A few months ahead of embarking on a season that will include two new members in its conference, the ACC has released its full schedule for the 2013 season.
One of the highlights of the schedule release was the confirmation that Pittsburgh, which will be moving on from the Big East July 1, will play its first game as an ACC member on Labor Day against defending conference champion Florida State. The Panthers will host the Orange Bowl-winning Seminoles in a primetime matchup at Heinz Field the first Monday in September.
Syracuse, which is joining Pitt as a former Big East member, will play its first ACC game against Clemson Oct. 5.
Conference members will play seven nationally-televised non-Saturday games this season — five on Thursdays, two on Fridays. The former games consist of North Carolina traveling to South Carolina (Aug. 29) for the first Thursday night game of the year on ESPN; NC State hosting Clemson on Thursday night (Sept. 19); Virginia Tech making the trek down to Georgia Tech (Sept. 26); Miami at North Carolina (Oct. 17); and Georgia Tech at Clemson (Nov. 14). The latter games will feature Boston College hosting Wake Forest (Sept. 6) and Miami traveling to Pittsburgh the day after Thanksgiving.
The two Thursday night games for Clemson marks the first time that’s happened for the Tigers since the 2002 season. It’s also the first time in 11 years that the program has played a home Thursday night game, which had caused a bit of angst ahead of the release.
“Having a Thursday night, nationally televised home football game on ESPN will be a tremendous positive for the university,” said athletic director Dan Radakovich in a statement. “As the only football game on television that night, we will have an opportunity to showcase our football and athletics program as well as our university community.
“All of us within the Department of Athletics understand the complexities of playing host to a Thursday night game and the challenges it presents for many on campus, including professors with afternoon classes. We will work with President Jim Barker, university administrators and the appointed team to make the event a wonderful example of what Clemson University can do.”
The release labels the overall conference slate as “ambitious” as “members are playing 11 games against non-conference opponents that finished the 2012 football season ranked in the nation’s Top 25, nine games with non-conference teams ranked in the final AP Top Ten, including contests against each of the top four teams in the USA Today’s final poll.” The release went on to note that no other BCS automatic qualifier conferences will play more than eight non-conference games against 2012 Top 25 foes and no more than four games against 2012 Top 10 non-conference opponents.
“The 2013 ACC Football schedule showcases some tremendous matchups this year as our league is arguably playing the toughest nonconference schedule in the country,” a statement from ACC commissioner John Swofford read. “This is an exciting year as we look forward to welcoming Pitt and Syracuse into the ACC. Both teams are opening league play at home, with Florida State at Pitt on Labor Day Monday Night and in its first ACC game, Clemson at Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.”
Below the jump are the complete schedules — conference and non-conference — for the 14 members of the ACC.