- ACC announces conference will play 11-game football schedule over 13 weeks this season
- Conference will include Notre Dame, who will be the ACC’s 15th team for this season only
- ACC Championship Game scheduled for December 12 or 19 in Charlotte
At this point, nobody knows what’s going to happen with the 2020 college football season. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into the plans of schools all over the country. While football is certainly lower on the list of priorities than simply keeping students safe, let’s not forget that football is a big moneymaker for most major universities.
While fans may not be permitted to attend games, many conferences are still trying to plan as though games will be held in some form or fashion. While the Ivy League and some other conferences have already postponed their fall and winter sports schedules until next spring, others are insisting on trying to move forward with college football later this summer.
ACC’s Temporary Realignment
One of those is the Atlantic Coast Conference, which announced Wednesday that the league plans to play an 11-game conference-only schedule that will start in September. Interestingly enough, Notre Dame is one of the teams included in the conference’s plans. The Fighting Irish are the biggest major college football program in the country that isn’t actually a part of any conference.
However, with other leagues scheduling conference-only games as a result of the pandemic, Notre Dame had to do something or run the risk of being forced to cancel their season entirely. The Irish’s schedule typically consists of an eclectic mix of teams from all over the US, but this season they will be an honorary member of the ACC.
Every ACC school plus Notre Dame will play 10 conference games in addition to one non-conference game. The league will eliminate divisions for the 2020 season, and Notre Dame will be one of the teams eligible to play in the ACC Championship Game. Any non-conference opponent must meet medical protocol requirements stipulated by the ACC before the game can be played. All non-conference games must also be played in the home state of the ACC team.
Two Bye Weeks Per Team
The regular-season schedule is slated to get started during the week of September 7 The season will include 11 games over the span of 13 weeks with each team having two bye weeks. The ACC Championship Game will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, on either December 12 or December 19. The two teams with the highest winning percentages in the conference will advance to the game, regardless of previous divisional affiliations.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said, “Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference. The Board’s decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with competition. Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate the return in a safe and responsible matter. We recognize that we may need to be nimble and make adjustments in the future. We will be as prepared as possible should that need arise.”
The season was pushed back by a week from its original start date, which means the season will begin on what was originally supposed to be Week 2.
Notre Dame will be a temporary 15th member of the conference, but all of the team’s games will still be broadcast on NBC. All TV revenue from Notre Dame and the other 14 schools will be divided evenly among the schools.
The ACC says a firm schedule will be released in the near future.