Atlantic Coast Conference
Established 1953
Association NCAA
Division Division I FBS
Members 12 (+2 joining)
Sports fielded 25[1] (men's: 12; women's: 13)
Region South Atlantic (11 schools)
Northeast (1 school; 3 schools in 2014)
Headquarters Greensboro, North Carolina
Commissioner John Swofford (since 1997)

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 twelve member universities. In 2011, the conference announced it was adding Syracuse and Pitt to expand to fourteen members. Football teams participate in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the higher of two levels of Division I college football.

The ACC is considered one of the six "power conferences," and the ACC football champion receives an automatic bid to one of the Bowl Championship Series games each season.


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]

On September 17, 2011, Big East Conference members Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh both tendered a formal written application to the ACC to join its ranks.[5] The two schools were accepted into the conference the following day.[6] Because the Big East intends to hold Pitt and Syracuse to the 27-month notice period required by league bylaws, the most likely entry date into the ACC (barring negotiations) is July 1, 2014.[7]


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


Present membersEdit

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
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

Former membersEdit

Team ACC Tenure Conference Team
Current Conference
South Carolina Gamecocks 1953–1971 4 Southeastern Conference


Football division alignmentEdit


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:

  • Five 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
  • Two rotating games (one home, one away) against teams in the other division

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

Bowl gamesEdit

The following is the bowl selection order starting in 2010 and through 2013 and the teams involved in each bowl.

Pick Name Location Opposing Conference Opposing Pick
1 Orange Bowl Miami Gardens, FL BCS -
2 Chick-fil-A Bowl Atlanta, GA SEC 3/4/5
3 Russell Athletic Bowl Orlando, FL Big East 2
4 Sun Bowl El Paso, TX Pac-12 4
5 Belk Bowl Charlotte, NC Big East 3
6 Music City Bowl Nashville, TN SEC 7/8
7 Independence Bowl Shreveport, LA SEC 10
8 Military Bowl Washington, DC Army 2012, Big 12 2013 -


Kraft Foods Bowl Santa Clara, CA Pac-12, WAC, Army, or Navy -

Bowl selection proceduresEdit

Within the Bowl Championship Series, the Orange Bowl serves as the home of the ACC champion against another BCS at-large selection unless the conference's champion is selected for the national championship game.

The other bowls pick ACC teams in the order listed. The ACC Championship Game runner-up is guaranteed to fall no lower than the Sun Bowl, the 4th pick, in the conference bowl hierarchy.[8] Previously the ACC Championship Game runner-up had been guaranteed the Music City Bowl with usually then the 5th pick.[9] The other rule change that will be in effect for the next four years is that the ACC has eliminated the clause in the contract that states if a bowl team has already selected the runner-up, it doesn't have to choose it again. [10]

Moreover, a bowl game can bypass a team in the selection process only if the two teams in question are within one game of each other in the overall ACC standings. This rule was instituted in response to concerns over the 2005 bowl season, in which Atlantic Division co-champion Boston College fell to the ACC's then-last remaining bowl slot, the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, Idaho.

National championshipsEdit

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
Clemson 1981 1981
Florida State 1993, 1999 1993, 1999 1999
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. 
  5. Thamel, Pete. "Big East Exit Is Said to Begin for Syracuse and Pittsburgh", September 17, 2011. Retrieved on September 17, 2011. Archived from the original on September 17, 2011. 
  6. Clarke, Liz. "ACC expands to 14 with addition of Syracuse, Pittsburgh", September 18, 2011. Retrieved on September 18, 2011. Archived from the original on September 18, 2011. 
  7. Taylor, John (September 20, 2011). Big East to force Pitt, Syracuse to stay until 2014. College Football Talk. NBC Sports. Archived from the original on September 26, 2011. Retrieved on September 26, 2011.
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