Several intriguing matchups involving area teams will highlight the ACC's first football season featuring 12 teams and culminating with a conference championship game. The ACC, which released its 2005 football schedule yesterday, will also consist of two divisions for the first time.
Maryland, which opens the season Sept. 3 against Navy in Baltimore, will play five home games, all against schools that finished last season with winning records. Virginia, meanwhile, will face seven schools that played in bowl games last season. And Virginia Tech will open the season with two consecutive road games for the first time since 1996.
The Hokies will make consecutive appearances on ESPN's Thursday night broadcast, during which they are 10-1 in previous appearances. Tech will travel to Maryland on Oct. 20, then host Boston College a week later.
Another key rivalry game will take place Oct. 1, when Virginia visits Maryland, where the Cavaliers have not won since 1999. An intriguing nonleague game will occur Sept. 24, when Tech hosts Ohio University and former Nebraska coach Frank Solich.
Three of Maryland's final four games are on the road. Virginia, on the other hand, opens the season's final month with three consecutive home games before closing the regular season at Miami.
In its first season in the ACC, Virginia Tech went 10-3, winning the league title and earning a berth in the Sugar Bowl, which the Hokies lost to undefeated Auburn. Virginia and Maryland had disappointing finishes to the season. The Cavaliers lost the MPC Computers Bowl to Fresno State, and the Terrapins did not reach a bowl game for the first time under Coach Ralph Friedgen.
-- Eric Prisbell