The ACC formalized its plans for the 2020 football season on Wednesday, announcing its members will play 11 conference games with a non-conference game of its choice, while also bringing Notre Dame into the fold as a temporary member.
The Fighting Irish have long resisted conference affiliation, but will be in the ACC for 2020 only, and will be eligible to compete for the conference championship. The ACC is also eliminating the Atlantic and Coastal division alignments during COVID.
“We appreciate and are thankful for the dedicated efforts of so many people which resulted in today’s announcement,” Syracuse Director of Athletics John Wildhack said in a statement. “I’m particularly pleased for our student-athletes who have a clear path toward competing this fall and continuing their academic pursuits. It is incumbent upon all of us in the Syracuse Athletics Department to strictly adhere to the protocols we and the ACC have in place.”
The ACC football season will start the week of Sept. 7 and be played over 13 weeks, with a bye week and an opportunity to schedule a non-conference opponent worked into that time frame. The non-conference game must be played in the respective team’s home state, according to the plan.
Whoever finishes in the top two in the league will compete in the ACC Championship game to be played on either Dec. 12 or 19 in Charlotte.
Here is Syracuse’s 11 game schedule (dates and times of games to be announced on a later date):
- Home: Boston College, Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech
- Road: Clemson, Louisville, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh
No announcement has been made about SU’s non-conference opponent.
The most impressive thing about the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 11-game football schedule is how blatant a money grab it is. The conference’s educational institutions are clearly interested in trying to minimize the financial loss caused by the coronavirus and their television partners are more than happy to provide the incentive for them to suit up teams.
The conference looped in partner-in-everything-but-football Notre Dame, bailing the Fighting Irish out of the hole their lack of a true conference affiliation cost them. Notre Dame’s broadcast partner NBC is re-directing the funds from their television contract to the ACC’s coffers for this temporary arrangement with all 15 schools getting a share. It could not be more transparent.
With the opening weekend of Major League Baseball going sideways, the early lesson from playing sports during the coronavirus pandemic seems to be that it requires a bubble. Maybe with all this money, the schools will be able to build one.