Notre Dame has made history, officially booking an ACC Championship Game appearance in its first-ever season as a conference member. The Fighting Irish will be on the field on Saturday, Dec. 19 in Charlotte with a chance not only to play its way into the College Football Playoff but to win a conference championship for the first time in program history.
The fact that Notre Dame will be playing in the ACC Championship Game is not as surprising as the way the news became official. The Fighting Irish had two games left on the schedule -- at home against Syracuse this weekend and at Wake Forest on Dec. 12 -- but the latest adjustment from the ACC to the league's schedule has removed that Dec. 12 game against the Demon Deacons from the slate.
That mean's Notre Dame's regular season will conclude against Syracuse, and another fallout from the schedule adjustments is the declaration that Clemson's regular season will conclude at Virginia Tech on Saturday with no plans of scheduling a 10th ACC game for the Tigers on Dec. 12. The ACC says this will be done "to preserve the integrity of the ACC Football Championship Game by evaluating each of the three teams in contention (Clemson, Miami and Notre Dame) based on a nine-game conference schedule" instead of the 10-game conference schedule set by the league prior to the season.
Miami is scheduled to play at Duke on Saturday and host North Carolina on Dec. 12. The Hurricanes need Clemson to lose at Virginia Tech in order to keep their hopes of making the ACC Championship Game alive. As it stands, Notre Dame has already clinched one of the two spots, and Clemson will get the other with a win in Blacksburg.
With no divisions, the ACC decided the championship game participants for the 15-team standings would be determined by winning percentage and with a certain threshold of games played in order to participate. All three teams in contention have had at least one game postponed due to COVID-19 protocol, so the ACC is deciding to cut all their schedules short so there's no discrepancy in games played.
This decision was made based on a recommendation from the league's football subcommittee and voted on by the ACC athletic directors.