Nine-game ACC schedule not going away

Division structure is expected to remain the same despite proposals from Clemson, Syracuse ADs

Clemson football during Tiger Walk before game against Florida State at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson football during Tiger Walk before game against Florida State at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

The nine-game schedule may be back. Some of the more radical changes are tabled, at least for now.

Earlier last week, the ACC sent a “piece of legislation” that could change up the current college football championship rules. Those rules call for at least 12 teams, even divisions and members of the divisions all playing each other in a given season.

But that’s about as far as that front will go in the conference winter meetings. Another one not-so-friendly to Clemson is gaining steam.

Longtime ACC writer David Teel reports there’s consensus among the ACC ADs on keeping the division structure the same. Per his numbers, the Atlantic is 82-76 against the Coastal, with the majority of the cross-divisional rivalries at 5-4 over its nine years in place.

Despite the concerns of ACC coaches, the ADs approved a move to a nine-game schedule when Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the league in 2011. After more realignment moves, the conference shifted back to eight before ever making the change.

With cross-divisional schedules as unwieldy ever, the league higher-ups have examined a number of ways for teams like Clemson and Virginia can meet on a more regular basis (scheduled for 2020 and then after 2024 currently).

ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN that there’s “considerable support” for a move back to the proposed nine-game schedule. Teel agrees.

“What has gained momentum is a nine-game conference schedule,” he wrote, “that would put the ACC in lockstep with the Big 12 and Pacific 12, both already at nine, and the Big Ten, which is headed to nine in 2016.”

Teel says no vote has been taken, but more ACC games could be preceding a conference television network down the road.

With seasons having dates with both Notre Dame and South Carolina locked in place – the move is still not supported by Clemson. Moving to a 15-team league with Louisville in the next athletic cycle, majority could rule the other way regardless.

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Comments » 8

KIMOSAMI (Inactive) writes:

Will you please give me a clear, cogent explanation as to WHY it is desirable to play a nine game conference schedule.

I know the reasons it is desirable to NOT play a nine game schedule.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to KIMOSAMI:

Will you please give me a clear, cogent explanation as to WHY it is desirable to play a nine game conference schedule.

I know the reasons it is desirable to NOT play a nine game schedule.

Honestly, it's not something Clemson wants or really needs.

But from the pro-nine game side, my best explanation is...

1) Scheduling - It's becoming harder and harder to schedule out of conference without having to shell out bigger bucks.

2) Cross-divisional matchups - Clemson will play an OOC team in Notre Dame twice before they will play an ACC team in Virginia (2020). They won't play again at Charlottesville until after 2024. With the current divisional restraints, there's not much flexibility with 8-games, but it becomes a little less ridiculous with 9.

3) All the Big Five outside of the SEC is?

4) Network inventory - More conference games means more in their purview from a TV standpoint. If there is an ESPN-ACC network, that gives them more to sell in case that ever happens.

Not saying it's a strong case, but evidently the ACC ADs have convinced themselves it's needed.

TigerNE writes:

I thought Radakovich was on the record in the last week saying the 8 game schedule works well and is in the best interest of the school. Is he in a tiny minority of ACC ADs? And while Wilcox might have been for it at Duke I have to think he wouldn't be for it now he's at FSU.

BrandonRink writes:

Clemson, FSU and GT were in the minority a couple years ago when they went to the 9-game. Some public statements from GT officials suggest they're not totally against the 9-game now. But like you said, Clemson's still in the 8-game camp.

It will be a 15 team league soon and I believe 3/4 of the league is what they need to make such decisions (though when made public it's usually unanimous).

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

They want an 8 game conference schedule so they can schedule 2 patsies to get two automatic wins. Then we have SC and that gives us 3 more easy games if we want them. It is hard to get a top rated Div 1 team to play you if you are any good. That's a fact. The NCAA should make some kind of rule to help solve the scheduling problem. Try to schedule a game with Oklahoma right now and see how quick you play that game. Maybe never.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

I don't see the big problem with 9 games. You should always be able to beat UNC, Pitt, Duke, and UVa. You replace the Citadel with any of those 4 and your record doesn't change. The difference is you're on TV which is always a good thing. You're already playing GT every year. That leaves Miami and VT. You WANT to play Miami as often as possible b/c that helps recruit talent-rich south FL.

You usually only play 3 really tough games in a year. You play FSU, SC, and an Auburn/UGa to start the year. The rest of your schedule is filled with WF, MD, BC, etc. The only downside I see with a 9-game schedule is you play a tough opponent in VT and Miami a little more frequently. The upside is more $ and you're in south FL more frequently. The reason that all the conferences are moving to 9 games is b/c the TV $ is more lucrative. If the ACC stays at 8 then they're leaving $ on the table and putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

I'm no SC fan but I'd be remiss to not point out that your hated rival played an SEC schedule and their 4 OOC games were against 2 teams in BCS bowls, another that went to a bowl, and Coastal Carolina. If they can go 11-2 against that schedule, then you should be just fine against 9 ACC teams, ND, and SC.

jbthe1tiger99 writes:

it's about STRENGTH of schedule with an OOC possibly heavy-weight game being removed that threatens the league nationally speaking!

if we play in a league already viewed as weaker by the media & ESPN/nationally... then playing an extra ACC game & taking away the possibility to play another "power" team from a strong conference other than ours (to gauge us nationally) is a pretty stupid move, if you want ANYONE in the league to compete for NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS within the new playoff system.

there's NO positive in this except for lesser teams in the league being able to say they played everyone in the division & we do play each other more often...WOOHOO!!!???

more money is made when we play the big boys in conferences like the SEC, & Ohio States, LSU, UGA, Auburn, Nebraska, and such...plus we get the conference more viewing also.
only the wannbees of the league have anything to gain & thereby bringing the general league strength/competitive value down.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to jbthe1tiger99:

it's about STRENGTH of schedule with an OOC possibly heavy-weight game being removed that threatens the league nationally speaking!

if we play in a league already viewed as weaker by the media & ESPN/nationally... then playing an extra ACC game & taking away the possibility to play another "power" team from a strong conference other than ours (to gauge us nationally) is a pretty stupid move, if you want ANYONE in the league to compete for NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS within the new playoff system.

there's NO positive in this except for lesser teams in the league being able to say they played everyone in the division & we do play each other more often...WOOHOO!!!???

more money is made when we play the big boys in conferences like the SEC, & Ohio States, LSU, UGA, Auburn, Nebraska, and such...plus we get the conference more viewing also.
only the wannbees of the league have anything to gain & thereby bringing the general league strength/competitive value down.

Here's my devil's advocate, does it necessarily take away that game against a power team? That's up to Clemson I suppose. In years with Notre Dame on the slate, I see what you're saying, but in other years, they can still schedule those type of games if they want to.

No. 2, let's say that's true. Say there's no Georgia on the schedule this past year...Clemson would have easily made the playoff if they took care of business in the marquee games they did play (FSU/USC).

3, hey, the ACC just won the national title. Clemson's been a top-10 team the last couple years. The ACC's stock is as high as its been and they could parlay this all into a revenue-generating TV network.

I'm not a huge fan of the 8-game deal myself, but I also don't have the numbers the ACC is looking at.

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