The ACC isn’t ready for a 9 game conference schedule.

Dwayne Allen, Jayron HosleyLast month after the ACC Spring meetings we briefly mentioned that now was not the time for the ACC to move to 9 game conference schedule.  With the recent announcement, of the ACC’s cross-over partner scheduling, there was new frustration in some circles for the 8 game conference schedule. You know, I understand. Some really good matchups won’t be happening very often. Georgia Tech\FSU, Clemson\Virginia Tech for example will meet just twice in 12 years.

My thought is to drop the permanent rival game frequency from every year to 2 out of every 3 years, but that doesn’t seem to have much chance of happening.

These games aren’t always just fixed with a North\South alignment either, because Virginia Tech will never be placed in a southern division with Clemson. I’ve gotten used to Georgia Tech\Virginia Tech. That’s a quality growing rivalry that is lost with a North\South alignment. There are some benefits to new divisions, but it’s hardly a cure all.

Why not move to a 9 game conference schedule? Well because the ACC isn’t ready for it.

3 ACC teams have permanent in-state SEC rivalries, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech. Two of those Florida State and Clemson are the ACC’s top 2 football program. There isn’t a debate about that. Even Georgia Tech is arguably the ACC’s 4th best football program over the last 5-10 years, following FSU, Clemson, and Virginia Tech. Right now we are talking about 3 of your 4 or 5 biggest football programs in the ACC, that are severely hindered by a 9 game conference schedule. At this time Florida State and Clemson are the ACC’s best chance at competing for a national title. They need the flexibility to schedule strong out of conference football opponents, and they are doing this.

In addition to South Carolina, Clemson played Auburn for 3 straight years and now has a 2 game series with Georgia. Florida State has Oklahoma St. on the schedule  in 2014, and down the road has in my opinion an ill-advised but ambitious home and home series with Boise St.

In addition Notre Dame is a defacto 9th conference game for 5 ACC teams a year. For every FSU\VT game you’ve added which is nice, you have lost the possibility of a marquee OOC matchup for your flagship football programs. At the moment the ACC is not strong enough top to bottom to create compelling matchups with an additional conference game.

Those high profile high interest games will come from scheduling OOC games. The Notre Dame series of games will be huge and will form a significant portion of the ACC’s schedule. If and when the time comes where the ACC can consistently produce 3 or 4 top 25 teams, or Notre Dame joins fully which may or may not ever happen, then that is the time for the 9 game conference schedule. For now the conference is better suited to scheduling and winning against quality OOC opponents. Scheduling more in-conference games may from time to time create a good matchup, but you’ll also be left with more games that don’t enhance the ACC brand.

That can only be done by winning more OOC games not scheduling more in-conference games.

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2 pings

  1. The debate rages 8 or 9 ACC conference games. » All Sports Discussion says:

    […] a channel, then the decision is clear, 9 games. If that is not the case, then as I said last June, the ACC is not ready for a 9 game schedule.    My reasons are still the same as then. Possibly even more so now than then. Clemson’s […]

  2. ACC makes the right decision and stays with 8 game conference schedule. » All Sports Discussion says:

    […] The ACC’s Spring meetings are this week, and several important topics will be discussed including Division, the ACC Network, and 8 or 9 game conference schedule. Well it’s just about official on one of these, the ACC is going to stay at 8 conference games.  I am one person pleased to see this. I’ve been a proponent of the 8 game conference schedule for the ACC for nearly a year.  […]

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