Orange Watch: New ACC football scheduling welcome news for Syracuse

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Dontae Strickland rushes downfield against Florida State. Mandatory Photo Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

Item: We’ve been advocating for the ACC to do away with the Atlantic and Coastal divisions for over the last six months, and once the NCAA Division I council approved a change in May allowing conferences to reformulate how they decide to crown a football champion, it was only a matter of time before the league office and school athletic departments got on the same page.

Syracuse is finally going to truly be playing in the ACC football conference as it begins its second decade in the league in 2023. Tuesday’s announcement that the much talked about 3-5-5 structure will take effect next year, means there will finally be schedule uniformity for all 13 conference teams.

“It’s really good for the (ACC) brand, we get to play each other more frequently,” athletic director John Wildhack said Tuesday during his annual early summer state-of-the-athletic department press conference.  “It’s good for our student athlete across the conference.  If you’re there for four years you’re going to play in every other venue in the ACC.  I think that’s part of the college experience.”

With 3-5-5 in place, Syracuse will continue to play both current annual football (and basketball) partners Boston College and Pittsburgh each season, along with its newly designated third primary opponent in the format – Florida State, the trio of games alternating home and away among the eight ACC regular season games.

“I think it’s good for Syracuse,” Wildhack added during his Tuesday media session.  “BC and Pittsburgh, obviously two historical rivals.  Florida State is a permanent opponent, plus playing Miami twice over a four-year cycle we’ll play in Florida three out of (every) four years.  That’s important for visibility, that’s important for recruiting, that’s important for families of recruits.”

Syracuse will play five other ACC teams beginning in 2023, then the other remaining five teams starting in 2024, with those games also alternating home and away. It adds up to each team playing all 13 of its conference brethren in a four-year cycle, finally allowing the players to take in the total experience of playing ACC football over their eligibility timelines.

» Related: 2023 RB Muwaffaq Parkman on committing to Syracuse: ‘I love this place’

Fully expecting BC and Pitt would continue to be on the yearly schedule, our hope was that former Big East foe Miami would be the Florida school of choice as the third primary opponent, not FSU.

That development would have not only reestablished the great ‘Cuse-Canes rivalry that in many ways mirrored SU-Georgetown in Big East hoops, but the huge Miami to Palm Beach corridor contains a large swath of alumni and is a much more attractive region than out-of-the-way Tallahassee.

Instead, Boston College got Miami as a permanent partner, and we’re envious. “The U” will not make its ACC football debut in the Dome until 2024, the 12th season of SU’s participation as a league member. Preposterous.

The conference did do a nice job in the quadrennial rotation of the other teams on the Orange schedule, although the 2025 season shapes up as a doozy. Syracuse now has road games against Tennessee (in Atlanta, but close enough), Notre Dame, Florida State, Clemson, Virginia, and Wake Forest.

Here’s a look at Syracuse football schedules through the 2026 completion of the initial four-year ACC cycle of the 3-5-5 format:

SEASON HOME AWAY
2023 Colgate, Western Michigan, Army, Boston College, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest Purdue, Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech
2024 Ohio, TBD, Florida State, Miami, Duke Georgia Tech Army, TBD, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Louisville, North Carolina State
2025 Connecticut, Army, Boston College, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Virginia Tech Tennessee (Atl.), Notre Dame, Florida State, Clemson, Virginia, Wake Forest
2026 New Hampshire, Connecticut, Florida State, Louisville, North Carolina State, Virginia Army, Notre Dame, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Duke, Miami

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About Brad Bierman 843 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.