Last week, we got our first glimpse of the ACC's new scheduling model for the 2020 college football season, which expands conference play from eight to 10 games, while reducing non-conference action for four contests down to just one home or in-state matchup. Excepting that non-con tilt, we know where each game will played, we just don't know when-- but we're about to find out.
The ACC announced today that dates will be released Thursday morning at 9 am, and we'll keep you updated on what the schedule looks like, with analysis. But for now, we've already got questions about the Seminoles' slate, based on what we do know about Florida State's conference schedule, the toughest in the ACC.
First, how late in the year will FSU have to play its northernmost games? The 'Noles aren't likely to experience winter conditions at Duke or NC State, and certainly not at Miami, but those trips to Notre Dame, and even Louisville, right on the Kentucky-Indiana border, could be different stories. And considering that regular season games run even later this year, through the week of December 5, getting those games too late in the season could be an issue for Florida State.
Every team wants to get off to a good start, but given a brand new staff, and coming off two straight losing seasons, it's probably even more important for the Seminoles to experience some success early on, for the purposes of buy-in and morale. So while they don't want that visit to the Irish too late, they also don't need to see Notre Dame or Clemson right up front either. Georgia Tech, Virginia, or Pitt at home would be nice. Or maybe that Duke roadie.
What of those mysterious non-conference games, for which ACC squads haven't designated their opponents yet? Will they all be played the same weekend? Perhaps those will be the openers, so if they need to be canceled, no conference action is lost? That would be another good starter for FSU, assuming this will be against a smaller, overmatched school playing for a paycheck.
And regarding possible cancelations, how will the conference go about situating its biggest games? Will it bump back top matchups and/or rivalries, like Clemson at Notre Dame, the Irish traveling to North Carolina, and FSU's trip to Miami, to account for possible early cancelations? We'll know soon enough.