ACC returns to normal, Notre Dame independent again in ’21

ACC returns to normal, Notre Dame independent again in ’21

The Atlantic Coast Conference hopes to restore a sense of normalcy to the 2021 college football season.

The league optimistically released its schedule Thursday, returning to a two-division format (Atlantic and Coastal) with members playing eight ACC games and four non-conference games.

Notre Dame, which played as a full member amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, returns to its traditional independent status and will play five games against ACC opponents.

“The return to a traditional schedule is contingent on national, state and local health guidelines allowing such competition to occur,” the league cautioned in its press release.

The ACC schedule kicks off on Labor Day weekend with games each day from Thursday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 6.

That includes two neutral site games in Atlanta as part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff series. Miami will face defending national champion Alabama on Sept. 4 and Louisville will take on Ole Miss on Sept. 6.

Clemson, winner of six consecutive ACC championships, opens the post-Trevor Lawrence era against Georgia in the Duke’s Mayo Classic on Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.

Notre Dame’s five ACC contests includes three road games: Sept. 5 at Florida State, Oct. 9 at Virginia Tech and Nov. 13 at Virginia. The Fighting Irish will host North Carolina on Oct. 30 and Georgia Tech on Nov. 20.

The 2021 schedule includes 13 playing weekends, giving each school one open date and potential flexibility should interruptions arise.

The ACC Championship Game will take place in Charlotte on Dec. 4.

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