The league announced Wednesday that it will stick with an eight-game conference schedule for 2013 and beyond, a reversal from the nine-game slate the athletic directors and faculty representatives agreed to go to in February.
The move is aimed to ease scheduling tensions for teams like Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech that have annual rivalry games out of conference with BCS-caliber foes, a concern for those schools with another marquee opponent, Notre Dame, coming into the scheduling rotation soon.
Once Pittsburgh and Syracuse make it a 14-team league next season, teams will play their six division rivals, a primary crossover opponent and one rotating opponent from the opposite division each year.
The eighth game will rotate among the other six Atlantic Division schools (Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Syracuse), meaning those teams will come to town only once every 12 years.
Notre Dame, which remains independent in football but will play five games against ACC schools every season starting as early as 2014, will still play every school at least once every three years. That game is independent of the eight-game ACC schedule.
The move puts Virginia Tech in a bit of a bind in 2013. The Hokies originally had Pittsburgh as a non-conference game. The Panthers now become a division game, but Tech still has three Atlantic Division foes on the schedule — Boston College, Florida State and Maryland.
The Eagles will stay as a primary crossover partner, but either the Seminoles or Terrapins will have to go to get down to eight conference games, leaving a need for another non-conference game.
Virginia Tech’s other non-conference opponents in 2013 are Alabama in the Georgia Dome and Marshall and Western Carolina at home.
Here’s the full release on the ACC’s scheduling decisions today, with other sports listed as well.