John Swofford

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ACC confirms Notre Dame will play 10-game conference schedule, be eligible for league title game

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So much for there being no news coming on the ACC and Notre Dame front this week.

July 9, the Big Ten announced that it would be going to a conference-only schedule for football.  The Pac-12 announced a similar format the next day.  In between, ACC commissioner John Swofford indicated in a statement that he anticipated a decision on football by the conference’s Board of Directors in late July.  Tuesday, however, it was reported that a decision isn’t expected when the board meets Wednesday.  Instead, it may wait until after next Tuesday’s rather sizable NCAA meeting.

In the end, that report turned out to be inaccurate.  Very inaccurate, actually.  Late Wednesday afternoon, the ACC announced that its football schedule will consist of 11 games — 10 conference matchups and one non-conference tilt.  The season will commence over a span of several days, from Sept. 7-12.

Each conference school will have two bye weekends in a season that, if played, would be stretched out over 13 weeks.  Additionally, the non-conference game must be played in the ACC school’s home state.  That stipulation means that all three Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games will not be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta as previously scheduled.  That trio of games includes Florida State-West Virginia, Georgia-Virginia and North Carolina-Auburn.  Notre Dame at Navy, Boston College at Kansas and Florida State at Boise State are affected as well, along with a handful of other games.

The kicker?  The ACC confirms that, for this season, Notre Dame will play a 10-game conference schedule.  And would be eligible to play in the league championship game.  That title game, incidentally, will be played in Charlotte either the weekend of Dec. 12 or 19.  It had been scheduled for Dec. 5.  The ACC also confirmed that the title game participants will be determined by the teams with the highest winning percentage in conference play.

The Fighting Irish would also be eligible to claim the ACC’s Orange Bowl berth, if it’s not in the College Football Playoff.

For both the ACC and Notre Dame, this is certainly a monumental development.

Notre Dame has never played in a conference championship game since it began playing the sport way back in 1887.  Why?  Because the Fighting Irish have been a football independent for every one of those 133 seasons.

The ACC becomes the first Power Five conference to formally release a 2020 schedule.  Below is said slate.  And, if that’s too hard to read, click HERE.

ACC postpones virtual Football Media Days, too

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The ACC is kicking that football can down the road on a couple of fronts.

The morning of June 18, the ACC confirmed that it had canceled its in-person Football Media Days.  That event had been scheduled for July 22-23 in Charlotte.  At the same time, though, the league announced that it “will conduct its annual ACC Football Kickoff virtually July 21-23, 2020.” That virtual event was scheduled to “include live coverage available on ACC Network with ACC Commissioner John Swofford, the league’s head coaches and select student-athletes.”

A little over a week ahead of that virtual media days, however, it too has been postponed.

Below is the statement from the conference:

The Atlantic Coast Conference has postponed its virtual ACC Football Kickoff media event until further notice. The event was originally scheduled to be held July 21-23, 2020. Any future decisions and announcements will take place at the appropriate time.

That postponement comes a couple of days after the ACC announced it will make a decision on all fall sports in late July.  The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already gone to a conference-only schedule for football.  It’s believed that both the Big 12 and SEC will follow a similar timeline for a decision as the ACC’s.

ACC expected to finalize decision on fall sports in late July

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Whether the ACC will follow the Big Ten’s lead when it comes to football matters will be determined at a later date.

Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten confirmed reports that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season.  All other fall sports are impacted in the same way.  In the immediate aftermath of that monumental development, it was thought that both the ACC and Pac-12 would make a similar decision, and make it in short order.  In fact, there are rumblings that the latter’s announcement could come as early as Friday evening.

When it comes to the ACC, though, a decision on football and other sports isn’t in the offing until later this month.

Below is a statement from the conference’s commissioner, John Swofford.

The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and administrators remains the ACC’s top priority.  As we continue to work on the best possible path forward for the return to competition, we will do so in a way that appropriately coincides with our universities’ academic missions.  Over the last few months, our conference has prepared for numerous scenarios related to the fall athletics season.  The league membership and our medical advisory group will make every effort to be as prepared as possible during these unprecedented times, and we anticipate a decision by our Board of Directors in late July.

It’s believed that both the Big 12 and SEC will follow a similar timeline for a decision as the ACC’s.