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ACC: The toughest nonconference schedules ranked

ACC: The toughest nonconference schedules ranked
Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi gestures to his team during the second half against Louisville, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 in Pittsburgh. Once again the Panthers feature the toughest nonconference schedule in the ACC. (AP File Photo/Fred Vuich) (Fred Vuich / AP)

Pittsburgh and NC State feature the toughest nonconference schedules in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Pittsburgh

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Sept. 1 vs. Albany; Sept. 8 vs. Penn State; Sept. 29 at UCF; Oct. 13 at Notre Dame

For the second straight year, Pittsburgh opens up with the toughest nonconference schedule in the ACC thanks to three contests against teams that won double-digit games in 2017 (Penn State, UCF and Notre Dame). The Panthers are 1-6 against teams from other Power 5 conferences under coach Pat Narduzzi.

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NC State

Sept. 1 vs. James Madison; Sept. 8 vs. Georgia State; Sept. 15 vs. West Virginia; Sept. 22 at Marshall

After featuring the easiest nonconference schedule last season, the Wolfpack open things up against the runner-ups in the Football Championship Subdivision national championship game in James Madison. NC State hopes to extend its five-game winning streak against Big 12 teams when it hosts West Virginia in mid-September.

Georgia Tech

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Sept. 1 vs. Alcorn State; Sept. 8 at USF; Sept. 29 vs. Bowling Green; Nov. 24 at Georgia

Georgia Tech opens the season back home at Bobby Dodd Stadium for the first time since 2015, against the same opponent in Alcorn State. The Yellow Jackets will meet USF for the first time in school history in the second weekend, looking to go 4-0 on the road versus teams from the AAC. The team looks to bounce back from a disappointing 38-7 loss last season to in-state rival Georgia in the season finale.

Miami

Sept. 2 vs. LSU (Dallas); Sept. 8 vs. Savannah State; Sept. 15 at Toledo; Sept. 22 vs. FIU

Miami opens up the season on the road for the first time since 2014 with a neutral-site matchup against LSU in the Advocare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It's the 13th meeting between the two football powers and the first since the 20015 Peach Bowl. Three weeks later, the Hurricanes face off against a familiar face in former UM coach Butch Davis, now at FIU.

Florida State

Sept. 8 vs. Samford; Sept. 22 vs. Northern Illinois; Nov. 10 at Notre Dame; Nov. 24 vs. Florida

Florida State kicks off its nonconference schedule with FCS foe Samford, sandwiched in between conference showdowns with Virginia Tech and Syracuse. The 'Noles face Northern Illinois for the first time since their 2013 Orange Bowl showdown. While the team makes its first trip to South Bend and Notre Dame since 2003 in mid-November before wrapping up against in-state rival Florida.

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Duke

Sept. 1 vs. Army; Sept. 8 at Northwestern; Sept. 15 at Baylor; Sept. 22 vs. North Carolina Central

Duke has won six straight season openers going back to 2012. The Blue Devils knocked off both Northwestern and Baylor last year at home but must do the same this time around on the road where the team is 3-8 over the past two seasons including 1-2 against nonconference foes.

North Carolina

Sept. 1 at Cal; Sept. 8 at East Carolina; Sept. 15 vs. UCF; Nov. 17 vs. Western Carolina

For the second time in the past three years, North Carolina opens up with back-to-back road contests. The Tar Heels have a six-game losing streak in road openers going all the way back to 1993 and UNC hasn't lost back-to-back regular season road games since 2014. Larry Fedora's team faces one bowl-bound team from 2017 in undefeated UCF in mid-September.

Virginia

Sept. 1 vs. Richmond; Sept. 8 at Indiana; Sept. 15 vs. Ohio; Nov. 10 vs. Liberty

The Cavaliers snapped a three-game losing streak in season-openers last year when they defeated William & Mary. Bronco Mendenhall's team is looking to make it five win in seven tries in openers against FCS opponents. Virginia's last road win over a Big Ten team came against Indiana back in 2011.

Clemson

Sept. 1 vs. Furman; Sept. 8 at Texas A&M; Sept. 15 vs. Georgia Southern; Nov. 24 vs. South Carolina

Dabo Swinney faces off against a familiar foe in Jimbo Fisher, who is now at Texas A&M in the second week of the season. The Tigers have won eight out of their last 11 meetings with teams from the SEC including four straight against in-state rival South Carolina. Swinney's teams have won three straight against Fisher's squads, with the last loss coming in 2014.

Louisville

Sept. 1 vs. Alabama (Orlando); Sept. 8 vs. Indiana State; Sept. 15 vs. Western Kentucky; Nov. 24 vs. Kentucky

Louisville's post-Lamar Jackson life begins with a showdown against the defending national champions in Orlando. The Cardinals last faced an Alabama team in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, meanwhile, is 0-4 against Alabama from during his time as head coach at Arkansas.

Syracuse

Sept. 1 at Western Michigan; Sept. 8 vs. Wagner; Sept. 22 vs. UConn; Nov. 17 at Notre Dame

Syracuse opens up a season away from the Carrier Dome for the first time since 2013 as the Orange look to improve to 3-0 in openers under Dino Babers. The program has won six straight contests against teams from the Mid-American Conference. Syracuse travels to South Bend in mid-November for the first time since 2008; a 24-23 win.

Boston College

Sept. 1 vs. UMass; Sept. 8 vs. Holy Cross; Sept. 22 at Purdue; Sept. 29 vs. Temple

Boston College has won 14 of its past 15 meetings against UMass going all the way back to the mid-1970s with the last loss coming in 1978. The same can be said against Temple with the Eagles having won five straight going back to the late 1990s. Steve Addazio's team will take on Purdue for the first-time in school history, looking for its first road win over a Big Ten schools since 2003.

Wake Forest

Aug. 30 at Tulane; Sept. 8 vs. Towson; Sept. 22 vs. Notre Dame; Sept. 29 vs. Rice

Wake Forest is coming off its best season in almost a decade with the benefit of one of the easier nonconference schedules in the conference. The Demon Deacons open up on the road for the first time since 2014, looking for their first win in a road season opener since 2008. A home contest against Notre Dame provides the program a chance to snap a four-game losing streak to the Irish.

Virginia Tech

Sept. 8 vs. William & Mary; Sept. 15 vs. East Carolina; Sept. 22 at Old Dominion; Oct. 6 vs. Notre Dame

Outside of Notre Dame, nobody on Virginia Tech's nonconference schedule features a winning record, making it the easiest in the league. The Hokies will host the Irish for the first time ever at Lane Stadium in early October in what is sure to be an electric atmosphere.

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