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Primetime for the 12th Annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship; Boston College Hosts Georgia Tech in Dublin Ireland; Florida State Battles Ole Miss on Labor Day Monday Night
GREENSBORO, N.C. — An eighth straight appearance in prime time for the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game, a minimum of 21 national exposures on ESPN platforms in the first three weeks of the season, headline the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference early season TV football schedule announced Thursday by the ACC.
The schedule includes all of the ACC’s games for the first three weeks of the season, with the exception of road non-conference games which are controlled by the host team or its conference. Also included are four Thursday night contests which will be nationally televised by ESPN and five nationally-televised Friday games.
Once again the conference will have a syndicated package on the ACC Network which will air in more than 100 markets and a package on the Regional Sports Networks (RSN) that will be in an average 71 million homes.
However, with ESPN3 carrying both packages outside of its syndicated footprints, every ACC-controlled football game this year will once again be a national exposure.
The 2016 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game is scheduled for the first Saturday in December (Dec. 3) and will have a nationally televised kickoff time of either 7:45 p.m. (on ESPN) or 8 p.m. ET (on ABC). The Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship has been televised in primetime since 2009.
From Dublin, Ireland, where Boston College and Georgia Tech meet at Aviva Stadium in the 2016 Aer Lingus College Football Classic (7:30 a.m., ESPN2), to Eugene, Oregon, where Virginia will meet the Oregon Ducks on the second week of the season (Sept. 10), ACC teams will be playing games 4,740 miles apart in the first three weeks of the season. The game in Dublin will be the first football game between ACC opponents of the year and will mark the first time a conference game has been played in Ireland.
As usual, the ACC will be competing in blockbuster matchups with three games featuring ACC-SEC teams on the opening weekend of the season, beginning with North Carolina facing Georgia in the Annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome which will be nationally televised by ESPN (5:30 p.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 3.
North Carolina, the 2015 ACC Coastal Division champion, is one of five ACC teams ranked in ESPN.com’s most recent “Way-Too-Early Top 25”. The Tar Heels are ranked 19th, while Georgia is ranked 13th.
ACC teams in the Way Too Early Top 25 are led by Clemson, ranked second, and Florida State, ranked fourth, but also include UNC, Louisville (24th) and Miami (25th).
Later on Sept. 3, the second-ranked Tigers travel to face Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., in a game which will be nationally televised over ESPN beginning at 9 p.m.
Florida State then makes its seventh appearance on the Labor Day Monday Night Game, hosting 14th-ranked Ole Miss in the Camping World Kickoff Game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Sept. 5 in a game nationally televised by ESPN (8 p.m.). The Seminoles have split their previous six Labor Day Monday encounters, defeating Pitt, 41-13, in their last appearance in 2013. The game marks the 12th time an ACC team or teams have appeared on ESPN’s Labor Day platform in the last 13 years.
Pitt renews its longtime rivalry with Penn State in the second week of the season when the Panthers host the Nittany Lions at Heinz Field for the first time on Sept. 10 (noon, ABC or ESPN). The two instate rivals are meeting for the first time since 2000, and the 15-year gap is the longest interruption in a 96-game rivalry which dates back to 1893.
There are five SEC-ACC matchups in the season’s first three weeks, including Tennessee facing Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 10 (game time and network are to be announced shortly) and Georgia Tech hosting Vanderbilt at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 17th (ACC Network, 12:30 p.m.).
Game times were announced for four of five nationally televised Thursday night games on ESPN, including Clemson at Georgia Tech (Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m.), Miami at Virginia Tech (Oct. 20, 7 p.m.), Virginia Tech at Pitt (Oct. 27, 7 p.m.), and North Carolina at Duke (Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.). The Nov. 17 Louisville at Houston game will be announced at a later date by the American Athletic Conference.
The five national exposures on Friday include Louisville at Syracuse on Sept. 9 (ESPN2, 8 p.m.), Clemson at Boston College on Oct. 7 (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.), Duke at Louisville on Oct. 14 (ESPN, 7 p.m.), Boston College at Florida State on Veterans Day, Nov. 11 (ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.), and NC State at North Carolina on Thanksgiving Friday, Nov. 25 (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2; Noon or 3:30 p.m.).
A total of 12 games will also be available nationally on ESPN3 beginning with Tulane at Wake Forest (7 p.m.) and William & Mary at NC State (7:30 p.m.) on Thursday, Sept. 1, and continuing with Colgate at Syracuse (Sept. 2, 7 p.m.); Villanova at Pitt (Sept. 3, 1:30 p.m.); Richmond at Virginia (Sept. 3, 3:30 p.m.); North Carolina Central at Duke (Sept. 3, 6 p.m.) and Florida A&M at Miami (Sept. 3, 6 p.m.).
The ACC’s ESPN3 schedule also includes Mercer at Georgia Tech (Sept. 10, 3 p.m.); Florida Atlantic at Miami (Sept. 10, 6 p.m.); South Florida at Syracuse (Sept. 17, 3:30 p.m.); Old Dominion at NC State (Sept. 17, 6 p.m.); and Delaware at Wake Forest (Sept. 17, 6:30 p.m.).
The ACC will again have two syndicated packages produced by the ACC Network this fall: The ACC Network and the Regional Sports Networks (RSN).
The ACC Network will be syndicated in over 100 markets nationally and more than 90 million TV households with three games in the first three weeks, each with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff: Liberty at Virginia Tech (Sept. 3); Troy at Clemson (Sept. 10); and Vanderbilt at Georgia Tech (Sept. 17).
In addition, ACC Network games are also available digitally on ESPN3 (outside of the ACC footprint), on theACC.com and on the ACC App for IPhones, IPads and Droid mobile devices.
Once again, the ACC will also feature a weekly football game which will air each week on the Regional Sports Networks (RSN) of Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Carolinas, Fox Sports Florida or Sun Sports, Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic, New England Sports Network (NESN), the YES Network or MSG Network in New York and Root Sports in Pennsylvania, in addition to several other RSNs nationally reaching 71 million homes on average.
The RSN package will have four games in the first three weeks of the season including a doubleheader on Sept. 17 with Clemson hosting South Carolina State (Noon) and North Carolina hosting James Madison (3:30 p.m.). The RSN package opens with a prime-time exposure on Thursday with Louisville hosting Charlotte on Sept. 1 (7 p.m.), while Florida State hosts Charleston Southern on Sept. 10 (12:30 p.m.).