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NOTE: Schedule was updated Feb. 9, 2016 with slight date adjustments that were finalized after the initial announcement. These all kept games within the same weekend, but moved to either a Thursday or Friday.
ACC Leads Power Five Conferences in Non-Conference Games Against Teams in ESPN’s Too Early Top 25, the Final 2015 AP and Coaches Top 25 and 2015 Bowl Teams
Five Neutral Site Games Highlighted by Labor Day Monday Night in Orlando and
the First ACC Game in Ireland in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic
GREENSBORO, NC (theACC.com) – The 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference football schedule released Tuesday by the league again features one of the most difficult non-conference slates among the Power Five Conferences.
ACC teams will play more games than any other Power Five conference:
• Against non-conference teams that are ranked in ESPN’s 2016 Too Early Top 25 rankings (12). The league will also play a higher percentage of its non-conference games against teams in the Way-Too-Early Top 25 (21%).
• Against non-conference teams that were ranked in the final Associated Press Top 25 (12). The league will again play a higher percentage (21%) of its non-conference games against these teams.
• Against non-conference teams that were ranked in the final Coaches poll (14) as well as a higher percentage (25%).
• Against more non-conference teams that went to bowl games in 2015 (27).
• Against FBS non-conference teams that won 10 or more games (15) as well as against FBS non-conference teams that won nine or more games (18).
ACC teams are also playing games against opponents which had a higher overall winning percentage (.562) in 2015 than any other Power Five Conference, and its FBS non-conference opponents had the second-highest winning percentage of any league (.559).
“Our programs continue to showcase our football strength with an appealing slate of games scheduled for 2016,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “In addition to a number of compelling conference matchups, we again have arguably the toughest non-conference schedule by any measure. With our depth, competitiveness and rivalries, ACC fans can look forward to another season of exciting games every week.”
With Boston College facing Georgia Tech in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on Sept. 3, an ACC football game will be played in Ireland for the first time. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN2 with a 7:30 a.m. (ET) kickoff. It is only the third ACC game played outside of the United States, with Clemson having faced Wake Forest in Tokyo, Japan, in 1982. The Tigers also played Duke in Tokyo in 1991. The ACC recognizes the Aer Lingus College Football Classic as a part of ACC Worldwide, the conference’s effort to further its member institutions internationally through promotion, marketing and athletic competition.
The event is one of five neutral site games for ACC teams, including the league’s annual presence on Labor Day Monday Night as Florida State faces Ole Miss in the Orlando Citrus Bowl stadium in the Orlando Kickoff Game on Sept. 5. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN with an 8 p.m. kickoff and will mark the 12th appearance in 13 years by an ACC team on Labor Day Monday Night since the telecasts began in 2004. It will also mark Florida State’s seventh appearance on Labor Day, the most recent coming in 2013.
The other neutral site battles include North Carolina facing Georgia on Sept. 3 in the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome; Virginia Tech facing Tennessee at the Bristol Motor Speedway in the ”Pilot Flying J Battle of Bristol” football game on Sept. 10, which seeks to set a college football single-game attendance record; and Syracuse facing Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Oct 1.
In all, the ACC will have four nationally-televised games on ESPN on Thursday nights, beginning with Clemson at Georgia Tech on Sept. 22, followed by Miami at Virginia Tech (Oct. 20); Virginia Tech at Pitt (Oct. 27); and North Carolina at Duke (Nov. 10).
The league will also play five nationally-televised Friday games on ESPN networks, including a special Veterans Day contest with Florida State hosting Boston College on Nov. 11. The other Friday night games include Syracuse hosting Louisville (Sept. 9): Boston College hosting Clemson (Oct. 7); Duke at Louisville (Oct. 14); and NC State at North Carolina on Thanksgiving Friday (Nov. 25).
The schedule also incorporates five games against Notre Dame. In addition to the Syracuse-Irish clash in the Meadowlands, NC State hosts Notre Dame on Oct. 8, while Duke (Sept. 24), Miami (Oct. 29) and Virginia Tech (Nov. 19) will travel to Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind.
In all, the schedule includes 56 regular-season conference matchups over a span of 13 weeks and is capped off with the 12th Annual Dr Pepper Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship Game, which returns to Charlotte, N.C. this year and will be played on Saturday, Dec. 3 in Bank of America Stadium. Last year’s Championship Game between Clemson and North Carolina drew an ACC Championship Game record crowd of 74,514, bringing its six-year attendance average in Charlotte to 69,641 which includes three sellouts.
The ACC, which has four teams currently ranked in ESPN’s Way Too Early Top 25, led by No. 1 Clemson and including No. 6 Florida State, No. 17 North Carolina and No. 24 Louisville, will also play 12 non-conference games against seven teams in the same Way-Too-Early Top 25. Conference teams will play five games against ninth-ranked Notre Dame and two games with 23rd-ranked Georgia (North Carolina and Georgia Tech). Also included are single games with No. 10 Houston (Louisville), No. 11 Tennessee (Virginia Tech), No. 13 Ole Miss (Florida State), No. 18 Oregon (Virginia) and No. 22 Oklahoma State (Pitt).
ESPN’s Way Too Early Top 25 Link: http://theacc.co/FB16TooEarly25
ACC teams will play 12 games against non-conference teams that appeared in the final Associated Press Top 25, including five against No. 11 Notre Dame, as well as games against No. 8 Houston (Louisville), No. 10 Ole Miss (Florida State), No. 19 Oregon (Virginia), No. 20 Oklahoma State (Pitt), No. 22 Tennessee (Virginia Tech), No. 23 Northwestern (Duke) and No. 25 Florida (Florida State).
Clemson, which was ranked second in the final Associated Press poll, led three ACC teams in the final Top 15, including No. 14 Florida State and No. 15 North Carolina.
Non-conference opponents that earned bowl bids this past season include Appalachian State, Auburn, Central Michigan, Connecticut (3), Florida, Georgia (2), Georgia Southern, Houston, Indiana, Marshall (2), Northwestern, Notre Dame (5), Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, South Florida (2) and Tennessee.
The ACC Digital Network, official home of ACC Game Highlights and Must See Moments, will give fans a close look at the highlights of the 2016 ACC Football Schedule with video segments such as "Games to Watch" and a special edition of "ACC Now." The 2016 Football Schedule Release videos are available on theACC.com, ACC mobile app, as well as the ACCDN channel on various streaming and connected mobile and TV devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, go90TM, Roku and Xbox.
About the ACC
The Atlantic Coast Conference, now in its 63rd year of competition and 15 members strong, has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. ACC members Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest continue to build upon the cornerstones on which the league was founded in 1953 with a consistent balance of academics, athletics and integrity. For more information, visit theACC.com and follow @theACC on Twitter and on facebook.com/theACC.