The ACC is reportedly dabbling with the idea of a 9-game schedule again. The idea is to create more conference property, which ESPN can buy–giving all conference members a boost in revenue. What does the blogosphere think? And what options are there?
- Syracuse is not sure whether it would help or hurt. The Confidential tends to think that any discretion removed from Syracuse A.D.s–who seem convinced that this is still 1959 and Syracuse should play elite programs every year–cannot hurt.
- Boston College seems in favor of the move, but skeptical that the power brokers would go for it.
- At least one Clemson source reports it matter-of-factly, with the fan/comments suggesting that this is opposed significantly. Indeed, for the schools playing SEC opponents, this is a tough sell.
As for the Confidential, the position is somewhat different. Any plan for the current schools needs to reflect the unique scheduling issues facing Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Louisville. Of course, those schools need to realize that Notre Dame is teetering a bit right now and might be obtainable, while ESPN is also pushing the increased inventory argument pretty hard. The solution?
The Confidential’s Solution is this.
First, here is your schedule:
- FSU, Clemson, Ga Tech, Louisville–8 conference games (recognizing the annual game against an SEC foe)
- Notre Dame–8 conference games (with USC and Navy permanently on schedule, this assures a 9th game against a P5 school… but still room to schedule a Texas school or Stanford, or Air Force or a Big 10 school. No worries about being stuck having to schedule FCS opponents).
- The remaining 10 schools play 9 conference games (now all schools have guaranteed 9 games against P5 opponents)
Second, here are your new divisions:
- None–divisions are over. Too cumbersome for scheduling purposes.
Third, but, but, but… with unbalanced conference games, how do you decide a league champion? Simple–based on OVERALL RECORD, rather than conference record. The top two teams based on OVERALL RECORD play in the ACC Championship Game. This means that Florida State and Clemson could play in a Championship game if they have the two best records. Alternatively, it means that any school with a great overall record can get in. The two teams most in contention for a playoff spot will play each other.
While this lowers the chance of two ACC schools making the playoffs, it increases the chance of at least one school making the playoff. Is it better for Florida State to beat a 9-3 Coastal team or is it better to take the chance at beating an 11-1 Clemson or 11-1 Notre Dame? With the Big XII moving to a conference title game, the rematch is guaranteed. The ACC needs to keep pace to avoid being shut out from time to time.
And who says conference records MUST be more important? Each conference can decide its champion and championship game members as it sees fit. Perhaps someday the ACC and SEC will each have 16 schools and can play a complete SEC-ACC challenge in the final week. If so, all schools can then play the same number of conference games. But, for now, why not make everyone happy?
Of course, ESPN may “demand” that the ACC add UConn. If so, then there will be 11 schools outside of the 8-game requirement. This just means that one school has to join the 8-game ranks every year… rotating, that is one slot every 11 years. Pretty sure that will not cause a destruction of the model. Not the end of the world for football, and certainly would not hurt hoops whatsoever. And if this truly does lead to a profitable ACC Network, it is ALL worth it.
In the meantime, having 10 schools go to 9 conference games, as well as two more Notre Dame games, means a slight increase in inventory. If UConn is added, even more inventory. And that is just football alone. UConn womens’ hoops on the ACC Network? ACC lacrosse? ACC baseball? ACC mens basketball. You get the drift. The means to an end are not always pretty. If this keeps everyone happy, why not?
What do you think of this alternative?