The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is an American college athletic conference, affiliated with the NCAA's Division I, that was founded on May 8, 1953. The current member institutions are located in the mid- and south-Atlantic coastal states of Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
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 and agreed to invite Virginia to the ACC. The seven charter members were aligned to the Southern Conference before formally withdrawing at the annual Spring Meeting on the morning of May 8, 1953. Prior to this meeting, a set a bylaws were drafted, but not ratified until June 14, 1953.
In 1971, the ACC lost a member for the first and only time, The University of South Carolina, which now belongs to the Southeastern Conference. The ACC then operated with seven members until April 3, 1978 when Georgia Tech joined. On July 1, 1991, Florida State joined, raising the total to nine. In 2003's cycle of conference alignment, the ACC picked up three more teams: Miami and Virginia Tech were invited in June 2003 effective July 1, 2004, and Boston College was invited in October 2003 for a join date of July 1, 2005.
Current members and year joined
* The ACC expanded from nine to 11 schools in 2004, with Miami and Virginia Tech joining from the Big East Conference.
**Boston College joins in 2005, bringing the total to 12 schools.
Member schools participate in baseball, men's and women's basketball, field hockey, football, men's and women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, indoor and outdoors track, cross country, women's volleyball, and wrestling.
The ACC is often considered the best men's college basketball conference in the nation. For example, 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, 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 will begin 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).
Traditional rivalries in the ACC
As with most ACC traditions, the conference's classic rivalries began on the (men's) basketball court. Before the 2004 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.
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:
Extra-conference rivalries involving ACC members include:
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).
All-Time All-ACC Football Team
In 2003, College Football News elected its All-Time All-ACC team.
- QB-Philip Rivers, North Carolina State 2000-2003
- RB-Ted Brown , North Carolina State 1975-1978
- RB-Amos Lawrence, North Carolina 1977-1980
- WR-Herman Moore, Virginia 1993-1996
- WR-Peter Warrick, Florida State 1996-1999
- TE-Heath Miller , Virginia 2002-present
- OL-Joe Bostic , Clemson 1975-1978
- OL-Jim Dombrowski , Virginia 1982-1985
- OL-Mike McGee , Duke 1957-1959
- OL-Bob Pelligrini , Maryland 1953-1955
- OL-Jim Ritcher , North Carolina State 1976-1979
- DL-Julius Peppers, North Carolina 1999-2001
- DL-William Perry, Clemson 1981-1984
- DL-Corey Simon, Florida State 1996-1999
- DL-Randy White, Maryland 1972-1974
- LB-E.J. Henderson , Maryland 1999-2002
- LB-Marvin Jones , Florida State 1990-1992
- LB-Lawrence Taylor, North Carolina 1978-1980
- DB-Bill Armstrong , Wake Forest 1973-1976
- DB-Dre' Bly, North Carolina 1996-1998
- DB-Terry Kinard , Clemson 1978-1982
- DB-Ken Swilling , Georgia Tech 1988-1991
- K -Sebastian Janikowski , Florida State 1997-1999
- P -Johnny Evans , North Carolina State 1974-1977
- KR-Steve Suter , Maryland 2001-2004