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.