American Football Wiki
Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Coast Conference logo
Established 1953
Association NCAA
Division Division I FBS
Members 15 (14 for football)
Sports fielded 25[1] (men's: 12; women's: 13)
Region South Atlantic/Northeast
Headquarters Greensboro, North Carolina
Commissioner Jim Phillips (since 2021)

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is a collegiate athletic league in the United States. Founded in 1953 in Greensboro, North Carolina, the ACC sanctions competition in twenty-five sports in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association for its fifteen member universities.

The ACC is considered one of the five power conferences and the ACC football champion receives an automatic bid to one of the New Year’s Six bowl games each season. In men’s basketball the league has done well recent years and have won four national championships since 2009 with Duke and North Carolina winning two each since then.


Seven universities were charter members of the ACC: Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest. Previously members of the Southern Conference, they left partially due to that league's ban on post-season play. After drafting a set of bylaws for the creation of a new league, the seven withdrew from the Southern Conference at the spring meeting on the morning of May 8, 1953. The bylaws were ratified on June 14, 1953, and the ACC was created. On December 4, 1953, officials convened in Greensboro, North Carolina, and admitted Virginia into the conference.[2]

In 1971, South Carolina left the ACC to become an independent. The ACC operated with seven members until the addition of Georgia Tech from the Metro Conference on April 3, 1978. The total number of member schools reached nine with the addition of Florida State, also formerly from the Metro Conference, on July 1, 1991.

The ACC added three members from the Big East Conference during the 2005 cycle of conference realignment: Miami and Virginia Tech joined on July 1, 2004, and Boston College joined on July 1, 2005, as the league's twelfth member and the first and only one from New England. The expansion was not without controversy, since Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia (and, initially, Virginia Tech) filed lawsuits against the ACC, Miami, and Boston College for conspiring to weaken the Big East Conference.

The ACC Hall of Champions opened on March 2, 2011, next to the Greensboro Coliseum arena, making the ACC the second college sports conference to have a hall of fame.[3][4]

In 2011, the conference announced it was adding Syracuse and Pitt to expand to fourteen members with the move taking place in 2013. Additional moves came in 2014 when Louisville replaced Maryland, who moved the Big Ten. Notre Dame also joined the league in 2013 for all sports except for football and ice hockey. However, the Fighting Irish’s football program plays five games annually against ACC schools and even played as a member in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as many conferences went to conference-only schedules. Its football teams participate in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the higher of two levels of Division I college football.


Name Term
James H. Weaver 1954–1970
Robert James 1971–1987
Eugene F. Corrigan 1987–1997
John Swofford 1997-2021
Jim Phillips 2021-present



Present members[]

Team Location Stadium
Boston College Eagles Chestnut Hill, MA

Alumni Stadium

Clemson Tigers Clemson, SC Clemson Memorial Stadium
Duke Blue Devils Durham, NNC Wallace Wade Stadium
Florida State Seminoles Tallahassee, FL Doak Campbell Stadium
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Atlanta, GA Bobby Dodd Stadium
Louisville Cardinals Louisville, KY Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Miami Hurricanes Coral Gables, FL Sun Life Stadium
(in Miami Gardens, Florida)
North Carolina Tar Heels Chapel Hill, NC Kenan Stadium
North Carolina State Wolfpack Raleigh, NC Carter-Finley Stadium
Notre Dame Fighting Irish* South Bend, IN Notre Dame Stadium
Pittsburgh Panthers Pittsburgh, PA Heinz Field
Syracuse Orange Syracuse, NY Carrier Dome
Virginia Cavaliers Charlottesville, VA Scott Stadium
Virginia Tech Hokies Blacksburg, VA Lane Stadium
Wake Forest Demon Deacons Winston-Salem, NC Groves Stadium

*= Not a football member

Former members[]

Team ACC Tenure Conference Team
Current Conference
South Carolina Gamecocks 1953–1971 4 Southeastern Conference
Maryland Terrapins 1952-2013 11 Big Ten Conference

Football division alignment[]


In 2005, the ACC began divisional play in football. Division leaders compete in a playoff game to determine the ACC championship. The inaugural Championship Game was played on December 3, 2005, in Jacksonville, Florida, at the stadium then known as Alltel Stadium, in which Florida State defeated Virginia Tech to capture its 12th championship since it joined the league in 1992. The 2009 ACC Championship Game was played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida with Georgia Tech defeating Clemson by a score of 39-34.

The ACC is the only NCAA Division I conference whose divisions are not divided geographically (North/South, East/West).[6]

This division structure leads to each team playing the following games:

  • Six games within its division (one against each opponent)
  • One game against a designated permanent rival from the other division (not necessarily the school's closest traditional rival, even within the conference); this is similar to the SEC setup
  • One rotating game against a team in the other division. The cycle rotates twice in a 12-year period

In the table below, each column represents one division. Each team's designated permanent rival is listed in the same row in the opposing column.[7]

Atlantic Division Coastal Division
Boston College Virginia Tech
Clemson Georgia Tech
Florida State Miami
Louisville Virginia
North Carolina State North Carolina
Syracuse Pittsburgh
Wake Forest Duke

National championships[]

Though the NCAA does not determine an official national champion for Division I FBS football, several ACC members have achieved a national championship through the Associated Press, the Coaches Poll, or the Bowl Championship Series.

School Helms Athletic Foundation Associated Press Coaches Poll Bowl Championship Series College Football Playoff
Clemson 1981, 2016, 2018 1981, 2016, 2018 2016, 2018
Florida State 1993, 1999, 2013 1993, 1999, 2013 1999, 2013
Georgia Tech 1917, 1928, 1952 1990
Maryland 1953 1953
Miami 1983, 1987, 1989,

1991, 2001

1983, 1987, 1989,


  • Italics denote championships won before the school joined the ACC.


  1. This Is the ACC. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved on January 8, 2011.
  2. About the ACC. Atlantic Coast Conference. Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved on February 3, 2012.
  3. ACC Hall of Champions Debuts. Source Interlink Magazines, LLC (March 2, 2011). Retrieved on 2011-03-05.
  4. The Southern Conference Hall of Fame opened in 2009. "Southern Conference Announces Inaugural Hall of Fame Class", Southern Conference, 2009-01-28. Retrieved on 2009-01-28.