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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Weekend Topic: ACC Football Divisions

The folks over at Tomahawk Nation have a nice debate, albeit FSU-centric, as to how the ACC divisions should be reconfigured.  So let’s delve in and discuss.

Given that the current divisions are just a random collection of whatever that nobody could possibly remember, here are they are as of right now:

Atlantic: Florida State, Clemson, NC State, Wake Forest, Maryland (Louisville in 2014), Boston College, Syracuse

Coastal: Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh

The Confidential has previously advocated for a quasi-geographic breakdown of the teams.  John Cassillo over at atlanticcoastconvos proposed the same thing on the Tomahawk Nation blog (midway down):

Atlantic: Miami, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Syracuse, Boston College, Pitt, Maryland (Louisville)

Coastal: Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Georgia Tech

The teams are listed above/below a permanent crossover.

This is essentially the “Old ACC less Virginia.”  Or N/S, plus Miami and Louisville.  Miami works with the North.  Virginia?  Maybe, maybe not.  But they would play UNC every year.

But the FSU folks have an interesting suggestion or two, including a straight–let’s get a strong strength of schedule method proposed by SirChancelot:

Atlantic: Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Miami, Louisville, Pitt, Virginia

Coastal: Duke, UNC, NC State, Wake Forest, BC, Syracuse, and Georgia Tech

The logic being that the football schools can beat up on each other and establish a strength of schedule that matches up with the SEC.  And if the ACC-Championship Game is garbage, so what?  It always is anyway.  Better to have the 11-1 team get to 12-1 without hassle.  Frankly, the Confidential sees some logic in it, but questions the choice of schools.  How about this instead:

Atlantic: FSU, Miami, Va Tech, Clemson, Georgia Tech, NC State, Louisville

Coastal, UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, BC, Syracuse, Pitt, Virginia

If anyone runs the table in the Atlantic, they should be sitting pretty from a strength-of-schedule standpoint.

Of course, if anyone runs the table in the ACC in any format, will they be excluded from a strength-of-schedule standpoint anyway?  That seems to be a fabricated issue.  It is not strength of schedule that harms the ACC schools, it is losing to teams that one should not lose to.

Moreover, playing all those games may help the strength of schedule, but wouldn’t it increase the chances of a bunch of 4-3 teams.

The Confidential’s perspective is that the ACC has a poor image because it is not top-heavy enough.  The B1G is Michigan and Ohio State usually.  The Big XII is Texas and Oklahoma usually.  The Pac-12 is USC or Oregon usually.  Exceptions happen obviously, but that is what we can expect.  The SEC is great because there are 5 teams that have the ability to run the table–and one or two of them usually do.  The ACC may have a couple of schools that “can,” but they always falter along the way to middling schools.  Bunching up the great teams is not going to help.  However, the idea of ignoring competitive balance has merit.  One can never get it straight anyway.

Otherwise, the suggestions over there involve a re-assortment of the current system.  Swap Miami for Florida State, or Clemson for Georgia Tech.

Nobody suggested this one… organize by number of words it takes to state the school:

Atlantic (1 word): Clemson, Miami, Pitt, Louisville, Virginia, Duke, Syracuse

Coastal (2 words): Georgia Tech, Florida State, NC State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Wake Forest

Actually, that is not bad competitive balance for football.  Hmmmm.

From the Confidential’s perspective, the priority of the conference should be as follows:

  1. Maximizing TV revenue–gotta keep up with the Joneses
  2. Maintaining traditional rivalries
  3. Easy of remembering divisions –nobody should have to look up who is in each division, whether an ACC fan or not
  4. Maximizing gate revenue–more $$$
  5. Competitive balance
  6. Ensuring high strength of schedule
  7. Other?

What do you think–what is THE most important thing that the ACC must consider if/when rearranging the divisions for football?   What is your proposal?

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4 thoughts on “Weekend Topic: ACC Football Divisions

  1. Reading some posts on Tomahawk, it seems that FSU, Clemson & Geo Tech all want to be in same division. I’m ok with that, you can do that & still maintain balance.

  2. I really think the only answer is some sort of pod scheduling combined with increased conference games (just like the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC- about to go to 9). More rivalry games (UNC/Wake, FSU/GT, etc.) would be great for TV revenue

    • The ACC just went back to 8 from 9 (perhaps without even implementing for one season), at least in part to help FSU and the football schools who play at least one tough OOC game a year (think Georgia, SC, Florida), and also to help get 7 home games. This is something that will be hard for all conferences’ teams to adhere to—9 conference games and 7 home games AND difficult schedule strength. Without FCS opponents, will be a challenge for the B1G.

  3. I’m with you there, man. It’s a pretty difficult set-up….but I think making things harder is the only way we’ll ever get better. I wish UNC had an SEC opponent we played every year. That would be awesome. Playing FCS schools just isn’t fun. No one wants to watch those games…I’m stoked about our South Carolina game this year win OR lose. As long as my team tries, I’d rather play 10 ACC games and 2 SEC games and finish 6-6 then 8 ACC games, 3 boring OOC games and 1 FCS game and finish 8-5. I want to play Clemson, FSU and Wake, NOT McNeese State, UAB and Liberty…

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