CLEMSON — The first major reality of the ACC’s new nine-game football schedule hit home for Clemson Wednesday.
Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips confirmed that CU and Ole Miss had mutually agreed to terminate their nonconference home-and-home series, set for 2015-16. In addition, Phillips said that Clemson’s home-and-home with Oklahoma State, tentatively set for 2019-20, was also being cancelled.
It is a direct result of the schedule pressures applied by the ACC’s new football schedule, expected to go into place for 2013. Syracuse announced this week that it had reached a settlement to join the ACC on July 1, 2013, and Pitt announced Tuesday night that it had reached a similar agreement with the Big East to join that day, too.
Once that happens, a nine-game ACC schedule will begin which alternates between four and five home league games. That schedule, plus the continued home-and-home rivalry series with South Carolina, forced Clemson’s hand.
“We didn’t want to get out of that series,” Phillips said. “It’s a good series. We did save the Georgia series (in 2013-14), and that was extremely important. But given the realities of other universities at our level, we need to play seven home games.
“A home-and-home situation, we just can’t do it. I hate it. I’d like to keep the series. But reality demands in the long term that we keep seven home games every year, with the Georgia series being the exception.”
Phillips said that paperwork has been sent to Oklahoma State to cancel the series, and that OSU “understands.”
“The paperwork has been sent so they didn’t get their schedule in a bind, held up at the last minute,” he said. “We’re working through that.”
Ole Miss replaced Clemson with regional rival Memphis. Clemson does not have replacements set for the Rebels or Cowboys, but Phillips said they would be programs which do not require return games.
Another possibility would be playing marquee season-opening games like this season’s opener against Auburn in Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A Classic.