2016 ACC football schedules: Which teams have the toughest slates? Which ones have the easiest? Check out the ranking of all the ACC schedules.
14. Georgia Tech
Starting out the year in Ireland against Boston College, and finishing it at Georgia as part of a run of three road games in four November weeks might be hard, but Miami and Clemson are both home dates. There’s no Florida State or Louisville to face, and the schedule shapes up just enough to go on a big run – at least before the final month.
13. Boston College
What more do you want? The season-opener is against Georgia Tech in Dublin, Ireland, and there’s a trip to Virginia Tech early on and a later date at Florida State. However, Clemson and Louisville are home games. At the very least, the schedule is easy enough to win an ACC game.
12. Wake Forest
Indiana is the hardest winnable road game – that’s not bad. The Demon Deacons have to go to Florida State and Louisville, but those are losses anyway – might as well have them away. Four of the final five games are in Winston-Salem.
It’s not a bad way to ease in the Dino Babers era with Colgate, but Louisville comes right after. The first trip out of the Northeast comes at Wake Forest in the middle of the year, and then later a date at Clemson. At least the Florida State game is at home, but there’s still Notre Dame to deal with.
The Cavaliers have to go do Oregon early on, and follow it up with a trip to UConn to face a killer defense. Still, there’s not Florida State or Clemson from the Atlantic, and the Louisville game is at home. The big issue is November, which features three of the final four games on the road, and the home game coming against Miami.
It’s front-loaded with Florida State and at Clemson within the first five weeks, but there can’t be brain-cramps on the road at Syracuse, Virginia or Boston College. The end of the regular season will be entertaining with a date at Houston and the showdown against Kentucky.
8. NC State
First month of the season is squishy-soft, but then comes the knockout blow – at Clemson and at Louisville coming off the Notre Dame game. The Wolfpack get Florida State at home, but have to deal with Miami from the Coastal.
7. Virginia Tech
Justin Fuente’s first season has the fun non-conference racetrack game against Tennessee, but there’s a run of four road games in five weeks in the back half of the schedule – and that doesn’t include the road game at Notre Dame. There’s not Clemson or Florida State from the Atlantic, though.
There might be back-to-back road games at Northwestern and Notre Dame early on, and that’s just the start of the road fun. The Blue Devils have to go to Louisville, Georgia Tech, Pit and Miami over the second half of the season.
5. North Carolina
Starting out against Georgia in the Georgia Dome isn’t going to be fun, and having to play Illinois in Lovie Smith’s house might not be a breeze, either. The defending Coastal champs won’t be back in the ACC title game without earning it thanks to road games at Florida State and Miami.
The Hurricanes will have their share of spotlight moments, but the start of the season isn’t all that bad. And then comes the date with Florida State. The big problem? The back half of the year with four road games in five weeks, including trips to Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in back-to-back weeks.
The Tigers do the SEC thing – just like Florida State – starting out against Auburn on the road and finishing with South Carolina. There’s no Notre Dame this season, but going to Florida State could be a season-killer. Watch out for funky non-Saturday road games at Georgia Tech and Boston College.
The Panthers have it rough early with Penn State and at Oklahoma State in back-to-back weeks, and then comes the start of the ACC season going to North Carolina. Going to Miami and Clemson in brutal November road games almost isn’t fair.
1. Florida State
The Seminoles not only have to start the regular season against Ole Miss in Orlando, but they’ve got to end it with Florida. In between, they go to Louisville and South Florida in back-to-back weeks, have to travel to Miami, and play Clemson in one of the biggest games of the season. There are breathers here and there, but all it takes are two losses to ruin the year.