The adjustment to a nine-game conference schedule will be easier on some schools than others.
Count Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech among the 'others.'
A built-in, traditional season-ending rivalry game against SEC opponents will put a serious squeeze on the scheduling options of the Tigers, Seminoles and Yellow Jackets, with implications both for marquee games like Clemson's 2012 Kickoff opener against Auburn and subsequent home-and-home series with Georgia, and for the Tigers' yearly match-ups against an in-state Football Championship Division teams.
Prior to the announcement that Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be joining the ACC (presumably for the 2014 football season), Clemson had already set its four conference opponents for both 2013 and 2014.
The Tigers will open the 2013 season at home against Georgia, end it with a visit to South Carolina, and will also play non-conference opponents Citadel and Kent State. The Bulldogs and Gamecocks will again bookend the 2014 season, but with the addition of Syracuse as an every-year Atlantic Division opponent, either Coastal Carolina or Central Michigan will be bumped from the schedule.
Clemson currently has three non-conference opponents scheduled for the 2015 and 2016 seasons – Mississippi and South Carolina both years, with Wofford in 2015 and SC State in 2016.
Clemson administrators will have several possible options for future scheduling. With just two slots to play with, they could go for a high-level opponent (such as a tentatively scheduled down-the-road home-and-home with Oklahoma State) and pair it with an in-state FCS opponent. Or they could lighten the load by scheduling from the pool of FBS 'mid-majors,' and pairing a Middle Tennessee, Central Michigan or North Texas with an in-state FCS team.
Or they could dispense with the in-state games entirely and aim for an unrelenting, national schedule.
Also in play as a consideration for Clemson's schedule is whether the 14-team SEC at some point follows the ACC's lead and opts for a nine-game league schedule as opposed to the current eight-game conference slate.
Fans, and television, love high-profile inter-conference and inter-region match-ups. But expansion – for dollar-driven reasons of its own – appears to be pulling in a different direction.