what does acc mean in football

What Does ACC Mean In Football

If you’re an American football lover, then you’ve probably heard many terms thrown around. One such term is the ACC. What does ACC mean in football?

ACC is an abbreviation for the Atlantic Coast Conference which is an athletic collegiate in the United States. It’s a top collegiate league in the United States founded in 1953.

The league comprises 15 universities in the Eastern parts of the US. The University teams in the ACC compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It’s a top 5 power conference with an ACC championship giving teams automatic bids for the New Year’s Six Bowl that occur every season.

The league is one of the best and features some of the best athletes and students that play in the national league. It’s widely known and receives extensive coverage throughout the season.

Let’s dig deep and learn more about the ACC in football.

What Is The History Of ACC

The ACC’s history dates back to 1953 when it was first founded. Before 1953, there were only seven Universities in the South Atlantic States. The seven members will then cleave on 14th June 1953 to form the ACC.

The following universities have become charter members of the ACC:

  • Duke
  • Clemson
  • Maryland
  • Wake Forest
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • North Carolina State

The south conference had banned postseason play started in 1951. They sat and drafted bylaws before officially withdrawing on May 8th, 1953. The ACC would be formed officially on Jun 14th, when the laws were ratified.

They would add an 8th member in December of the same year. Virginia has been independent since 1937 was added. The conference has since evolved. In 1960, they set a minimum SAT score of 750 before raising it to 800. 

In 1971, the federal law struck out the minimum score rule. South Carolina left ACC in 1971, becoming independent. However, Florida State University and Georgia Tech University would join, adding membership to nine.

The rapid NCAA realignment in the 2000s would see more members join, taking the total to 16 Universities. Maryland University left, leaving the members at 15.

When Did ACC Begin

Official records show that the ACC began on May 8th, 1953. Despite being formed on Jun 14th, it officially began in May after bylaws were ratified.

football players in red jersey holding the ball

There were only seven universities in the South Atlantic States when it started. By Dec. 8th, the number had grown to eight Universities, with Virginia University joining.

The exit of South Carolina in 1971 brought the number down to seven schools.

More changes have been experienced with the NCAA’s realignment in the 2000s. It has grown to 15 members and now ranks as a power conference.

Who is The Commission of the ACC?

James J Phillips is the Commission of the ACC as of February 2021. He’s the 5th commissioner for the ACC, which has been running for decades now. With a record in the Division’s Athletics, James brings a lot to the ACC.

In the college sports landscape, James is a leading voice. Even after questions on the future of the ACC, James has been quoted saying the trajectory is bright.

The first commission for the ACC was James H Weaver from 1954 to 1970. Robert James took over from 1971 to 1987. Next was Eugine F Corrigan from 1987 to 1997. John Swofford took charge from 1997 to 2021 before the current James J.

What Schools are in the ACC For Football?

Currently, there are 15 teams in the ACC for football. Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Duke Blue Hills, Miami Hurricanes, Florida State Seminoles, Georgia Tech Yellow, Louisville Cardinals, North Carolina Tar Heels, and the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Other teams are Virginia Cavaliers, Pittsburgh Panthers, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech Hokies, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Previous schools in the conference are the Maryland Terrapins and South Carolina Gamecocks.

What is the Biggest School In The ACC?

Florida State University is by far the biggest school playing in the ACC. Florida University boasts the highest number of undergraduate students with the lowest tuition fee among all members.

They’re referred to as the Seminoles and have played in the ACC for over 68 years. In its 68 years of playing, Florida has won 15 ACC championships and three national titles.

Florida State University is big when you consider the university population. Another big-name team in the ACC is Clemson, which has won a total of 20 Championship since 1953.

What is the Smallest School In The ACC?

The smallest school in the ACC is Wake Forest, with a total student population of 8000. It’s a private university with a great focus on balance between sports and academics.

college football team wearing light blue jerseys

In fact, it’s the only ACC university with an enrollment of fewer than 10,000 students. This is a total population of graduates and undergraduates.

Wake Forest is an elite University and makes a trio of the elite North Carolina Universities. The school team is called the Demon Deacons. It’s an influential University with a greater say in politics, law, and medicine.

Despite their small size, the Forest has been around for decades. They played their first football in 1908 and have since played over 115 seasons to date.

What Are The ACC Divisions?

The ACC is further broken down into two divisions. These are the Atlantic Division and the Coastal Division. The breakdown isn’t based on geographical locations.

In fact, the ACC is the only conference that doesn’t use geographical location in creating the divisions. Only Notre Dame doesn’t participate in ACC football.

Notre is independent, and its independence played a key role in its joining the league. However, this doesn’t make them any small. In fact, Notre Dame is still larger than the Duke, with a $6.3 billion endowment.

The Notre Dame endowment is $1 billion larger than Clemson, FSU, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Syracuse Miami, NC State, and Wake Forest.

This leaves only 14 teams. The ACC breaks the teams into half, giving us the two divisions. Two sets of divisions with seven teams in each division are then set to play each other.

A team will play six games facing the opponents in the other division. They then move ahead and play an extra game from a different conference. A rotating match against a team from the other division is then played.

Let’s dig deep and break down the two divisions.

Atlantic Division

First is the Atlantic Division, with seven teams. The teams are listed below:

  • Boston University
  • Clemson University
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Louisville
  • Florida State University
  • Wake Forest University
  • North Carolina State University

Coastal Division

Next is the Coastal Division, with seven teams. The teams are:

  • Duke University
  • Miami University
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Tech University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Georgia Tech University
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
college football players in a huddle before game

Apart from the Divisions, the ACC functions as a single unified league. There are no divisions in other sports.

Division football in the ACC didn’t start until 2005. The first ever inaugural championship game was played on Dec. 3rd, 2005. It was a game between Florida State and Virginia Tech. 

Playing at the Alltel Stadium (now Jacksonville, Florida), Florida State beat Virginia to win their 12th championship.

The Raymond James Stadium in Tampa hosted the 2009 ACC Championship in which Georgia Tech defeated Clemson 3934.

As noted earlier, the structure of the division isn’t geographical. As such, games are played as follows:

  • A team plays six against opponents in the other division.
  • A further extra game is played against designated rival opponents. The setup is similar to SEC. The rival can be from a different division.
  • Lastly, they play a single rotating game against a team in the division. It’s a cycle rotating twice within 12 years.

What’s The Difference Between SEC and ACC

Apart from the ACC, we have the Southeastern Conference (SEC). So what’s the difference between SEC and ACC?

Both are the same, with the only difference coming in the number of money Universities invest in their teams. Some Universities invest more than others.

Florida State University and Clemson invest a lot in the team and facilities every year.

The SEC also has six teams that invest money into the team and facilities every season. Money is crucial in conferences and a major cause for teams to enter or leave a conference.

When schools invest more each year, the results are better player development and the discovery of exciting talents.

Is SEC Superior to ACC?

This can leave you wondering which is a superior conference. Is the SEC superior to ACC?

According to football rankings, SEC is considered superior to ACC. SEC is considered to have far more challenging schedules and higher pay levels compared to ACC.

One simple way to analyze the two is to match the teams and compare the talents and recent success histories. How do players from each league get to the NFL years?

While SEC seems to have a slight advantage, ACC is still a big conference and gets players to the NFL. In the 2022 NFL draft, 21 players from the ACC got drafted into the NFL.

University football field

However, SEC is superior to the ACC at both the top and bottom of the conference. For example, Virginia, and Georgia, who are top in the ACC, don’t have the talent to beat Alabama or Florida in the SEC.

The same applies to the bottom teams in the ACC, like Duke and Maryland. They still can’t beat bottom teams in the SEC like Kentucky and Mississippi State.

Who has the most ACC championships in football?

Clemson has the most ACC championship at 20 since its inception in 1953. They’re the most decorated team in the ACC and slightly followed by Florida State at 15.

Since its inception, 16 teams have competed in the ACC. Only four teams have never won a title. These are the Miami, Syracuse, Louisville, and the Boston College.

Two schools, North Carolina and Maryland have since left the conference. Championships since the start was earned through round-robin play among team members in the regular season.

ACC in Football FAQs

Which coach has won the most ACC championships?

Clemson has won the most ACC championship as of 2022. They have a total of 20 championships, with the second team coming at 15.

Where is the 2022 national championship game?

The 2022 championship game kicks off on Dec. 3rd at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Bank of America stadium is home to the Carolina Panthers who play in the NFL. It’s a popular site and one that has hosted 11 of the last 12 ACC championships. 

The ground boasts a high attendance average of 70,000. Since 2020, the stadium has had the second highest average attendance of the power five conferences.

What is the ACC known for?

The ACC is well-known and stands out for its success in college football. Founded in 1953, the conference is home to 15 schools promoting college football.

Several players are drafted from the ACC every year, making it a good nurturing ground for NFL players.


Now you know what ACC stands for and its role in American football. ACC stands for the Atlantic Coast Conference and is one of the five power conferences. It’s a top 5 football collegiate with a total of 15 schools. 

ACC is widely known for its success in college football, with players making their way into the NFL each year. The conference is broken down into two divisions of seven teams each. The teams play each other and another opponent from a different conference.

While ACC isn’t the superior conference like SEC, it’s still quite effective with good talents across the school. They get players drafted to the NFL each year, making it a good choice to nurture your talent.

Read Also: Can you play in the NFL without going to college? Read on and find out here. We’ve also covered common questions you might want to ask.

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