The Atlantic Coast Conference announced that it will further delay the start of fall sports to Sept. 7 and plans to play all sports with a modified schedule for 2020, including changing the football schedule to 10 conference games and one non-conference game.
The decision follows the earlier changes to conference-only schedules by the Big Ten and Pac-12 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has threatened to cancel the football season altogether. The 10 and one model allows ACC teams with traditional rivalries with out-of-conference teams to maintain them.
“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a press release. “The Board’s decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with competition. Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate the return in a safe and responsible manner. We recognize that we may need to be nimble and make adjustments in the future. We will be as prepared as possible should that need arise.”
Each ACC football team will have five home and five road games out of the 15 conference teams, with Notre Dame included for the 2020 season only. The Atlantic and Coastal Divisions will be set aside, with the 2020 ACC Championship Game being contested between the two teams with the highest winning percentages.
For Pitt, that means the Panthers will host Louisville, NC State, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Virginia Tech while visiting Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Miami.
Pitt had previously been scheduled to face Duke, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Virginia Tech at Heinz Field in league play while traveling to Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia.
So Pitt will lose Duke, North Carolina and Virginia from its schedule, add Boston College, Clemson, Louisville and NC State and have Notre Dame become a conference game.
The Panthers have not announced which non-conference game they will play. Pitt had previously scheduled contests against Notre Dame, Richmond, which has cancelled its season, at Marshall and at home against Miami University (Ohio).
Notre Dame will be eligible to play in the ACC Championship Game and will be a full part of the ACC’s bowl selection process. The Irish will be sharing their television revenue from its separate television contract with NBC with the rest of the conference.
A schedule for the re-worked 2020 has not yet been released. The start of football play is set to begin no earlier than Monday, Sept. 7. The first Saturday eligible to be played will be Sept. 12.