Louisville will kick off a brand new era of football by taking the ACC spotlight in week one of the 2014 season. The Cardinals, with new head coach Bobby Petrino, will host Miami in the ACC opener on Labor Day night, their first game as an ACC member. Later in the season the Cardinals will host the defending ACC and BCS champions, Florida State in a Thursday night game on national television after a bye week to prepare. Welcome to the ACC, Louisville.
The ACC released their 2014 football schedule Wednesday afternoon, highlighted by 24 non-conference games against teams that played in a bowl game in the 2013 season. The usual non-conference match-ups include the SEC rivalry games between Clemson and South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Georgia and Florida State and Florida. Louisville will get in the ACC vs. SEC fun with the moving of the annual game against Kentucky to the end of the season.
“This is an exciting time in ACC Football, and as we look ahead to the 2014 season, it’s clear that our teams have once again combined for a strong lineup of non-conference opponents, along with our competitive league schedule,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a statement released by the conference with the schedule. “In addition to the overall schedule and season, we look forward to welcoming Louisville into the ACC and beginning our annual scheduling agreement with Notre Dame.”
Florida State will open the 2o14 season in Arlington, Texas against Oklahoma State in week one. Florida State will host Clemson this season after a bye week on September 20. In addition to the Thursday night game at Louisville (October 30), Florida State will travel to Miami on November 15 for a rare late season game against their in-state rivals. Florida State ends the season at home against Florida on November 29.
Defending Coastal Division champion Duke skips Florida State and Clemson on the crossover division schedule (again) and they get a bye week between a road game at Miami and another road game at Georgia Tech in key division games. Duke also makes back-to-back road games at Pittsburgh and Syracuse in November before ending at home against Virginia Tech and North Carolina.
The ACC will feature five Thursday night games with Virginia Tech’s road game at Pittsburgh on October 16 opening a stretch of four straight weeks with Thursday night primetime games. In addition, three games will air on Friday nights, including a season finale between Virginia and Virginia Tech on the day after Thanksgiving for the first time since 1996.
You can view the entire ACC schedule in a traditional format or a trendy helmet grid format.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.
“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”
That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.
In the midst of what could be a dream season in South Philadelphia, the Temple Owls announced a rare sellout for a football game this afternoon. The October 31 game at home against Notre Dame has sold out Lincoln Financial Field. This is the first time Temple has sold out two home games in the same season since 1976, when the Owls began playing home games in one of Philadelphia’s pro sports stadiums.
This is the second sellout of the season for Temple, but it is also worth mentioning who the opponents are for those two games; Penn State and Notre Dame. Penn State is always Temple’s biggest draw when they get a chance to host the Nittany Lions and their legions of fans in and around the Delaware Valley. Temple dominated Penn State in the season opener, snapping a long losing streak against the in-state power. Notre Dame is also a big draw everywhere the Irish go, and there is a solid fanbase in the southeastern part of Philadelphia as well.
It is also a rare trip to Philadelphia for Notre Dame. The Irish last played in Philadelphia in 1993 when they faced Navy in Veterans Stadium. Navy also hosted Notre Dame in Philadelphia in 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1974. Notre Dame and Temple have never played in Philadelphia, although they did face each other in the 2013 season opener. This year’s game is the second game of a home-and-home series.
The game could potentially prove to play a key role in the evolving College Football Playoff and Group of Five conversation as well. If Temple avoids slipping up this week against UCF and next week at East Carolina and USC holds off USC, then we could have an undefeated and top 25 Temple program hosting a top 15 or even potential top 10 Notre Dame on Halloween. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here, but that could be a very attractive matchup worth paying attention to at the end of the month for many fanbases.