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Looking Ahead to Big 2020 ACC FB Games

This has been - and continues to be - a big season for ACC football.

NCAA Football: Camping World Bowl-Notre Dame vs Iowa State
Having the Irish play a full ACC schedule has helped, but so has improvement by other teams.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Without any Big Ten games yet, people wondered how good the 2020 college football season would be - and some were sure it would be very good. But the ACC has proven to be much better than last year, yielding some big games already - with more on the horizon!

Over the last couple of weeks there have been some really big (read: important) games played in the ACC...

Week #6 (Oct. 9-10)

#19 Virginia Tech at #8 UNC, noon, ABC

Florida State at #5 Notre Dame, 2:30 pm, NBC

Pitt at Boston College, 4:00 pm, ACCN

#7 Miami at #1 Clemson, 7:30 pm, ABC

This might have been one of the biggest weekends in ACC football history. Two ranked-on-ranked games, another game involving a pair of national brands (one of which was ranked), and a big-time regional matchup featuring two one-loss teams... What can the league possibly do to top that?

Week #7 (Oct. 17)

Louisville at #4 Notre Dame, 2:30 pm, NBC

#1 Clemson at Georgia Tech, noon, ABC

Pitt at #13 Miami, noon, ACCN

#5 UNC at Florida State, 7:30 pm, ABC

Boston College at #23 Virginia Tech, 8:00 pm, ACCN

The ACC is so stacked this year that games like Pitt/Miami and BC/VT which would normally be on ESPN at least are ended up on the ACC Network. As it was, the three highest-ranked teams (it never gets only writing that!) were all on either ABC or NBC.

Week #8 (Oct. 24)

#22 NC State at #14 UNC, noon, ESPN

Syracuse at #1 Clemson, noon, ACCN

#3 Notre Dame at Pitt, 3:30 pm, ABC

#19 Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 3:30 pm, RSN/ESPN3

Virginia at #11 Miami, 8:00 pm, ACCN

The NC State/UNC and Notre Dame/Pitt games are rivalries which just happen to feature one (or both) ranked team(s) and another on the cusp of the top 25. UNC appears to be better than NC State on paper, but with bitter in-state rivalries like this one the best team doesn’t always win. While I wouldn’t call Irish/Panthers a “bitter” rivalry, I would call it a game with lots of history, one which is important for players on both sides to win [for more on these rivalries, see “ACC factoids” on accfootballrx]. UVA versus “the U” is just a quality match-up, and Clemson and Virginia Tech get some love because they are ranked.

Week #9 (Oct. 31)

Boston College at Clemson, noon, ABC

Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, 3:30 pm, ABC

Virginia Tech at Louisville, 4:00 pm, ACCN

UNC at Virginia, 8:00 pm, ACCN

The South’s Oldest Rivalry (UNC/UVA) headlines, along with two latent but strong rivalries from the past. UNC and UVA began playing each other in football in 1902. Notre Dame versus Georgia Tech is a historic match-up which hasn’t lived up to its billing in recent years - but you never know when the Yellow Jackets will jump up and sting someone. Virginia Tech and Louisville may have the most juice of any game this weekend thanks to some rather negative history between the schools and their football players. Clemson continues to be a draw, and BC usually gives the Tigers a very good game.

Week #10 (Nov. 6-7)

Miami at NC State, FRI 7:30 pm, ESPN

Louisville at Virginia, tba

UNC at Duke, tba

Clemson at Notre Dame, 7:30 pm, NBC

It really doesn’t matter what else in on Saturday night - Clemson at Notre Dame is the premier game that night, period. UNC/Duke is a nice local trophy game, and Miami remains a draw as long as they are in the ACC hunt. Louisville/Virginia is a budding rivalry game.

Week #11 (Nov. 6-7)

Miami at Virginia Tech, tba

Notre Dame at Boston College, tba

Pitt at Georgia Tech, tba

Hurricanes versus Hokies consistently delivers a good game with good ratings. Notre Dame/BC is the East Coast version of “The Holy War”. Pitt/Georgia Tech will reenact their 1918 pandemic game, this time in Atlanta.

Week #12 (Nov. 6-7)

Syracuse at Louisville, FRI, 11/20, 7:00 pm, ESPN

Clemson at Florida State, tba

Georgia Tech at Miami, tba

Virginia Tech at Pitt, tba

The best Syracuse games have been on Friday nights, it seems, and Louisville is no stranger to that time slot either. Florida State may not be ready to go toe-to-toe with Clemson as they have in the past, but it’s still an important match-up. Georgia Tech/Miami is a budding Southern rivalry game, while Virginia Tech/Pitt is the Northern version.

Week #13 (Nov. 6-7)

Notre Dame at UNC, FRI, tba

Louisville at Boston College, FRI, tba

Miami at Wake Forest, tba

Pitt at Clemson, tba

Notre Dame/UNC could be the game that decides who plays Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Louisville/BC is a good game in which one or both could be ranked by then. Miami is Miami, regardless of where they play. You remember what happened the last time Pitt went to Clemson...

Week #14 (Dec. 5)

Syracuse at Notre Dame, 2:30 pm, NBC

Clemson at Virginia Tech, tba

UNC at Miami, tba

By this point Notre Dame is likely just trying to finish out with a pair of wins but with a keen eye on the Clemson/Virginia Tech and UNC/Miami games - either or both of which could impact the ACC FCG.

Week #15 (Dec. 12)

Virginia at Virginia Tech, tba

Notre Dame at Wake Forest, tba

So far we have a pair of make-up games for some possible ACC contenders. Oh, yeah, UNC hosts Western Carolina, too.

The bottom line is this: the ACC just may be the best conference in college football this season, and Pitt is part of that. Even if the Panthers don’t win the conference championship, the school - and the football program - are gaining national exposure which can be converted into wins on the recruiting trail. Of course, every other ACC team is enjoying this same benefit.