ACC expands with addition of Cal, Stanford and SMU

The ACC added California, Stanford and SMU as members, the conference announced Friday morning. Those three schools will join the league as full members in 2024. SMU will join July 1 and Cal and Stanford on Aug. 2.

Cal, Stanford and SMU will give the ACC 18 teams and 17 football-playing members. Notre Dame, a conference member in all its other sports, remains a football independent.

Friday’s news had been rumored for much of the summer and comes after the Big Ten announced the additions of Oregon and Washington and the Big 12 added Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

“Georgia Tech athletics proudly welcomes California, SMU and Stanford to the Atlantic Coast Conference,” Tech athletic director J Batt said in a statement from Tech. “With long traditions of athletic success and elite academic credentials, our three newest partners are a terrific fit for the ACC. A big thanks goes out to Commissioner Jim Phillips and the leaders of our member institutions for delivering three excellent new institutions to our conference, while prioritizing student-athlete experience, well-being and the long-term strength of our league. We’re excited to begin working and competing with the Golden Bears, Mustangs and Cardinal.”

Tech joined the ACC in 1979 and now is one of the conference’s oldest members, along with Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia and Wake Forest. Louisville was the last school to join the league in 2014.

Cal joined the Pac-12 in 1915 while Stanford, located in Stanford, California, has been a Pac-12 member since 1918. Both schools are more than 2,400 miles from Tech’s campus.

SMU joined the American Athletic Conference in 2013 and had previously been a member of the Southwest and Western Athletic conferences. The Dallas, Texas, school is nearly 800 miles from Atlanta.

Tech is 3-4 all-time versus California, but the teams haven’t met since 1978. The first six games came from 1929-40. One of the memorable plays ever in college football came in the first Tech-Cal meeting. That came in the Rose Bowl after the 1928 season. In that game, Cal’s Roy Riegels famously ran more than 60 yards in the wrong direction after recovering a fumble. One of Riegels’ teammates tackled him at Cal’s 1-yard line. A few plays later, Tech a blocked punt for a safety in an 8-7 Jackets victory.

Tech is 8-2-1 against SMU, but the Jackets haven’t played the Mustangs since 1969. The teams met in 10 consecutive seasons from 1950-59. Tech is 2-0 against Stanford, both in bowl games (1991, 2001 seasons).

“It’s exciting times for the conference. It’s exciting that they are looking to do those things,” Tech football coach Brent Key said Tuesday. “I got faith in the commissioner. I got faith in the conference. Been a part of this conference since 1996, and that’s why I love this conference. The ACC’s such a great mix of athletics and academics.

“It’s an exciting brand of football right now in the league and if they make the decision to move forward with that, we’d all be behind and excited for the future.”

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