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Feb. 14, 2011
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) -- The 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference football schedule released today by Commissioner John Swofford is a challenging slate which sees conference teams playing four of the top six teams ranked in the final 2010 AP poll, 10 games against opponents that are projected by ESPN.com to be in the nation's preseason Top 25, and 23 games against teams which participated in 2010 postseason bowl games.
In all, the schedule is comprised of 97 games, including 48 regular-season conference matchups, over a span of 14 weeks and is capped off with the Seventh 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.
ACC teams will face 48 nonconference opponents who had a combined winning percentage of 56 percent in 2010, including 35 games against FBS opponents who won 55 percent of their games last fall.
Twenty-three of the league's 48 nonconference games (48 percent) are against 20 teams that earned bowl berths in 2010. This includes four games with teams which finished ranked in the nation's Top Six (AP) in 2010 in defending national champion Auburn (Clemson), fourth-ranked Stanford (Duke), fifth-ranked Ohio State (Miami) and sixth-ranked Oklahoma (Florida State).
Including games against the nine ACC teams which earned bowl bids in 2010, no ACC team plays fewer than six opponents who went to bowl games last fall, with Clemson facing the most with 10 followed by Boston College, Miami and Wake Forest with nine each.
ACC teams will also play 14 games against 11 teams selected by ESPN.com in its early preseason Top 25 including matches with projected top-ranked Oklahoma, sixth-ranked Ohio State and seventh-ranked Stanford. Three members of the Conference--Boston College, Maryland and Wake Forest--will meet Notre Dame, projected to be 14th nationally, while ACC teams will also play 15th-ranked South Carolina (Clemson), 17th-ranked Auburn (Clemson), 18th-ranked Georgia (Georgia Tech) and 19th-ranked Florida (Florida State) .
Nonconference opponents who earned bowl bids this past season include defending National Champion Auburn, East Carolina (2 games with ACC schools), FIU, Florida, Georgia, Kansas State, Louisville, Middle Tennessee, Northwestern, Notre Dame (3 games with ACC schools), Ohio State,
Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Florida, Southern Miss, Stanford, Syracuse, Troy, UCF and West Virginia.
The ACC will again enjoy national exposure on Labor Day Monday, as Maryland hosts Miami at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium in a nationally televised prime time contest on ESPN. The game, which will have an 8 pm (ET) kickoff, will nationally showcase the ACC coaching debuts of the Conference's two new head coaches in Al Golden of Miami and Randy Edsall of Maryland.
In all, the ACC will play five games nationally-televised by ESPN on Thursday night beginning with NC State travelling to Cincinnati (Sept. 22), but also including Virginia at Miami (Oct. 27); Florida State at Boston College (Nov. 3); Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (Nov. 10); and North Carolina at Virginia Tech (Nov. 17). Each of the ESPN Thursday night appearances are set for an 8 p.m. (ET) kickoff.
ACC teams will face the defending national champion for the third straight year and fourth of the last five when Clemson hosts Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 17, a weekend which promises to be a pivotal one in the national rankings with Miami hosting Ohio State, Florida State hosting Oklahoma, and Maryland hosting West Virginia.