Mark Packer and Wes Durham, hosts of ACC Network’s weekday morning show Packer and Durham (7-10 a.m. ET), unveiled the 2020 ACC football schedule Wednesday morning. Quotes and reactions from the duo as they provided quick analysis of each team’s schedule during the 9 a.m. hour of the show are below.
Packer: I do think, given the national narrative, the conference has an incredible opportunity early in 2020 to make a stand and a statement, and change the national narrative. There are so many important nonconference games early in this season… The only way you can do it is win.
Packer: There are so many early games to make a statement for this league. This league has scheduled teams of note. Not everyone does this. Not everyone schedules this way. I think it is a smart thing for the league. The only way you get better is to beat better teams.
Packer: The question is ‘can the ACC win some of those games of note?’.
Durham: October is proving to be a very interesting month. It looks like a juggernaut.
Durham: Before you get to November and you want to circle big weekends – pencil in September 26th – Miami is at Michigan State, Virginia is at Clemson, Notre Dame plays Wake Forest in Charlotte, Georgia Tech and North Carolina at Kenan Stadium.
Durham: Putting this puzzle together is an arduous task.
ACC Atlantic Division
Packer: What pops off the screen is this – when I think of Boston, I think of cold, tough physical football and I look at this schedule and at November … three of the four (games) are away from Chestnut Hill. The only team that who makes a frigid appearance in the Northeast is North Carolina.
Packer: It should be pointed out that on Halloween, Clemson isn’t playing. Why is that a big deal? They will get two weeks to prepare for Notre Dame on the road, which I think is the biggest game in the ACC for 2020.
Durham: Right out of the gate we get Louisville/Clemson on September 12. That will be a fascinating game simply because of what Scott Satterfield has been able to do, who comes back for Clemson on both sides of the ball, and the dominance the Tigers have had.
Packer: They are going to be favored in every game they play. The biggest game on their schedule is at Notre Dame. That is the game you circle.
Packer: The thing that jumps out at me – three tough nonconference games, West Virginia, at Boise State and Florida, and November – a short week on the road at Syracuse.
Packer: All of us are expecting Florida State to be new and improved.
Durham: Mike Norvell taking that new team across the country and trying to avenge the opening loss last year in Tallahassee that unfortunately set the tone for the remainder of the year for Florida State… This is very important game.
Packer: What a start for Louisville. You are going to get tested right from the get go.
Packer: Look at the back half of the schedule – Florida State, Virginia Tech, at Virginia, Wake, at Notre Dame and arch rival Kentucky… The back half of that schedule is a beast.
Packer: At Louisville and Mississippi State… for a team that won four games last year… a lot of talk about Dave Doeren changing staff and everything else. They will be trying to get off to a quick start – it will be very interesting in Raleigh early in the season.
Packer: NC State having to open at Louisville is a great game for both sides to see where they are.
Packer: This is a pivotal time for Dave Doeren’s guys to get off to a good start. For years we have talked about a soft early season schedule for NC State … it’s going to be bit different this go around because the Louisville game is going to be a test, and obviously what Mississippi State and Mike Leach, and what he will bring offensively, will be a big challenge. It will be a cool SEC/ACC game in Raleigh.
Packer: I like this game (Syracuse at Boston College) these two know each other, their fanbases know each other, regardless of where this game is played and when it is played, both fanbases will be tuned in to this game. I love the fact that it is an opener.
Packer: This is the game that pops – that Appalachian State game – those two quite frankly just don’t like each other. That will be some kind of scene in Winston-Salem.
ACC Coastal Division
Packer: The season eases in to business for Duke… If you are David Cutcliffe you can’t schedule a better way to get into the 2020 season having three home games like that at Wallace Wade Outdoor. If I’m a Duke fan, I like my chances before I jump into ACC play.
Packer: Georgia Tech’s first three conference games – Clemson, at North Carolina, at Virginia Tech – welcome to the league, coach.
Durham: Look at Georgia Tech’s October – Virginia Tech, Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse, who then get three of the last four at home.
Packer: September 26 is the one you circle because that is a real litmus test – no disrespect to Temple, a tough, physical team, but the road trip to Michigan State will be a very important game, not only for Miami but also the ACC.
Packer: It’s right there in front of them to get off to a good start. I think Miami is one of the most interesting teams in the nation in terms of spring football, summer and fall coming off a disappointing end. People expect Miami to bounce back. This schedule gives them a chance.
Packer: It reminds me of last year’s schedule. We knew Mack Brown was coming to town, and when you looked at the schedule – man they could get off to a rough start … Much again, like last year’s schedule a front-loaded schedule. North Carolina, if they can get through it, will be flying by October.]
Packer: Howell is back, frisbee-catching dogs are back … they have pieces that if North Carolina can get off to a quick start, they will be off and running. It is a tough start.
Durham: Arguably the toughest second half in the ACC belongs to Pitt.
Packer: In years past, Pitt’s nonconference schedule has been brutal – it’s been tough. This one looks much more manageable to me not to mention an open date before Notre Dame.
Durham: Virginia’s schedule – holy mackerel – in terms of their conference lineup early, not to mention Georgia. A tough start for Bronco Mendenhall’s guys.
Packer: The one that jumps out at me early is Saturday, September 12. Penn State should be excellent with everyone they have coming back and Virginia Tech will be feeling good with 19 starters coming back as well. September 12 will be hopping in Blacksburg. That will be a great game.
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