Ranking the ACC conference schedules

The ACC released its conference schedule on Tuesday, and, as is the case every season, some teams received a few breaks while others are tasked with daunting road trips and brutal stretches.

Here's the ACC conference schedules ranked from toughest to weakest.

1. NC State: Is the ACC punishing the Wolfpack for soft nonconference scheduling? NC State opens conference play with Wake Forest, which means it ends with Notre Dame, at Clemson, at Louisville, Boston College, Florida State, Miami and at North Carolina without a bye week. Dave Doeren better sweep the non Power-5 schools.

2. Miami: Mark Richt’s ACC career begins with a few familiar opponents as the Hurricanes play Georgia Tech and Florida State to begin their conference schedule. But those games are also the start of a brutal six-game stretch that ends with North Carolina, at Virginia Tech on a short week, at Notre Dame and home against Pitt.

3. Florida State: The Seminoles had an easy first half of the season to start 2015. That won’t be the case this coming fall. Conference play opens Sept. 17 at Louisville and then a road trip to an improved USF team precedes games to Coastal contenders North Carolina and Miami.

4. Clemson: The reigning conference champions of course have to travel to Florida State, but they also have two midweek road games. The Tigers visit Georgia Tech on a Thursday

5. Louisville: The second half of the season is cake. The Cards get Duke on a short week after a bye (Duke plays the week before) and also have Virginia from the Coastal. However, Louisville’s first two conference games are against Florida State and at Clemson, and they come within a three-week span.

6. North Carolina: Similar to Louisville, the early stretch of road poses several issues before smooth driving over the final six weeks. UNC plays Pittsburgh, at Florida State, Virginia Tech and at Miami during a four-game stretch.

7. Pittsburgh: The ACC did not reward Pitt’s tough nonconference scheduling, as the Panthers renew their rivalry with Penn State and then travel to Oklahoma State before opening conference play at North Carolina. November includes back-to-back road trips to Miami and Clemson.

8. Duke: Is it good or bad the Blue Devil’s division hopes comes down to the final three weeks? They end with North Carolina, at Pitt and at Miami. Duke does play a Louisville team coming off a bye, but the Blue Devils also get a week to prepare for Georgia Tech and host UNC on a short week after the Tar Heels play the Yellow Jackets.

9. Virginia: A couple of passionate home crowds could help the Cavaliers turn their luck around. New coach Bronco Mendenhall welcomes Pitt, North Carolina, Louisville and Miami to Charlottesville. The Cavs lack a truly tough road game.

10. Syracuse: New coach Dino Babers opens his ACC career at home against Louisville on a short week, and the conference schedule sets up nicely through October. After a bye week, however, November brings road trips to Clemson and Pitt. Sandwiched between are NC State and Florida State.

11. Wake Forest: Drawing Duke and Virginia from the Coastal is nice for the Demon Deacons, and Clemson and Florida State are split up nicely for them. Back-to-back November games against Louisville and Clemson will test Wake, though.

12. Boston College: The Eagles play one true road game before Oct. 29. Boston College also gets Clemson on a short week after the Tigers play a physical Louisville team. Back-to-back November games against Louisville and Florida State will be tough, but FSU comes on a short week after the Seminoles travel to NC State, which has given the Seminoles problems recently.

13. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets lose a true road game by playing Boston College in Dublin, Ireland. They also host Clemson on a short week, which could be an issue for the Tigers considering their defense will be inexperienced and Tech runs the option. Miami and Pitt follow Clemson, but overall it’s not a rough schedule.

14. Virginia Tech: Justin Fuente might have the Hokies back in the national rankings quicker than many might have expected. The nonconference presents issues, but the ACC schedule sets Fuente up for success in his inaugural season. The Hokies host Miami on a Thursday after the Canes play North Carolina. There’s a stretch of road games in the second half of the year, but they avoid FSU and Clemson in the Atlantic and play Boston College and Syracuse.