2016 ACC Football Schedule: 5 Games That’ll Shape College Football Playoff

    The 2016 ACC football schedule has been released. Here are five games that will shape the College Football Playoff hunt next season.

    January 26, 2016

    The ACC football schedule for 2016 has been released. Here are five games that will have an effect on the national championship hunt. 

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello
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    Earn a Ph.D. in college football … class is in session at Campus Insiders


Baby, it’s cold outside, but the 2016 ACC football schedule is hot off the presses. The league has released its full slate of matchups, featuring a weekly buffet of entertaining and critically important games. The following five pairings have the early potential to determine berths in the third College Football Playoff.

    NOTE: Notre Dame games are being counted on the non-conference side

    5 ACC Football Games That’ll Shape CFP Chase

    1. Florida State vs. Ole Miss (in Orlando), Sept. 5

    The Noles and the Rebels on a neutral field will serve as a Labor Day exclamation point to what should be an explosive opening weekend to the 2016 season. Both schools are coming off New Year’s Six bowl appearances, and both have realistic visions of competing for one of this year’s playoff spots. This first meeting since 1961 will serve as a launching point for the programs and their Heisman contenders, FSU RB Dalvin Cook and Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly.

    2. Clemson at Auburn, Sept. 3

    In an interesting twist, Auburn will begin—and end—the 2016 regular season versus a team that participated in last year’s national championship game. First up for Gus Malzahn’s kids will be a visit from Clemson, which returns QB Deshaun Watson and the bulk of a potent offensive attack. Welcome to your new gig as the Auburn defensive coordinator, Kevin Steele. The battle of the Tigers will be an early referendum on who retooled faster this offseason, the draft-depleted Clemson D or the disheveled Auburn offense.

    3. Florida at Florida State, Nov. 26

    The Gators and the Seminoles always matter. Now that FSU is a year older and Jim McElwain is entering his second season in Gainesville, it’ll matter even more on the national landscape. The Noles have won the prior three meetings, suffocating the Gators in the Swamp last November, 27-2. But with a full year to tweak the offense and another recruiting class in the vault, McElwain hopes to be in a better position to compete with Florida State.

    4. Miami at Notre Dame, Oct. 29

    The Canes and the Irish is one of those delicious rivalries that isn’t staged nearly enough. The latest chapter of this storied matchup takes place Week 9 in South Bend. For Mark Richt, this trip will be one of his first chances to make a splash as the Miami coach. Notre Dame, on the other hand, could use the game as a jumping-off point before the final stretch run toward a playoff bid. There’ll be plenty of compelling matchups, none better than the one at quarterback between Cane Brad Kaaya and Brian Kelly’s choice of Malik Zaire or DeShone Kizer.

    5. Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech (in Bristol), Sept. 10

    The Battle at Bristol will be rife with intriguing storylines in Week 2. It marks the first impact game for new Hokies coach Justin Fuente. And it’s an early show-me opportunity for the Vols, who appear to be on the brink of that long-awaited breakthrough season. But the star of this matchup will be Tennessee’s Bristol Motor Speedway. The venerable track is slated to attract a crowd of at least 150,000 spectators, which would set a new record for the largest crowd to ever witness a college football game.

    ACC SCHEDULE: 5 Games That’ll Shape The ACC Title Race


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