Atlantic Coast Conference
|Atlantic Coast Conference|
|NCAA men's titles||116|
|NCAA women's titles||57|
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is one of the oldest collegiate athletic leagues in the United States. Founded in 1953, one year before the formation of the Ivy League, the ACC's twelve member universities compete in twenty sports in the NCAA's Division I. Spanning the Eastern Seaboard, from New England to the Everglades, its member institutions are located in the Atlantic coastal states of Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is, academically, the most highly ranked scholarship-granting American collegiate athletic conference. Only the non-scholarship Ivy League holds a higher overall academic ranking.
- Boston College, located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
- Clemson University, located in Clemson, South Carolina
- Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina
- Florida State University, located in Tallahassee, Florida
- Georgia Tech, located in Atlanta, Georgia
- University of Maryland, located in College Park, Maryland
- University of Miami, located in Coral Gables, Florida
- University of North Carolina, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- North Carolina State University, located in Raleigh, North Carolina
- University of Virginia, located in Charlottesville, Virginia
- Virginia Tech, located in Blacksburg, Virginia
- Wake Forest University, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Charter members of the ACC were Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest. In early December, 1953, officials convened in Greensboro, North Carolina and agreed to invite Virginia. The seven ACC charter members were originally aligned with the Southern Conference. After drafting a set of bylaws for the creation of a new league, they formally withdrew from the Southern Conference at the Spring Meeting on the morning of May 8, 1953. The bylaws were ratified and the ACC officially came into existence on June 14, 1953. They left the Southern Conference primarily due to the league's ban on postseason play.
In 1971, for the first and only time, the ACC lost a member in the University of South Carolina, now a member of the Southeastern Conference. The ACC operated with seven members until the addition of former Southeastern Conference member Georgia Tech, on April 3, 1978. The addition of Florida State on July 1, 1991, brought the total to nine. In 2003's cycle of conference alignment, the ACC added three more members: Miami and Virginia Tech joined on July 1, 2004, and Boston College joined on July 1, 2005 as the league's twelfth member.
Member universities compete in the following sports:
- Men's Basketball
- Women's Basketball
- Cross Country
- Field Hockey
- Men's Golf
- Women's Golf
- Men's Lacrosse
- Women's Lacrosse
- Men's Soccer
- Women's Soccer
- Swimming & Diving
- Men's Tennis
- Women's Tennis
- Track & Field
The ACC is considered one of the best men's college basketball conferences in the nation. During February 2004, six teams were ranked in the top 25 at one time. One of the unranked teams, Maryland, was the National Champion in 2002 (and the ACC Champion in March 2004) and Clemson, who was ranked last in the ACC, had a strength of schedule ranked #1 in the country. The addition of Miami and Virginia Tech was expected to make the Atlantic Coast Conference more competitive in most sports, especially football. Both schools' men's basketball programs, especially Virginia Tech's, were generally regarded as weaker than the rest of the ACC; however, the Hokies and Hurricanes finished fourth and sixth (respectively) in their inaugural season of ACC basketball in 2004, quieting their critics as both received NIT bids.
For five weeks beginning on November 29, 2004, the ACC had a record-tying seven teams ranked in the AP men's basketball poll. The feat had been accomplished previously by the conference before in December 1997, and by the Big Ten in January 1999, but never for such a duration.
As of 2005, the ACC began divisional play in football. Both division leaders will compete in a playoff game at ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida to determine the ACC championship. This division structure leads to each team playing the following games:
- Five games within its division (one against each opponent)
- One game against a "permanent rival" from the other division
- Two rotating games against teams in the other division
In the table below, the teams are listed in columns by division, and horizontally paired by permanent cross-divisional rivalry (not necessarily the school's closest traditional rival).
|Atlantic Division||Coastal Division|
|Boston College||Virginia Tech|
|N.C. State||North Carolina|
The ACC is traditionally given berths in the following bowls based on standings in the conference:
- Champion- BCS (Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, or Orange)
- No. 2- Gator Bowl (vs Big East No. 2)
- No. 3- Peach Bowl (vs SEC)
In addition, the following bowls also invite bowl-eligible ACC teams:
- Champs Sports (vs Big 12)
- MPC Computers (vs WAC)
- Meineke Car Care (vs Big East)
Another sport that has seen dominance by the Atlantic Coast Conference is soccer. In men's soccer, the ACC has won 9 national championships in the past 20 seasons, five of them by the University of Virginia (1989, 1991–1994). Four others have come from Clemson University (1984, 1987), Duke University (1986), and the University of North Carolina (2001).
Since women's soccer became a collegiate sport in 1982, the conference has produced a national powerhouse that not many sports in the NCAA have seen. The University of North Carolina, in the 23 years since the NCAA first crowned its champion in 1982, has won 15 of the national titles (1982-1984, 1986-1994, 1996-1997 and 2003).
Yet another sport that the conference is known for excelling in is men's and women's lacrosse. Since 1971, when the first men's national champion was determined by the NCAA, the ACC has won 7 national championships (as of 2005). The University of North Carolina has won four national championships (1981, 1982, 1986, and 1991), the University of Virginia has won three (1972, 1999, and 2003), and the University of Maryland has won one (1973). Women's Lacrosse, a sport in which the national champion has only been determined since 1982, has seen much dominance by the ACC, specifically by The University of Maryland. In all, the ACC has won 12 women's national championships. The University of Maryland accounts for nine of those championships (1986, 1992, 1995-2001), and the University of Virginia won the other three (1991, 1993, and 2004).
|School||Football stadium||Stadium capacity||Basketball arena||Arena capacity|
|Boston College||Alumni Stadium||44,500||Conte Forum||8,606|
|Clemson||Memorial Stadium||81,000||Littlejohn Coliseum||11,000|
|Duke||Wallace Wade Stadium||34,000||Cameron Indoor Stadium||9,314|
|Florida State||Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium||83,000||Donald L. Tucker Center||12,200|
|Georgia Tech||Bobby Dodd Stadium||55,000||Alexander Memorial Coliseum||9,191|
|Maryland||Byrd Stadium||51,500||Comcast Center||17,950|
|Miami||Miami Orange Bowl||74,177||University of Miami Convocation Center||7,000|
|North Carolina||Kenan Stadium||60,000||Dean Smith Center (men)
Carmichael Auditorium (women)
|NC State||Carter-Finley Stadium||53,500||RBC Center (men)
Reynolds Coliseum (women)
|Virginia||Scott Stadium||61,500||University Hall
(Under construction: John Paul Jones Arena)
|Virginia Tech||Lane Stadium||66,233||Cassell Coliseum||9,847|
|Wake Forest||Groves Stadium||31,500||Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum||14,407|
As with most ACC traditions, the conference's classic rivalries began on the (men's) basketball court. Before the 2003 expansion, the ACC was able to maintain a full home-and-home double round-robin basketball schedule, meaning each team played each other team both at home and away each season. Coupled with the conference's geographic compactness (especially before Florida State joined in 1991), this enhanced conference cohesiveness and built a strong, interlocking web of rivalries, as each school could generally find something historical to be upset with each other school about. Some rivalries were, of course, stronger than others — notably those among the four "Tobacco Road" schools located in North Carolina.
With the exception of Florida State-Miami, lesser-known are the ACC's football rivalries. With the recent expansion, intra-state rivalries in Florida and Virginia that have always been more significant in football than basketball are now under the conference banner. This gives them added meaning, as these games will have more direct impact on postseason bowl game invitations.
Some of the ACC's classic rivalries include:
- Duke-Maryland: Traditionally a basketball rivalry; reached heightened status in the early 2000s as both programs were frequently mentioned as national championship favorites
- Duke-North Carolina: This basketball rivalry is considered by fans and analysts to be one of the biggest in the country, these schools are eight miles apart from each other and they play for the "Victory Bell" in football
- Florida State-Miami: Known for it's "Wide Right" outcomes, and has Florida Cup implications
- N.C. State-Clemson: football's "Textile Bowl"
- North Carolina-N.C. State
- Virginia-Georgia Tech: football's "41-38"
- Virginia-Maryland: border rivalry;
- Virginia-North Carolina: football's "Oldest Rivalry in the South"
- Virginia-Virginia Tech: football's Commonwealth Cup
Extra-conference rivalries involving ACC members include:
- Boston College and Notre Dame (Independent): football's "Holy War"
- Clemson and South Carolina (of the SEC)
- Georgia Tech and Georgia (SEC)
- Georgia Tech and Auburn (SEC)
- Florida State and Florida (SEC)- Florida Cup implications
- Miami and Florida (SEC)- Florida Cup implications
- Maryland and Penn State (Big Ten)
- Maryland and West Virginia (Big East): football; longest current continuous non-conference series for both schools, as they have played each other each year since 1980.
- Virginia Tech and West Virginia (Big East) - the teams play for the Black Diamond Trophy.
In addition, Maryland has a long-held bitter rivalry in men's lacrosse with Johns Hopkins.
Since the 1999-2000 season, ACC teams have played Big Ten teams in the annual ACC - Big Ten Challenge men's basketball tournament; the ACC has "won" this tournament every year since its inception (ACC teams have won a majority of the games played in every season).