Orange Watch: How Syracuse football schedules could look in the reconfigured ACC

Oct 9, 2021; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Anthony Queeley (14) runs with the ball after a catch as Wake Forest Demon Deacons defensive back Ja'Sir Taylor (6) defends during the first half at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Item: Last week we wrote about the challenging Power 5 non-conference opponents Syracuse has scheduled in the future.  Now that the ACC is likely to remove the two division format as soon as next season, and move to a 3-5-5 scheduling rotation, we take a mock up look at what the Orange schedule could resemble the next couple of years.

An instant bonus of ACC football scrapping the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions is that Syracuse would no longer face perennial national title contender Clemson every season, but switch to every other season.

Instead, we would like to see Syracuse face former perennial national title contender Miami each season.

Under the 3-5-5 format every team would have three permanent league opponents on the schedule each year, plus five other conference foes alternating every other year, both home and away.

That means Syracuse would be guaranteed to face the other 13 ACC teams home and away over a four-year period, giving the players and coaching staff a true feel of playing a conference schedule.

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For the Orange, Boston College and Pittsburgh are obvious geographical choices as annual opponents.  For the third team, we’d like another former Big East rival not named Louisville.  Instead, we would like that opponent to be Miami which would do a lot more for exposure in the fertile Florida recruiting region, than playing in Kentucky every other season.

It’s disturbing that SU and the ‘Canes have only met once in ACC play (27-19 defeat in 2017 at Miami), and UM hasn’t been inside the Dome in 20 long years (2002).  The time to rectify that is beginning next season, instantly rekindling a sweet rivalry from a different era.

Plugging in BC, Miami, and Pitt as annual foes, here’s our take on the football schedule through one full cycle of the 3-5-5 format:

Season Non-Conference ACC Home ACC Away
2023 Colgate, Western Michigan,

at Purdue, Army

Miami, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Wake Forest Boston College, Pittsburgh,

Duke, Virginia 

2024 Ohio, at Army, P5 TBA, G5/FCS TBA Boston College, Pittsburgh, Florida State, North Carolina Miami, Clemson, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech
2025 Tennessee (Atl.), at UConn, Army, at Notre Dame Miami, Duke, North Carolina State, Virginia  Boston College, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest
2026 New Hampshire, at Army,

UConn, at Notre Dame

Boston College, Pittsburgh, Clemson, Virginia Tech Miami, Florida State, Louisville, North Carolina,

Schedule Notes: With two non-conference games still to be finalized for 2024, it’s hard to judge the ACC rotation in context for that season.  Unlike this year and 2023 that feature seven home games, there will be six in the Dome in 2024, only a paltry five home games in 2025, and back to six in 2026.

With ACC programs up and down, it’s hard to forecast exactly how difficult a specific season schedule will be by the end of this cycle, but we purposely kept Clemson and Florida State off of the 2025 schedule with Tennessee, Notre Dame and Miami already penciled in.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.