If anybody would have an idea of scheduling for the new four-team playoff, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich would seem to be the guy.
He is on the playoff committee after all – scheduled to serve on said committee the longest of the original 13 members.
Radakovich hasn’t batted an eye in supporting his coach Dabo Swinney’s stance on the conference scheduling, staying at eight games. He’s even taken it to another level in calling on ACC teams without a rival to beef up their schedules to pick up the slack.
“I think the eight games plus the one out of conference schedule works best for us right now,” Radakovich told the media at the ACC spring meetings this week. “Things could change down the road – four or five years from now…It’s where we need to be right now.
“I think it’s where we need to be right now and gives us the flexibility.”
By now, the second-year Clemson AD has been in multiple meetings of the playoff committee, which recently caused a bit of stir in distinguishing their goal to find the four “best” instead of the four “most deserving” teams.
Radakovich says being a conference champion is not necessarily a prerequisite.
“I think it’s going to be the totality of the schedule,” Radakovich said. “Being a conference champion is one of the top priorities as is a good strength of schedule as is winning the games.”
“There really isn’t just one factor overwhelming the others. It’s the body of work associated with the program.”
The eight-game schedule status quo for the ACC came with “flexibility” as the buzzword, even adopted by Miami’s Al Golden, who supported the nine-game movement previously. He says they are keeping a close eye on everything coming out of committee chambers from Radakovich and co.
“I think we’re all waiting for that moment when we get the parameters,” Golden said also at the Amelia Island, Florida conference. “I think that’s going to help us all schedule. I don’t just mean the ACC, but college football in general.
“I think it would be important to understand exactly not so much the human element in the selection, just the metrics so to speak. What are the metrics? You hear so many different things. We’re scheduled so far out, if there’s changes that we need to make we need to address them quickly.”
After momentum appeared swung towards a nine-game schedule, there’s no question the SEC about-face in late April influenced the ACC’s decision. To what degree? ESPN polled the ACC ADs and found seven of them for the extra conference game and just three staunchly against in April. Monday’s vote was 8-6 in favor of staying at eight – Georgia Tech one of the 180-degree shifts.
"The SEC had been going through the same analysis," FSU athletic director Stan Wilcox said. “Because it's really the same the SEC came out in, it didn't take us very long to get to that conclusion."
"It'll be telling for us as to whether or not this decision is the right decision or do we need to do something else. I think we felt comfortable with knowing that we're not the lone conference out there being at eight."
On the divisional front, CBSSports.com writer Dennis Dodd reported late Wednesday afternoon that the ACC/Big 12 joint venture to deregulate conference championship games could be heard as early as Aug. 7.
For the Big 12, that means they could play a title game with their current 10-team makeup, where now it's required to have 12 teams. For the ACC, they could maintain a championship game despite some alternative selection options, including the best two teams divisions or not.