The ACC is considering an unprecedented shakeup in determining its football champion - all it needs is the NCAA's approval.
The NCAA will meet in the spring and one of the discussion items will be its regulations on championship game participants. Currently, the rules require the same amount of teams in each division, and also each team playing the rest of the group.
ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN they are seeking the "autonomy" to switch things up. Among proposals on the table is pitting the top two teams - regardless of division - and not requiring all divisional foes to play each other.
Also in discussion later this month will be the nine-game schedule and having scheduling alignments with other conferences.
The driving force? The rather unwieldy structure with 14 teams, which puts quite a few years between scheduled matchups of cross-divisional opponents.
Take Clemson-Virginia for example, where the Tigers and 'Hoos won't play again until 2020 in Death Valley and then not Charlottesville until after 2024.
"There are a number of different options there that some of which may require some NCAA legislation to move away from the current rules," Clemson AD Dan Radakovich said in an interview with WCCP 104.9 last week. "One of the things that we found that's particularly troubling with the divisional alignment the way it is now - student-athletes and schools in general will not play at another ACC play for sometimes eight or nine years. That's not a good thing.
"We want to make sure that if we can we want to make sure we have a scheduling opportunity that during a player's four or five years here that they would have the opportunity to play each school within the Atlantic Coast Conference."
Reducing restrictions on the divisional structure could open the door to further expansion and a "pod" system down the road with four groups of four.
In pod proposals, which surfaced during the realignment craze of the past few years, teams would play the other three in their pod and two each from the other three mini-divisions for a nine-game schedule. One pod would be aligned with another for a two-year period for home-and-home scheduling and then switch to get the round-robin action in a few years' time. Any dramatic shift like this could be a long ways off - probably in the case Notre Dame moves from its current five-game rotation with the ACC to full membership.
Since going to a championship game format, the top-two by league record haven't played four of the nine years: 2005 (Miami, Virginia Tech), 2008 (Florida State, Boston College*), 2012 (Florida State, Clemson) and 2013 (Florida State, Clemson).
* Assuming tiebreakers are in play. BC and Virginia Tech each had 5-3 records in 2008, but BC won the regular season matchup. In a new structure, to "steal" the bid they may need to finish a win better in league play.