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Feb. 27, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) -- The 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference football schedule released today by Commissioner John Swofford is a slate which sees conference teams playing 10 games against opponents that are projected by ESPN.com to be in the nation's preseason Top 25, and 21 games against teams which participated in 2011 bowl games.
In all, the schedule is comprised of 97 games, including 48 regular-season conference match-ups, over a span of 14 weeks and is capped off with the Eighth Annual Dr Pepper Atlantic Coast Conference Football Championship Game, which returns to Charlotte, N.C. this year and will be played on Saturday, Dec. 1 in Bank of America Stadium.
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The 2012 ACC Championship Game is one of five contests which will be played on a neutral field. Miami will meet Notre Dame on Oct. 6 at Soldier Field in Chicago and Virginia Tech will face Cincinnati on Sept 29 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Additionally, a pair of ACC teams will participate in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Doubleheader, when NC State will face Tennessee on August 31, and Clemson plays Auburn on Sept. 1, with both games at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
ACC teams will face 48 nonconference opponents who had a combined winning percentage of 52 percent in 2011, including 35 games against FBS opponents who won 55 percent of their games last fall.
Twenty-one of the league's 48 nonconference games (44 percent) are against 19 teams that earned bowl berths in 2011. This includes 18 games with teams which finished ranked in the nation's Top 50 of the final Sagarin rankings in 2011, which ties for the most of any conference in the nation.
Including games against the eight ACC teams which earned bowl bids in 2011, no ACC team plays fewer than five opponents who went to bowl games last fall, with Duke facing the most with 9 followed by Boston College, Maryland, Miami and Virginia with eight each.
ACC teams will also play 10 games against eight teams selected by ESPN.com in its early preseason Top 25 including matches with projected fifth-ranked Georgia (Georgia Tech), seventh-ranked West Virginia (Maryland) and 10th-ranked South Carolina (Clemson).
Three members of the conference--Boston College, Miami and Wake Forest--will meet Notre Dame, projected to be 24th nationally, while ACC teams will also play 12th-ranked Kansas State (Miami), 13th-ranked Stanford (Duke), 15th-ranked TCU (Virginia) and 25th-ranked Florida (Florida State).
Nonconference opponents who earned bowl bids this past season include Auburn, Bowling Green, BYU, Cincinnati, FIU, Florida, Georgia, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Northwestern, Notre Dame (3 games with ACC schools), Penn State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Stanford, TCU, Temple and West Virginia. The Conference will again enjoy national exposure on Labor Day Monday, as Virginia Tech hosts Coastal Division rival Georgia Tech at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va., in a nationally televised prime time contest on ESPN. The game, which will have an 8 pm (ET) kickoff, will nationally showcase ACC teams who have accounted for the last seven Coastal Division Championships, as well as two coaches--Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer (251) and Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson (140)--who have combined for 391 coaching victories between them, the most of any active coaching pair in the NCAA's FBS.
In all, the ACC will play four games nationally-televised by ESPN on Thursday night beginning with Clemson travelling to Wake Forest (Oct. 25), but also including Virginia Tech at Miami (Nov. 1), Florida State at Virginia Tech (Nov. 8); and North Carolina at Virginia (Nov. 15).