A primetime kickoff for the ACC championship game, the debut of a syndicated ACC Regional Sports Network package and a minimum of 18 nationally-televised games highlights the early season TV and game time schedule announced Wednesday by the ACC.
Included in the release were game times and TV networks for all home games for the league in its first three weeks of the season, as well as for all of its 2011 Thursday night games and all national television games confirmed to date.
"This is an exciting time for the Atlantic Coast Conference as we kick off our new 12-year multimedia partnership with ESPN," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a prepared statement. "This year's ACC football schedule is terrific in terms of exposure, competition and possibility for our teams. I'm looking forward to the season and its culmination in Charlotte when the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game kicks off in primetime."
The 2011 ACC championship game, which will be played on December 3 in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., will have an 8 p.m. kickoff and will be nationally televised by ESPN. It will be the second straight primetime exposure for the ACC title game which drew of a crowd of 72,379 fans in its Charlotte debut last year.
The ACC will have two syndicated packages produced by the ACC Network this fall. As in the past, the ACC Network will produce a game of the week which will actually expand to the opening week of the season, debuting with Appalachian State at Virginia Tech on Sept. 3.
New to this year will be the addition of a second ACC Network production which will air on the Regional Sports Networks throughout the ACC. This package will debut with James Madison at North Carolina on Sept. 3 and features a doubleheader on Sept. 17 beginning with Kansas at Georgia Tech (12:30 pm), and concluding with Arkansas State at Virginia Tech (4 p.m.).
ACC network syndicated games will have a new, later kickoff time of 12:30 p.m.; while the Regional Sports Network package will be no earlier than 12:30 p.m., with several games slated for 3:30 p.m. or later.
Of the national exposures, ABC has already committed to three, two of them on Sept. 17 with defending national champion Auburn traveling to Clemson (noon) and either Oklahoma visiting Florida State or Ohio State at Miami (either ABC or ESPN to be determined on September 6), as well as the previously-announced Thanksgiving Friday afternoon game on Nov. 25 with Boston College at Miami (3:30 pm).
The schedule features a minimum of 16 televised games in the first three weeks of the season, and that total will rise as several of the league’s away non-conference games are likely to be televised.
No fewer than eight ESPN exposures are listed, beginning with the ACC’s annual appearance on the network’s Labor Day Monday Night (Sept. 5, 8 pm) package, which this year features Miami traveling to Maryland in an early test for the league’s two new head coaches in Miami’s Al Golden, formerly of Temple, and Maryland’s Randy Edsall, formerly of Big East co-champion Connecticut. Two weeks later, ESPN will either nationally televise the Hurricanes’ home game with Ohio State or the Seminoles home game against Oklahoma (Sept. 17).
ESPN will air five Thursday night games during the season featuring ACC teams, all with 8 pm kickoffs, beginning with NC State at Cincinnati (Sept. 22) and including Virginia at Miami (Oct.; 22), Florida State at Boston College (Nov. 3), Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (Nov. 10) and North Carolina at Virginia Tech (Nov. 17).
Additionally, ESPNU, which is available in 73 million homes nationwide, will televise four ACC games in the first three weeks of the season, including Northwestern at Boston College (Sept. 3, Noon); Louisiana Monroe at Florida State (Sept. 3, 3:30 pm); Stanford at Duke (Sept. 10, 3:30 pm); and Virginia at North Carolina (Sept. 17, 3:30 pm).
Finally, nine ACC games will be video streamed over ESPN’s web-streaming platform of ESPN3.com which is now available in 70 million homes, making telecasts of all of the Conference’s home games in the first three weeks of the season available to a national audience.
Western Carolina at Georgia Tech (ESPN3.com, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Northwestern at Boston College (ESPNU, 12 p.m. ET)
Appalachian State at Virginia Tech (ACC Network, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Troy at Clemson (ESPN3.com, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Louisiana Monroe at Florida State (ESPNU, 3:30 p.m. ET)
James Madison at North Carolina (RSN, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Liberty at NC State (ESPN3.com, 6 p.m. ET)
William & Mary at Virginia (ESPN3.com, 6 p.m. ET)
Richmond at Duke (ESPN3.com, 7 p.m. ET)
Wake Forest at Syracuse (TBA TBA)
Miami at Maryland (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Rutgers at North Carolina (ACC Network, 12:30 p.m. ET)
NC State at Wake Forest (RSN, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Stanford at Duke (ESPNU, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Wofford at Clemson (ESPN3.com, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Charleston Southern at Florida State (ESPN3.com, 6 p.m. ET)
Georgia Tech at Middle Tennessee (TBA TBA)
Boston College at UCF (TBA TBA)
Virginia at Indiana (TBA TBA)
Virginia Tech at East Carolina (TBA TBA)
Auburn at Clemson (ABC, 12 p.m. ET)
Sept. 17 West Virginia at Maryland (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, 12 p.m. ET)
Sept. 17 Duke at Boston College (ACC Network, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Sept. 17 Kansas at Georgia Tech (RSN, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Sept. 17 Arkansas State at Virginia Tech (RSN, 4 p.m. ET)
Sept. 17 Virginia at North Carolina (ESPNU 3:30 p.m. ET)
Sept. 17 South Alabama at NC State (ESPN3.com 6 p.m. ET)
Sept. 17 Gardner-Webb at Wake Forest (ESPN3.com, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Sept. 17 Ohio State at Miami (ESPN or ABC, 7:30/8 p.m. ET)
Sept. 17 Oklahoma at Florida State (ESPN or ABC, 7:30/8 p.m. ET)
NC State at Cincinnati (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Virginia at Miami (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Florida State at Boston College (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Maryland vs. Notre Dame (Landover, Md.) (NBC, 7:30 p.m. ET)
North Carolina at Virginia Tech (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Boston College at Notre Dame (NBC, 4 p.m. ET)Boston College at Miami (ABC 3:30 p.m. ET)Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)