While ACC pairings had already been established for the 2013 season, the conference released the full schedules for each team Monday. This schedule places dates on each of the matchups, but it also announced a series of mid-week games that will be televised nationally by ESPN.
Florida State and Pittsburgh will play on Labor Day evening on ESPN, while Clemson-NC State (Sept. 19), Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech (Sept. 26), Miami-North Carolina (Oct. 17), and Georgia Tech-Clemson (Nov. 14) will be Thursday night games on the network.
This is the third straight year where ACC conference games will be featured on four Thursdays on ESPN. Virginia Tech played two Thursday night games each of the last two years, but will pass that torch to Georgia Tech and Clemson in 2013. Last year’s Hokies traveled to Miami and hosted Florida State on Thursdays. Clemson played at Wake Forest on a Thursday in 2012. This marks the first season Virginia Tech has not hosted a Thursday night game since 2001.
Georgia Tech and NC State rejoin the Thursday night conference slate after a year off in 2012. NC State’s last Thursday game was at Cincinnati in September of 2011. However, they did open last season with a Friday night contest in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, where they lost to Tennessee.
North Carolina’s last Thursday night game was a home game against Florida State in 2009. The Seminoles claimed a 30-27 win in that contest. Georgia Tech was in last season’s Labor Day game against Virginia Tech, so their game this year will be a primetime rematch of the Hokies’ OT win over the Yellow Jackets.
There will also be two Friday night games. Boston College-Wake Forest will be played on September 6 and televised by one of the networks in the ESPN family, while Pittsburgh-Miami will meet the night after Thanksgiving for a national television audience to conclude their regular seasons.
Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech have games the Saturday before their Thursday night game. The Yellow Jackets will host North Carolina the week prior, while Virginia Tech will host Marshall. For the other three Thursday night games, all participants will have the benefit of an off week before their primetime meeting.
Speaking of bye weeks and Georgia Tech, the numbers show (and coaches repeatedly say) that having an extra week to prepare for the Yellow Jackets’ option offense is crucial to success against it. Along with Clemson, as a result of the Thursday night meeting, North Carolina will have the benefit of a bye week before facing Georgia Tech. Last season, the Tar Heels had a bye week before hosting Georgia Tech, but lost 68-50. Similarly, UNC had a bye week after losing to LSU in the 2010 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, but lost to Georgia Tech the following week 30-24. It will be interesting to see both how Virginia Tech handles a short week before facing Georgia Tech and whether Clemson and North Carolina can reap the benefits of a long week.
Pittsburgh-Florida State will be the only ACC matchup of the opening weekend of college football, but it won’t be the only intriguing game featuring an ACC team, as three ACC teams will face SEC schools that weekend. Virginia Tech and Alabama will meet in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, while North Carolina will travel to South Carolina for a Thursday night game and Clemson will host Georgia. Syracuse and Penn State will play a neutral-field game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey that weekend as well.
- Boston College will have a bye week before hosting Florida State (September 28).
- Clemson and Georgia Tech face two FCS opponents in 2013. Clemson will host South Carolina State and The Citadel, while Georgia Tech will play Elon and Alabama A&M. Only one win against an FCS school counts towards bowl eligibility.
- Old Dominion will travel to Maryland, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh. That’s two more games against ACC opponents than Notre Dame will play (Pittsburgh hosts Notre Dame on November 9).
- Duke will not play in a state that doesn’t border North Carolina or isn’t North Carolina. Outside of road games against Wake Forest and UNC, they will play at Memphis (September 7), Virginia (October 19), and Virginia Tech (October 26).
- Florida State will have a bye week before traveling to Clemson (October 19).
- Georgia Tech’s October? At Miami, at Brigham Young, vs. Syracuse, at Virginia.
- In another neutral-field game, Maryland will meet West Virginia at M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, Md.) on September 21
- NC State will play eight home games, and their first road game is not until October 5, against in-state rival Wake Forest.
- FSU and North Carolina will finish the season with seven games without a bye week. Pittsburgh will go the last eight weeks of the season without a bye.
- Virginia will face Virginia Tech a week after traveling to Miami … and a week after Virginia Tech has a bye.
- Syracuse will play road games against NC State and Georgia Tech in back-to-back weeks (October 12, October 19). Virginia Tech will travel to Boston College and Miami in consecutive weeks (November 2, November 9). Wake Forest will play road games in Miami and Syracuse in consecutive weeks (October 26, November 2).
Boston College - November 16, vs. NC State
Clemson - November 23, vs. The Citadel
Duke - November 16, vs. Miami
Florida State - November 23, vs. Idaho
Georgia Tech - November 30, vs. Georgia
Maryland - November 23, vs. Boston College
Miami - November 23, vs. Virginia
North Carolina - November 30, vs. Duke
NC State - November 30, vs. Maryland
Pittsburgh - November 29 (Friday), vs. Miami
Syracuse - November 30, vs. Boston College
Virginia - November 30, vs. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech - November 16, vs. Maryland
Wake Forest - November 23, vs Duke