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College football: ACC looms forward to years of football stability

Published July 21, 2013 11:45 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Greensboro, N.C. • The Atlantic Coast Conference is settling into a period of stability it helped create. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are finally here, Notre Dame is partly in, and Louisville will arrive soon.

So as the league on Sunday held the first of its two-day preseason football extravaganza, it did so with the focus squarely on the field.

"The composition of the long-term membership of the ACC has never been stronger," Commissioner John Swofford said.

That's thanks to the new grant-of-rights agreement that pumped the brakes on realignment, basically locks in the current members and Louisville until 2027, and "publicly secured our position as one of the nation's premier conferences," Swofford said.

The commissioner said that if Notre Dame chooses to place its fiercely independent football program in a league before 2026-27, "that conference by contractual agreement would be the [ACC]"

He also says the basketball-centric ACC has "unlimited potential" in football.

And the league certainly could take steps to realize that potential if its marquee programs perform up to expectations.

Florida State claimed just the ACC's second win in a BCS bowl since the 1999 season when it beat Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl.

Virginia Tech has been a perennial power in the Coastal Division since the league split into divisions eight years ago.

Clemson — and 2012 ACC player of the year Tajh Boyd — knocked off LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in one of the most memorable matchups of last postseason.

Former Big East members Syracuse and Pitt made their first appearances at the ACC Kickoff. Maryland is leaving next year for the Big Ten, but Louisville is on track to step in for the Terrapins.