Notre Dame is coming to the Tar Heel state this college football season, and Andrew Luck, too.
The ACC released the football schedule for the 2011 season on Monday, and the highlights include the Fighting Irish's visit to Wake Forest, Luck's Stanford team making a cross-country trek to Duke and Clemson hosting national champion Auburn.
There are lowlights, too, with lackluster nonconference schedules for North Carolina and N.C. State, who figure to be contenders for their respective division titles.
There won't be any shortage of home games in the region: UNC, State, Wake and Duke each will play seven home games this fall.
The Demon Deacons welcome the tradition-rich Golden Domers on Nov. 5. Luck, the Stanford quarterback who would have been the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers had he left school, visits Wallace-Wade Stadium on Sept. 10. Duke and Wake each went 3-9 last season.
The highlight of N.C. State's home schedule, which includes two games against Football Championship Subdivision teams, is the Nov. 5 game against the Tar Heels, who have lost four straight to the Wolfpack in the rivalry.
N.C. State, which finished last season with a 9-4 record and a Top 25 ranking, opens the season on Sept. 3 with Liberty. The Pack also plays South Alabama and Central Michigan outside the ACC.
UNC, which went 8-5, begins the season with three straight home games, including the Sept. 3 opener against James Madison. The Tar Heels also get Wake (Oct. 29) and Duke (Nov. 26) at Kenan Stadium. UNC and Wake have not played since the 2007 season.
UNC's toughest nonconference matchup figures to be a road trip to East Carolina on Oct. 1.
The marquee date for the ACC is Sept. 17. Auburn, sans Heisman winner Cam Newton, visits Clemson. That same day, Miami hosts Ohio State, and Oklahoma, the likely preseason No. 1, travels to Florida State.
The Auburn game also kicks off a brutal three-game stretch for Clemson. After opening with cupcakes Troy and Wofford, Clemson will face Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech.
Miami and Maryland will open the season in the traditional Labor Day game on ESPN on Sept. 5.
The league schedule also features five Thursday night games on ESPN's national broadcast, including State's game at Cincinnati (Sept. 22) and UNC's trip to Virginia Tech (Nov. 17).