The ACC released its revised football schedule this morning following the new 10 + 1 format adopted by the conference in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. First, let’s look at what this means for Clemson.
One thing of note is that the schedule will start a few weeks later than planned. Instead of opening on a Thursday against Georgia Tech in Atlanta, the Tigers will be in Winston-Salem for a date with Wake Forest. If you have not been keeping up with the scheduling news, the ACC’s plan of 10 conference games and a non-conference game was intended to allow Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Florida State to be able to play their traditional rivalry games against their in-state, SEC member rivals. The SEC has elected to go with a conference only schedule, effectively canceling these four rivalry games. While there have been cries from all over the state to save the Palmetto Bowl, and even a petition, barring a drastic change by the SEC the Palmetto Bowl will not occur. Other major conferences adopting a conference-only schedule or requiring out of conference games to be played at home will also hamper Clemson’s ability to bring in a marquee opponent to replace the rivalry game. For now, that non-conference home opener is listed as TBD, but some talk has pointed toward Clemson playing The Citadel, who was on Clemson’s original 2020 schedule.
The reshuffled schedule also causes Clemson to forgo its matchups with Louisville and rival NC State, while adding games with Miami and Pitt. Clemson’s game at Notre Dame remains a November game, but will now become a conference game as Notre Dame will be an ACC football member in 2020. Thanksgiving weekend will look different, as Clemson’s home finale will be against Pitt. The Tigers will then close the regular season December 5 at Virginia Tech. The ACC championship will be set for either December 12 or December 19.
Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Florida State have all selected their non-conference opponents to replace their rivalry games. The three schools will be playing teams previously on their schedules. Georgia Tech hosts UCF in week 2, Louisville opens the year with Western Kentucky at home, and Florida State hosts Samford in week 2.