Louisville making ACC debut

Updated: January 22, 2014, 3:53 PM ET
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

The 2014 ACC schedule was released Wednesday and features Louisville's inaugural season in the conference, the first year of the ACC's partnership with Notre Dame and one of the nation's toughest nonconference schedules.

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesJameis Winston and Florida State will open their national title defense against Oklahoma State on Aug. 30 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

And, if that isn't enough, a weekend of rivalry games to end the regular season.

ACC teams will play more nonconference games against teams ranked in the final AP Top 25 (nine) than any of the other "power five" conferences.

"This is an exciting time in ACC football, and as we look ahead to the 2014 season, it's clear that our teams have once again combined for a strong lineup of nonconference opponents, along with our competitive league schedule," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a prepared statement. "We look forward to welcoming Louisville into the ACC and beginning our annual scheduling agreement with Notre Dame."

National champion Florida State will begin its title defense Aug. 30 against Oklahoma State in the sixth annual Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas -- which is also where the College Football Playoff will crown its first champion on Jan. 12, 2015.

It's the first meeting between the Seminoles and Cowboys since the 1985 Gator Bowl, which FSU won 34-23. Florida State's nonconference schedule also includes The Citadel, Notre Dame and rival Florida.

Notre Dame will also face North Carolina (Oct. 11), Syracuse (Sept. 27) and Louisville (Nov. 22), which officially joins the ACC's Atlantic Division on July 1.

The opening weekend will also be highlighted by Louisville's ACC debut, as the Cardinals will host Miami on Labor Day Monday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). It will be a rematch of the Russell Athletic Bowl, won 36-9 by the Cardinals.

Miami hasn't played at Louisville since 2006, but it leads the series 9-2-1.

Louisville's annual game against Kentucky will bring another established rivalry to the ACC. Thanksgiving week also includes FSU-Florida, Virginia-Virginia TechClemson-South Carolina, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh-Miami, Syracuse-Boston College, Wake Forest-Duke and NC State-UNC.

The ACC will also have five games televised nationally by ESPN on Thursday nights -- Virginia Tech-Pitt (Oct. 16), Miami-Virginia Tech (Oct. 23), FSU-Louisville (Oct. 30), Clemson-Wake Forest (Nov. 6) and North Carolina-Duke (Nov. 20).

It will be the Blue Devils' first appearance on the ESPN Thursday night package since 1996 and their first home appearance since 1994. Duke finished the 2013 season ranked No. 23 in the AP poll.

The 113-game schedule will take place over a span of 15 weeks and culminate with the Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game on Dec. 6, at a site to be determined.

Swofford said recently that "discussions are ongoing" with Charlotte, the game's home since 2010.

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