ACC scraps football divisions starting in 2023; UNC to face three primary schools each season

By R.L. Bynum

Next season will be the last with Coastal chaos and the two-division football format in the ACC.

The conference announced Tuesday a new scheduling model from 2023 until 2026 that eliminates divisions, becoming the fifth league to make that move. It designates three primary opponents that teams will play each year — for Carolina those are Duke, North Carolina State and Virginia. The Tar Heels will be guaranteed to face all 10 other opponents twice over the four-year cycle.

Graphic courtesy of the ACC

Beginning with the 2023 season, the ACC championship game will match the two teams with the best conference winning percentage instead of the Coastal Division winner meeting the Atlantic Division winner, which will be done next season for the last time.

The ACC went without divisions in the 2020 season because of the pandemic. That season, Clemson beat Notre Dame in the championship game.

“We appreciate the thoughtful discussions within our membership, including the head football coaches and athletic directors,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said. “In the end, it was clear this model is in the best interest of our student-athletes, programs and fans, at this time.”

In 2023, UNC will face Duke, Miami, Syracuse and Virginia at home and visit Clemson, Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Pittsburgh.

That will mark Carolina’s first game at Clemson since losing 50–35 in 2014.

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In 2024, Carolina meets Boston College, N.C. State, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech at home and goes on the road to face Duke, Florida State, Louisville and Virginia.

In 2025, the Tar Heels will have home games against Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia and play road games against Miami, N.C. State, Syracuse and Wake Forest.

In 2026, Carolina will face Florida State, Louisville, N.C. State and Wake Forest at home and meet Boston College, Duke, Virginia and Virginia Tech on the road.

With N.C. State’s primary opponents UNC, Duke and Clemson, 2023 will mark the first time since 1910 that the Wolfpack hasn’t faced Wake Forest.

Primary opponents for each school

Boston College: Miami, Pitt, Syracuse
Clemson: Florida State, Georgia Tech, N.C. State
Duke: North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest
Florida State: Clemson, Miami, Syracuse
Georgia Tech: Clemson, Louisville, Wake Forest
Louisville: Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia
Miami: Boston College, Florida State, Louisville
North Carolina: Duke, N.C. State, Virginia
North Carolina State: Clemson, Duke, North Carolina
Pitt: Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia Tech
Syracuse: Boston College, Florida State, Pitt
Virginia: Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech: Pitt, Virginia, Wake Forest
Wake Forest: Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech

Photo via @UNCFootball

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