Friday is the new Thursday for ACC football.
The league will play five Friday night games – including one for N.C. State – during the 2015 season.
That’s the major change to the football schedule, which the ACC released Thursday.
The ACC staged three Friday night games before Thanksgiving last season, a remnant from the Big East’s old television deal with ESPN. Two were at Syracuse and the other was at Boston College, both former Big East members.
This season, the ACC will have four Friday night dates before Thanksgiving. The Friday night schedule has crept further South with N.C. State scheduled to play at Virginia Tech on Friday, Oct. 9. Wake Forest will host Louisville on Friday, Oct. 30.
The ACC previously had been reluctant to play on Fridays, a night usually reserved for high school football. The high school coaches in North Carolina, in particular, took a contentious stance when the subject originally was broached in 2001, but the new ACC has changed.
A part of the ACC’s 15-year, $3.6 billion contract with ESPN is that every team will play at least one Friday night (but they don’t have to host a Friday night game; most still will be at Boston College or Syracuse). This will be N.C. State’s first ACC game on a Friday since 1995 and only fifth since the league was formed in 1953.
N.C. State assistant athletics director Fred Demarest said the school has told the ACC it will not host a Friday night game.
“We respect high school football in this state and we value our relationship with the coaches,” Demarest said.
There still will be three Thursday night showcase games for the ACC, including North Carolina’s trip to Pittsburgh on Oct. 29.
There are even two weeks when the ACC will have games on ESPN on Thursday and Friday.
UNC will open the season Thursday, Sept. 3 against South Carolina. The game will be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Duke will open the same night at Tulane.
N.C. State will start the season with Troy at home on Saturday, Sept. 5. Twice before ACC play begins the Wolfpack will leave Raleigh. N.C. State will go to Old Dominion on Sept. 19 and South Alabama on Sept. 26.
The league’s annual Labor Day game will be a rematch between Virginia Tech and Ohio State. The Buckeyes won the national title this past season but lost at home to the Hokies 35-21.
Virginia Tech will host the Buckeyes, who likely will open the season ranked No. 1, on Monday, Sept. 7.