined 11-14 last year and both return 10 starters, fewest in the ACC. The crossover loser is probably Virginia, which gets Florida State and Louisville, which will replace Maryland as its permanent crossover partner. Quite an upgrade for the Cavaliers.