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ACC Football: 2015 Non-conference Schedule Power Rankings

March 3, 2015

                                                                                                                                photo credit Andrew Shurtleff

 

 

by Lisa Horne

 

In our fifth and final installment of power ranking non-conference schedules, we take a look at the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC, like the Big Ten and SEC, plays an eight-game conference game schedule so non-conference scheduling becomes very important. Non-conference games account for one-third of its members' schedules.

 

Notre Dame is contracted to play five ACC teams a year but it is counted as a non-conference opponent for those teams. To read more on Notre Dame's role in the ACC, click here. 

 

Note: I am fairly unforgiving when it comes to scheduling two FCS teams, let alone one. At times a school may have to scramble to replace an opponent that canceled a game. An FCS team may be the only available replacement-- that's excusable. But schools that already have one FCS team on their schedule may have two if they are faced with a cancellation.  

 

Boston College

 

Maine, Howard, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame (at Fenway Park)

 

NIU and Notre Dame are good opponents but TWO FCS teams? Fail. 

 

Grade: F

 

Clemson

 

Wofford, Appalachian State, Notre Dame, at South Carolina

 

Well, at least Clemson's schedule is better than Boston College's. 

 

Grade: C+

 

Duke

 

At Tulane, North Carolina Central, Northwestern, at Army

 

Road trips to Tulane and Army are not going to keep the Blue Devils up at night. Neither is a date with North Carolina Central. So it boils down to Northwestern (5-7). 

 

Grade: D

 

Florida State

 

Texas State, South Florida, Chattanooga, at Florida

 

The big hitter here is Florida but last year the Gators needed three overtime periods to beat Kentucky and lost to a mediocre South Carolina in overtime. 

 

Grade D+

 

Georgia Tech

 

Alcorn State, Tulane, at Notre Dame, Georgia

 

This is a very good schedule despite the FCS team in there. 

 

Grade: A-

 

Louisville

 

Auburn (at Atlanta), Houston, Samford, at Kentucky

 

Kentucky is an in-state rivalry game for Louisville so the Cardinals adding an additional SEC school (Auburn) is fairly impressive. Also, Houston is no slouch. 

 

Grade: A

 

Miami

 

Bethune-Cookman, at Florida Atlantic, Nebraska, at Cincinnati

 

Beside the requisite FCS staple, we also have FAU in the mix. The two teams really take away the punch of Nebraska.

 

Grade: C

 

North Carolina

 

South Carolina (at Charlotte), North Carolina A&T, Illinois, Delaware

 

There are two Power 5 teams on the slate but there are also two FCS teams. Inexcusable. 

 

Grade: F+

 

North Carolina State

 

Troy, Eastern Kentucky, at Old Dominion, at South Alabama

 

How hard was the scheduling staff laughing when it turned in this pathetic slate? Woof.

 

Grade: Z

 

Pitt

 

Youngstown State, at Akron, at Iowa, Notre Dame

 

This is an acceptable schedule. I also like the Panthers keeping that Midwest vibe. 

 

Grade: B+

 

Syracuse

 

Rhode Island, Central Michigan, LSU, at South Florida

 

How did Syracuse manage to convince an SEC team to play at its opponent's stadium? While we ponder that, we note that LSU is the only decent opponent on this slate. 

 

Grade: C-

 

Virginia

 

At UCLA, Notre Dame, William and Mary, Boise State

 

Gulp.

 

Grade: A

 

Virginia Tech

 

Ohio State, Furman, at Purdue, at East Carolina

 

I love this schedule (except for Furman, of course). The Buckeyes are the defending national champions, Purdue is a lower-tiered Big Ten team (but it's a road game so that adds difficulty) and East Carolina is a "playa."

 

Grade: A

 

Wake Forest

 

Elon, at Army, Indiana, at Notre Dame

 

Notre Dame saves this from a complete fail. 

 

Grade: D

 

 

Non-conference Schedule Power Rankings

 

1- Virginia

2- Virginia Tech

3- Louisville

4- Georgia Tech

5- Pittsburgh

6- Clemson

7- Miami

8- Syracuse

9- Florida State

10- Wake Forest

11- Duke

12- North Carolina

13- Boston College

14- North Carolina State

 

 

 

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