FSU at Pitt opens ACC schedule

A nationally televised Labor Day matchup between defending ACC champion Florida State and league newcomer Pittsburgh will kick off what is the largest -- and arguably the most difficult -- schedule in ACC history.

The ACC schedule, which was released on Monday, includes Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which will both officially join the league on July 1, but the national spotlight will focus on the league's heavyweight nonconference lineup.

ACC teams will play nine games against nonconference teams that finished 2012 ranked in the final Associated Press top 10. No other BCS conference will play more than four nonconference games against 2012 top 10 opponents.

Virginia Tech will face defending national champion Alabama, Virginia will play No. 2 Oregon, both Georgia Tech and Clemson will face No. 3 Georgia, Pitt will play No. 4 Notre Dame and both Clemson and North Carolina will play No. 7 South Carolina.

Both Miami and FSU will also face No. 9 Florida.

Nine games are also against teams included by ESPN in its early top 10 for the 2013 season.

"The 2013 ACC football schedule showcases some tremendous matchups this year as our league is arguably playing the toughest nonconference schedule in the country," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a prepared statement. "This is an exciting year as we look forward to welcoming Pitt and Syracuse into the ACC."

The 113-game schedule incorporates Syracuse in the Atlantic Division and Pitt in the Coastal Division. All ACC teams will face eight conference opponents. Syracuse will open ACC play on Oct. 5 at home in the Carrier Dome against Clemson.

Pitt will open league play on Labor Day against the Noles at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., in a nationally televised game (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) between two programs that haven't met in 30 years. The Seminoles' last trip to Pittsburgh was in 1983.

"I am really excited about the 2013 schedule and it will provide great exposure for Florida State and the ACC," said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher in a prepared statement. "We are excited to open up the season with a great opponent like Pitt and getting to play a new opponent at their venue to welcome them to the ACC. We are looking forward to that."

The ACC will play five games that are nationally televised by ESPN on Thursday night, beginning with North Carolina at South Carolina (Aug. 29); Clemson at NC State (Sept. 19); Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (Sept. 26); Miami at North Carolina (Oct. 17); and Georgia Tech at Clemson (Nov. 14).

The league will also play two nationally televised Friday games, with Boston College hosting Wake Forest on Sept. 6 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2), and Pittsburgh hosting Miami on Thanksgiving Friday, Nov. 29 -- a game that will be televised by ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, with the game time to be determined.

The schedule includes 56 regular-season conference matchups over a span of 14 weeks and ends with the Dr. Pepper ACC championship game in Charlotte, N.C., that will be played on Dec. 7 in Bank of America Stadium.