Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Incoming ACC members Pittsburgh, Syracuse unlikely to play league football schedules in 2012

Barring sudden changes, Pittsburgh and Syracuse will not be included in the 2012 ACC football season.

The league plans to announce its entire schedule in early February and although some modifications could be made later, it would be difficult to extensively revise if the Big East released the two new ACC members without notice.

“You never say never, but it’s unlikely there would be major changes once it’s set,” said Mike Finn, the ACC associate commissioner in charge of football communications.

Finn said the schedule will not be announced on national signing day (Feb. 1), but would likely be released shortly thereafter. The 2011 league schedule was released on Feb. 14.

Most of the non-conference games are set, including an ACC vs. SEC doubleheader on Sept. 1 in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

N.C. State will face Tennessee in one game and Clemson will play Auburn in the other. The kickoff times probably won’t be determined by television networks until late spring or early summer.

UNC will open on Sept. 1 against Elon and Duke will host Florida International the same day. Wake Forest’s opening game hasn’t been set.

ECU will host Appalachian State on Sept. 1, then go to South Carolina on Sept. 8 and to UNC on Sept. 22. The Pirates’ other non-conference game will be in Greenville against Navy on Oct.  27.

Nationally, a trip by Boise State to Michigan State on Friday, Aug. 31 probably will serve as the first major TV event of the season.

National champ Alabama and Michigan will open on Sept. 1 in at Cowboys Stadium.

Pitt and Syracuse were formally accepted as ACC members in waiting on Sept. 19.  But under Big East bylaws, each school will have to pay a $5 million exit fee and may have to wait until after the 2013 football season to leave.

The 2012 Big East league schedule hasn’t been arranged and may not be until after West Virginia’s planned move to the Big 12 is sorted out. The school and the league are involved in lawsuits that could go to mediation.

Syracuse is scheduled to open its schedule at home on Sept. 1 against Northwestern and then face Southern Cal on Sept. 8 in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. Pitt is scheduled to host Youngstown State on Sept. 1. The Panthers will host Virginia Tech of the ACC on Sept. 15.

The SEC, Big 10 and Pac-12 have already released their entire schedules. The ACC, Big East, Big 12 and Conference USA have not.

•NON-LEAGUE FINALES

The pattern of ACC vs. SEC meetings to end regular season will continue yet another season.

The final Saturday -- Nov. 24 -- will find South Carolina at Clemson, Florida at Florida State, Georgia Tech at Georgia and Vanderbilt at Wake Forest.

Miami is scheduled to conclude at home against South Florida on Nov. 24. Unless that game is rescheduled, one ACC team will have to end its season on Nov. 17.

The Notre Dame trend will also continue in the ACC. The Irish will face Miami (Oct. 6 in Chicago), visit Boston College (Nov. 10) and host Wake Forest (Nov. 17). Pitt will go to Notre Dame on Oct. 3, a week after the Irish are at Oklahoma.

-- Caulton Tudor

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