Atlantic Coast Conference teams that play BYU now will be able to count that game toward the ACC's requirement of playing a nonleague Power 5 team, sources told ESPN.
This is a change in philosophy for the ACC. At last year's spring meetings, the ACC announced games against BYU would not count as a Power 5 opponent. Starting in 2017, ACC teams are required to play at least one nonleague Power 5 team.
The reason for the change was because three of the four remaining Power 5 leagues (Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten) play nine conference games or will be going to nine conference games, meaning fewer nonconference opportunities, a source said. Also, the ACC believes games against BYU -- which has gone to 10 consecutive bowl games under coach Bronco Mendenhall -- would help the league's overall strength of schedule, a source said.
BYU currently has only one ACC team on its future schedule: Virginia. The Cougars and Cavs, who played in 2013 and 2014, complete their four-game series in 2019 at Virginia and 2023 at BYU.
As one of only three independents, scheduling has been one of the biggest challenges for BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe. Still, the Cougars have managed to schedule several future games against Power 5 opponents including Nebraska, UCLA, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Arizona, Utah, West Virginia, LSU, Cal, USC and Arizona State.
Beginning in 2016, the SEC also will require its league members to play at least one nonleague Power 5 team. Last year the SEC said BYU would not count toward the SEC's requirement. An SEC spokesman said Thursday the SEC's stance toward BYU had not changed.
On Thursday, the ACC released its entire 2015 schedule. The league will play 12 nonconference teams ranked in ESPN's Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings, more than double the number of any other Power 5 league. In 2015, the ACC also plays 38 percent of its nonconference games against Power 5 opponents, the highest percentage of any Power 5 league.