Notre Dame back to independent football schedule after 1-year fling with ACC

Irish resume 5-game ACC partnership in 2021
Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg vs. Clemson Tigers cornerback Derion Kendrick in 2020 ACC Championship
Posted at 8:22 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 20:22:09-05

It was fun while it lasted.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is returning to its usual eight-game divisional formal in 2021, with Notre Dame resuming its independent status as a partial league member.

Although Thursday's schedule announcement picks up where the 2020 season left off, ignoring the pandemic-plagued irregularities that forced the Fighting Irish to forego independence and compete as a full ACC member last year, the ACC said in its release that the return to a traditional schedule "is contingent on national, state and local health guidelines allowing such competition to occur."

Notre Dame reaped the benefits of its one-year stint in the ACC, going 10-0 in regular-season conference games and playing for the league title. It was good enough to earn Notre Dame a berth in the College Football Playoff.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish take field October 2020
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly leads the team onto the field for a game against Pittsburgh, Oct. 24, 2020, in Pittsburgh.

Assuming things return to normal in 2021, Notre Dame will resume its five-game scheduling partnership with the ACC.

In addition to opening the season Sept. 5 at Florida State, the Irish will also visit Virginia Tech (Oct. 9) and Virginia (Nov. 13) while hosting North Carolina (Oct. 30) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 20).

2021 Notre Dame Football Schedule

Sept. 5at Florida State
Sept. 11Toledo
Sept. 18Purdue
Sept. 25vs. Wisconsin (Soldier Field)
Oct. 2Cincinnati
Oct. 9at Virginia Tech
Oct. 16bye
Oct. 23Southern California
Oct. 30North Carolina
Nov. 6Navy
Nov. 13at Virginia
Nov. 20Georgia Tech
Nov. 27at Stanford

"The league membership also elected to play the 2021 season as it was originally scheduled and, as a result, there are several repeat site games from 2019 and 2020," the release said.

One such repeat game is Virginia's Sept. 30 trip to Miami. The Hurricanes beat Virginia 19-14 at Hard Rock Stadium last season.

Miami also visits Duke for the second straight season. The Hurricanes won 48-0 in Durham, North Carolina, last year.

The Seminoles will welcome Miami to Tallahassee in their home finale Nov. 13. It will be the latest meeting between the rivals since 2014.

Manny Diaz flashes 'U' sign after 2019 Florida State-Miami game
Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz celebrates a 27-10 victory over Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. The Hurricanes defeated the Seminoles 27-10.

Florida State will also resume its rivalries against Clemson and Florida after a one-year hiatus.

Clemson hosts FSU on the final Saturday in October. The 2020 game was canceled after the Tigers traveled to Tallahassee only to have it called off hours before kickoff.

The Seminoles will travel to Gainesville on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The 2020 game in Tallahassee was canceled after the Southeastern Conference decided to play a conference-only schedule.