College football: ACC scraps divisional alignment, announces rotating schedule

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Jun. 28—SYRACUSE — The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday that football divisions are being eliminated and a new scheduling model will be adopted beginning in the 2023 season.

Syracuse University will face Boston College, Florida State, and Pittsburgh each year while rotating other conference opponents based on the new 3-5-5 scheduling structure.

Each team will play three annual primary opponents and face the other 10 league teams twice during a four-year cycle, once each at home and away. The top two teams based on conference win percentage will play in the ACC Football Championship game on the first Saturday in December.

The measures were approved by ACC athletic directors and representatives earlier in the day and conference matchups were set through the 2026 campaign.

"I think it's really good for the conference, No. 1, I think it's really good for the brand to get to play each other more frequently, I think that's good for ACC Football," SU athletic director John Wildhack stated during a general press conference Tuesday, which is on the SU Athletics YouTube page.

"It's important for the ACC that our bigger brands play more frequently," he added. "I think it's also good for our student-athletes across the conference. If you're there for four years, you're going to play at every other venue in the ACC, and I think that's part of the college experience."

Syracuse will host BC, Pitt, Wake Forest and Clemson in 2023 while playing road games at Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech.

In 2024, SU will host Duke, Florida State Georgia Tech and Miami and has away games at BC, Pitt, Louisville and NC State.

The Orange will repeat that pattern for its three primary annual foes in 2025 and 2026.

SU will also host North Carolina and Virginia Tech in 2025 and play additional road games at Wake Forest, Virginia, and Clemson. The 2026 slate will contain home games against Louisville, North Carolina State and Virginia along with away games at Duke and Miami.

Wildhack spoke to the added advantages in recruiting, allowing players that come from other regions in the conference to play in front of friends and families more often.

He also believes that Orange fans benefit by seeing all league teams cycle through the JMA Wireless Dome on a more frequent basis, offering the example that SU hosted former Big East foe Miami once every 12 years under the divisional model, but will now face the Hurricanes every other season.

"The future ACC football scheduling model provides significant enhancements for our schools and conference, with the most important being our student-athletes having the opportunity to play every school both home and away over a four-year period," ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips stated in a press release.

"We appreciate the thoughtful discussions within our membership, including the head football coaches and athletic directors. In the end, it was clear this model is in the best interest of our student-athletes, programs and fans, at this time."

Since joining the ACC in 2013, the Orange has posted a combined 7-19 record against its new primary annual opponents.

Syracuse is 5-4 against BC but has gone just 1-8 against Pitt and 1-7 against Florida State in that span.

SU has posted an overall conference mark of 22-52 during its nine seasons in the ACC.

The Orange is slated to begin the upcoming season by hosting Louisville at 8 p.m. on Sept. 3 in the JMA Wireless Dome for a conference clash to be televised on the ACC Network.