The ACC announced its full 2024 schedule Wednesday, featuring new members Cal, Stanford and SMU as part of the expanded 17-team football league.
The league previously unveiled its seven-year scheduling model through 2030, with annual conference opponents for each team. Although teams knew which other teams they would be playing this coming season, on Wednesday they found out their exact dates.
Cal and Stanford will open ACC play on the road — the Cardinal at Syracuse on Friday, Sept. 20, and the Bears the next day at Florida State. SMU opens ACC play the next week, with a home game against the defending ACC champion Seminoles.
𝗔 𝗡𝗘𝗪 𝗘𝗥𝗔 𝗢𝗙 𝗔𝗖𝗖 𝗙𝗢𝗢𝗧𝗕𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗦 𝗙𝗔𝗟𝗟.
🗓️ https://t.co/O6gCEI0fHa pic.twitter.com/Nh3v9dIFG2
— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) January 24, 2024
In creating the schedule with three new members — including two based on the West Coast — the conference tried to be strategic with road trips and open dates. Stanford, for example, has an open date before traveling to Syracuse, and then an extra day to prepare for a road game the next week at Clemson on Sept. 28. Cal has an open date after its game at Florida State, then plays its ACC home opener against Miami on Oct. 5.
Stanford opens ACC play at home the same day against Virginia Tech. The ACC wanted to give its three new members strong football brands for their home openers, to help build excitement on their respective campuses.
“The 2024 ACC football schedule is significant for so many reasons. As always, there’s tremendous anticipation and excitement surrounding the upcoming season, which this year will include our newest members in Cal, SMU and Stanford,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement.
“Throughout the entire process — from creating the new model and building the complete 2024 schedule — the membership was incredibly thoughtful and committed to producing an exciting, fair, and balanced schedule with our student-athlete experience as the top priority. Between first-time matchups, meaningful rivalry games and once again playing arguably the toughest collection of non-conference opponents — there will be no shortage of interest in ACC football throughout the season.”
Among the other highlights: Florida State and Georgia Tech open the season in Dublin on Aug. 24, then the Seminoles host Boston College on Labor Day night Sept. 2 — giving them two conference games to open the season over the span of 10 days. That is a byproduct of scheduling work done years earlier, when the ACC determined that BC and Florida State would play on Labor Day night — well before the Seminoles were approached with an opportunity to play in Ireland in Week 0.
The Seminoles also play their two protected rivalry games in October — Oct. 5 at home against Clemson, with former Tigers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei now at Florida State, then at Miami on Oct. 26.
Clemson opens the season against Georgia in what should be a game with national championship implications. The Tigers also play at Virginia Tech on Nov. 9, the same day Florida State travels to face Notre Dame.
The league will continue to play eight conference games without divisions. All 17 teams will play each other at least twice over the next seven seasons — once at home and once on the road. There are 16 protected matchups: Boston College-Syracuse, Boston College-Pitt, Syracuse-Pitt, North Carolina-Virginia, North Carolina-Duke, North Carolina-NC State, NC State-Wake Forest, NC State-Duke, Duke-Wake Forest, Virginia Tech-Virginia, Florida State-Clemson, Miami-Florida State, Miami-Virginia Tech, Stanford-Cal, Stanford-SMU and Cal-SMU.
The Cal-SMU game is set for Week 14 and will remain on the final weekend of the regular season moving forward. Without divisions, the top two teams in the standings at the end of the season will play in the ACC championship game in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Dec. 7.