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.