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ACC's plan once Pittsburgh, Syracuse join bumps conference schedule up to 9 games in football

Hurricanes fans can say good-bye to a fourth non-conference game once former Big East partners Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the ACC.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced Friday the future scheduling formats once the league expands to 14 teams and instead of playing eight conference games in football, every team will now play nine.

The format will consist of each team playing all six teams in its division each year, plus its primary crossover partner (in UM's case Florida State) each year and two rotating opponents from the opposite division.

Pittsburgh, which will join UM in the Coastal Division, will be Syracuse's cross over opponent.

Here's how the divisions will look in football:

> Atlantic: Clemson, Florida State, Wake Forest, N.C. State, Boston College, Maryland and Syracuse.

> Coastal: Miami, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke and Pittsburgh.

> When it comes to hoops, the ACC has already employed an 18-game conference schedule that will begin next year.

When Pitt and Syracuse join, each school will have one primary partner (Boston College and Syracuse; Clemson and Georgia Tech; Duke and North Carolina; Florida State and Miami; Maryland and Pitt; NC State and Wake Forest; Virginia and Virginia Tech).

The scheduling model will be based on a three-year cycle during which teams will play every league opponent at least once with the primary partners playing home and away annually while the other 12 rotate in groups of four. The format allows each program to see opponents with more regularity and creates an increase in competitive balance throughout the teams.

All 14 league members will continue to automatically qualify for the conference tournaments. Tournament formats will be announced at a later date.

> In other sports, all teams will continue to play each conference team at least once during the regular season -- except baseball, which is the only exception as they currently don't play all conference opponents.

The league will continue to sponsor an ACC Championship event in all sports except volleyball, which will continue to recognize its champion from regular-season play.

The conference will now sponsor an ACC Championship in the sport of gymnastics. There are currently three institutions that sponsor gymnastics (Maryland, North Carolina and NC State) and with the addition of Pitt, the ACC will have four programs, the necessary number in the league's bylaws to host a conference championship. The ACC previously sponsored a conference championship in gymnastics in 1984.

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