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ACC Notebook: Notre Dame joins the mix
IRISH JOLT COACHES
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
Atlantic Coast Conference football coaches were caught off guard by the news.
Maryland coach Randy Edsall and N.C. State’s Tom O’Brien were walking off the practice field when they learned Notre Dame is joining the ACC.
The Fighting Irish will be full-time league members in all sports except football and hockey.
But they’ll play five football games per year against ACC teams.
“Great news for our conference,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said on the ACC weekly coaches teleconference. “For a program like Notre Dame to come I’m sure they have their pick of conferences. For them to come is a great thing. For them to make that commitment is strong.”
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he received the information three seconds before he picked up the phone to join the teleconference.
“I don’t want to say anything bad about Notre Dame or bad about the [Fighting] Irish,” Fisher said. “I don’t know I’m not even I had no idea that they were even going to be playing five games. Literally, I had no recollection of anything.”
While some coaches said Notre Dame brings prestige to the conference, others didn’t have much to say at all. Boston College regularly plays Notre Dame, so Eagles coach Frank Spaziani said nothing much will change.
Wake Forest wrapped up a home-and-home series with the Fighting Irish last season. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson faced Notre Dame annually when he coached Navy in 2002–07.
“Certainly Notre Dame is a storied program with a lot of rich history and tradition,” Johnson said. “I was fortunate at Navy, we played them every year. They’re a class outfit. So I think it’ll be a positive for the league.”
Virginia coach Mike London said what Notre Dame “stands for will be a positive for the ACC.” Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer said both the ACC and Notre Dame should benefit from the arrangement. Edsall said that while he wishes Notre Dame had joined as a full member, its affiliation should improve the league.
“The ACC has done a tremendous job since it first expanded to capture some very big media markets from Miami to Boston, and now this adds the Midwest strong into that mix, and really the entire nation when you think about the following Notre Dame has,” London said.
REGRETS FOR EDSALL
With a home game upcoming against his former team, Edsall said this week that he regrets the way he handled his departure from Connecticut.
The Terrapins (2–0) host the Huskies on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Edsall was the head coach at UConn from 1999 to 2010.
He has the most wins in school history, and he helped lead the program into major college status. But after a Fiesta Bowl loss his final season, Edsall didn’t accompany his players on a plane back home. Instead he accepted the Maryland job, and his players learned about it via text message.
“It’s something I have to live with,” Edsall said. “I wish I could’ve talked to those players in person. But the circumstances in our profession didn’t allow that, and that’s something I have to live with.”
Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh were rivals when both were in the Big East. But since the Hokies joined the ACC in 2004, they haven’t played the Panthers.
That will change Saturday and in years to come.
The Hokies (2–0) will visit Pitt (0–1) in a nonconference contest. Pitt is scheduled to join the ACC next season and compete with Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division.
The Panthers are coming off a 31–17 loss to FCS opponent Youngstown State in their season opener. They defeated the Hokies the last three times they played, in 2001–03.
“We’ve always had respect for them,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “We certainly have respect for them now.”
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526
BOSTON COLLEGE at Northwestern
Saturday, 3:30 (Big 10 TV)
CLEMSON vs. Furman
Saturday, 3 p.m. (CSN)
DUKE vs. N.C. Central
Saturday, 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
FLORIDA STATE vs. Wake Forest
Saturday, noon (ESPN)
GEORGIA TECH vs. Virginia
Saturday, 3:30 (ESPNU)
MARYLAND vs. Connecticut
Saturday, 12:30 (Raycom)
MIAMI vs. Bethune–Cookman
Saturday, noon (ESPN3)
NORTH CAROLINA at Louisville
Saturday, 3:30 (ABC/ESPN2)
N.C. STATE vs. South Alabama
Saturday, 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
VIRGINIA at Georgia Tech
Saturday, 3:30 (ESPNU)
VIRGINIA TECH at Pittsburgh
Saturday, noon (ESPNU)
WAKE FOREST at Florida State
Saturday, noon (ESPN)