The ACC is ending divisions for the 2023 football season, replacing them with an eight-game conference schedule with three fixed opponents for every team.
Florida State’s annual rivalries with Miami and Clemson will continue every year. The Seminoles’ other annual opponent is Syracuse.
Miami’s fixed foes are Boston College, Louisville and FSU.
The other five conference opponents will rotate from 2023-26, allowing every ACC team to play the other 13 once at home and once on the road over the four-year cycle. That hits at a major goal in the ACC and other leagues (including the SEC): freshening up schedules that, in some cases, have become stale.
ACC commissioner Jim Phillips called this the “most important” improvement. FSU hasn’t played at Pitt since Jameis Winston’s debut in 2013, while Boston College hasn’t visited Miami in 11 years.
“The new format means our season ticket holders will see every ACC team play in Doak Campbell Stadium over a four-year period,” FSU athletic director Michael Alford said in a statement. “It also allows every ACC football student-athlete to play at each ACC school every four years which was one of the goals of the plan.”
Instead of the ACC championship game featuring the winner of each division, the two teams with the highest conference winning percentages will face off for the title in Charlotte, N.C. Alford called that one of the primary reasons the change was needed; another marquee game should help the ACC position itself better for the College Football Playoff, especially if (when) it expands.
There are, however, some drawbacks.
Georgia Tech would have made sense as a fixed opponent for FSU; their stadiums are 275 miles apart, and Georgia is a significant part of FSU’s recruiting footprint (just as Florida is key for the Yellow Jackets).
The bigger loss is Miami-Virginia Tech, a game that has been played every year since 1992, when both were in the Big East. They had a streak of seven consecutive top-20 matchups from 1999-2005 (including two where both were in the top five). Though the last memorable game in the series was Miami’s 28-10 victory in 2017 that pushed the Hurricanes closer to the Coastal Division title, the end of this annual series is somewhat disappointing.
Though casual fans outside of the ACC footprint had trouble remembering which teams were in which division, the perpetual parity of the Coastal was delightful. The division had seven different champions over a seven-year cycle. Most of them were mediocre, but the race was never boring. The Coastal chaos will be missed.
As part of the announcement, the ACC announced future conference matchups for the next four years. Dates, broadcast information and kickoff times will be announced later.
2023: Home vs. Duke, Miami, Syracuse and Virginia Tech; at Boston College, Clemson, Pitt and Wake Forest
2024: Home vs. Boston College, Clemson, North Carolina and N.C. State; at Georgia Tech, Miami, Syracuse and Virginia
2025: Home vs. Miami, Pitt, Syracuse and Wake Forest; at Clemson, Duke, Louisville and Virginia Tech
2026: Home vs. Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Virginia; at Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State and Syracuse
2023: Home vs. Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Virginia; at Boston College, Florida State, North Carolina and N.C. State
2024: Home vs. Boston College, Duke, Florida State and Pitt; at Clemson, Louisville, Syracuse and Wake Forest
2025: Home vs. Louisville, North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia Tech; at Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia
2026: Home vs. Boston College, Florida State, Syracuse and Wake Forest; at Duke, Louisville, Pitt and Virginia Tech
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