It’s going to be a crazy year for college football, with all of the conference realignment and schools traveling across the country just for conference games.
The Atlantic Coast Conference announced its 2024 football schedule today and it is certainly an interesting group of games – Miami at Cal on Oct. 5 and SMU at Stanford on Oct. 19, for instance.
But we wanted to look at what this new 17-team ACC scheduled outside the conference. How much did the league push itself after Florida State was snubbed from the College Football Playoff last season, despite going undefeated?
Here are the top three games.
Clemson vs. Georgia, Aug. 31
This game will be the Aflac Kickoff Game in Atlanta. So, yes, while the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is technically a neutral site, this is clearly a Georgia home game.
After a disappointing season a year ago, falling to 9-4 and having to escape with a 38-35 win against Kentucky in the Gator Bowl, Clemson needs something to get the program going again. An upset win over Georgia would do the trick.
Still, the Bulldogs come in strong as ever. They have lost one game in three seasons and are one of the preseason favorites to win the SEC.
These two teams have played a lot in their history, but not much lately. They’ve met three times in the past 10 seasons and Georgia is 2-1 in those games, including a 10-3 win to open the 2021 season.
Related: How to save the Pac-12
Tennessee vs. NC State, Sept. 7
Like the Clemson vs. Georgia game, this is one of those early-season neutral field games. This is the Duke’s Mayo Classic in Charlotte, N.C. But this will be played during the second week of the season instead of the first, in Bank of America Stadium.
Both of these teams have high expectations next season. The Volunteers will be starting Nico Iamaleava at quarterback, the top-rated player at his position in the 2023 recruiting class. He was outstanding in Tennessee’s Citrus Bowl win against Iowa, throwing for one touchdown and rushing for three.
Tennessee was originally scheduled to face Oklahoma in a non-conference game on Sept. 7, 2024. However, the Southeastern Conference directed the postponement of that contest as the Sooners transitioned to the SEC.
NC State added 24 recruits from the transfer portal to its 2024 class and could be the best team Dave Doeren has had.
These teams have only played four times with Tennessee winning the last two, including a 35-21 victory in Atlanta in 2012.
Florida State at Notre Dame, Nov. 16
Oh, Florida State. The heartbreak of last season could fuel the Seminoles every week in 2024, despite what the coaches and players will say.
The goal in the upcoming season is to leave no doubt as to how good they are. If they get a chance to blow out an opponent, don’t expect any pulling of the reins.
It’ll be a different team, with several players making themselves available for the NFL draft and leaving after the devastation of how last season ended, but it will be a good team as several great players were brought in through the transfer portal, including DJ Uiagalelei, former Clemson and Oregon State quarterback.
Notre Dame just reloads at QB, it seems. Another transfer portal player Riley Leonard from Duke, will be running the Fighting Irish’s offense this season.
This game will be key for both teams, coming so late in the season.