The ACC has asked its schools to schedule “most, if not all, of their future nonconference road games at either Power Five teams or Army,” The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, reported.
Commissioner Jim Phillips told the outlet that the league has pushed hard for its teams to play “really good programs and teams” and said that “when you have the opportunity to play home games or home-and-homes, they need to be against the very best competition you can.”
And that means few — or no — games at Group of Five teams. Which is unfortunate news for USF.
The Bulls hosted ACC teams every year but one from 2011-18 (Miami and Florida State twice, plus North Carolina State, Syracuse and Georgia Tech). They also have home games scheduled against Louisville and North Carolina State for 2024, although the Wolfpack want to move their game to 2029, according to The News & Observer, “buying time to negotiate a buyout or for the Bulls to meet the criteria.” USF is set to host Miami in 2027 as part of a two-for-one series (with games at Hard Rock Stadium in ‘25 and ‘28).
The Hurricanes have played or scheduled several other Group of Five road trips, including Appalachian State (2016), Toledo (2018) and Temple (this September). Their 2017 trip to Arkansas State was called off because of Hurricane Irma.
Power Five administrators often cite money as a reason to play at mid-major schools; a home-and-home or two-for-one series is much cheaper than the payout to buy one home game. Opposing administrators have liked the fact that USF plays in an NFL stadium, though that will change if the Bulls’ long-awaited on-campus football stadium becomes a reality in the next three or four years.
But the games are not as compelling for TV audiences or ticket buyers compared to other options. Miami has future series scheduled against Florida, South Carolina and Auburn. FSU’s upcoming schedules include Alabama and Georgia, plus the annual rivalry against Florida. The Seminoles’ 2024 game against Memphis — an American Athletic Conference colleague of USF — is a one-off contest in Tallahassee.
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The ACC’s decision is also part of a broader trend toward more Power Five matchups. FSU’s 2026 non-conference slate, for instance, already includes ‘Bama, Florida and partial ACC member Notre Dame. The Gators’ schedule that year features FSU, Cal, North Carolina State and a cupcake against Campbell.
The push for more prestigious matchups was already going to make it more difficult for USF to lure power programs to Tampa. The ACC’s mandate only makes the job that much harder.
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