Wherever you’re at on this Tuesday afternoon workday, take a deep breath in your office desk or at your lunch table, because we are less than 70 days away from college football returning, spending our Saturday’s couped up in front of the TV or hollering alongside thousands of strangers who are actually family.
As the dead days of summer drag on, we’re learning more about the future of the sport, specifically on the conference side, as the Atlantic Coast Conference announced on Tuesday a new scheduling model that will take place beginning for the 2023 football season.
This model is scheduled to last through the 2026 season, giving the conference a four-year test run before deciding to officially adopt the model for future seasons. The model in testing, the 3-5-5 structure, will feature each conference team receiving three permanent opponents played annually throughout the duration of the structure, while pairing teams up with the remaining 10 opponents twice throughout the four-year period, once at home and once on the road.
The conference has also decided to eliminate divisions beginning in 2023, following a similar method as the 2020 season where the top two percentage teams faced off in the conference championship game.
For Clemson, the conference has elected to place the Tigers with permanent opponents Florida State, Georgia Tech, and NC State. Judging by the other pairings, it is evident the conference was meticulous in pairing protected rivalries, which is a strong plus in the favor of the model.
This scheduling change should create more diversity amongst the ACC schedule, which has been a complaint of many athletic directors and coaches within the conference. For example, Clemson has played Miami just twice during the regular season over the last decade, and one of those matchups was rescheduling due to the pandemic. In this model, the Tigers and Hurricanes will face off twice over the four-year period, once in Clemson and once in Coral Gables.
The conference also released future conference schedules for the entirety of the model. Here is what it looks like on the Clemson side:
2023: HOME vs. Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest; AWAY at Duke, Miami, NC State, and Syracuse
2024: HOME vs. Louisville, Miami, NC State, and Virginia; AWAY at Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech
2025: HOME vs. Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Syracuse; AWAY at North Carolina, NC State, Pitt, and Wake Forest
2026: HOME vs. Boston College, NC State, Pitt, and Virginia Tech; AWAY at Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Virginia
Read the full statement from the ACC here.