Breaking News: ACC Football Keeping Eight-Game Conference Schedule

The ACC’s Move Back to an Eight-Game Schedule Is Great for Every Team Involved

In big news today, the ACC has announced that it will stick with an eight-game conference schedule, rather than switching to nine games as originally planned for next season. The reasons for this move? Schools such as Clemson, Georgia Tech and Florida State were already inconvenienced enough having nine set games plus a tenth SEC rival matchup each year. When Notre Dame was added to the mix, those teams would have had 11 games already set on the schedule. And while it wasn’t necessarily discussed at all, a move like this could also help bring the Irish fully into the fold down the road, since it would allow them more flexibility to keep traditional rivalries.

We’ll have a more in-depth breakdown of the news later on, but for now, consider this an open thread on the topic. Like the move? Hate the move? What will eight ACC games do for your team that nine games did not? Let us know in the comments.

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7 thoughts on “Breaking News: ACC Football Keeping Eight-Game Conference Schedule

  1. As huge as this is for ACC football, it’s just as huge for basketball…

    The 2-partner format guarantees a double-dose of the biggest games, like UNC/Duke, UNC/NC St, Pitt/Maryland, and Pitt/Syracuse. It also tends to regionalize that sport, thus feeding the rivalries.

    The decision to take the 12 highest teams for the Big Ten Challenge accomplishes 2 things:
    1) guarantees the ACC’s best chance to win the challenge
    2) motivates teams near the bottom of the league to improve

    The new policy forbidding teams banned from post-season play to win a division will play well in Clemson and Tallahassee also, where conspiracy-theory fans will be happy to see some action taken against the assumed “teachers pet”, UNC Tar Heels.

    Great stuff! Very progressive (unusually so for the ACC – a very good sign of things to come!)

    • Overall, I think it’s a great move. Gives flexibility to teams, and I do believe it makes Notre Dame more likely to join at a later date.

      The division-winner policy is an underrated victory, and I agree with you, it’s a nice nod to league office detractors. The B1G is having this issue right now, with both Penn State and Ohio State ineligible for the postseason or conference title game, yet they could still be crowned division champs. Doesn’t make much sense, and looks bad for the league overall.

    • I have no idea how Pitt vs. Maryland is a big game (I’d much prefer the Terps vs. Duke) … but overall I agree with you, this is great.

      I would have also been ok if they’d gone with a 4-partner system, but having 2 partners is better than one.

  2. As for the return to the 8-game conference schedule for football …


    This is great. I think that they were already getting some pushback from teams that wanted to keep the four OOC games on the schedule, and adding five Notre Dame games for the league each year gave them a ready-made excuse to reverse the decision.

    Whatever the reason (or reasons), I think it’s great. It’ll make it easier for ACC teams to get to bowls (if they can actually improve themselves) and teams can schedule in whatever way is best for them. Despite the awful OOC showing this year, I think that when the teams get better, they’ll have a much better opportunity to go bowling (even the lower-level conference teams).

    The only drawback is that the two divisions will almost seem like separate conferences. Other than the crossover rival, each team will only see non-division opponents once every six years. Even so, I think it’s the best plan.

    • Right. Definitely not thrilled about the lack of games against Virginia, Virginia Tech and Miami, but I agree, would rather have more flexibility than anything else. Curious at this point if the Pac-12 will drop their nine-game league schedule since every other divisional league has.

  3. This always tears me up. You may remember when I wrote about this for the SEC, but to surmise: if you have divisions, you’re not a conference if you only play one rotating game on your schedule. I don’t think a conference should make exceptions for a few schools who want to play their in-state rivals. If you have fourteen teams in your conference, play more teams in your conference. At least when you have nine conference games, your fans are guaranteed a certain number of quality games. I’m always surprised with how involved ESPN and Fox Sports are involved in CFB, why conferences aren’t made to play more teams in-conference.

    • The thing with the ACC and SEC is that some schools’ biggest rivals are out-of-conference, so I definitely understand the motivation on both sides to avoid locking themselves into 10 dates before they even begin the scheduling process. Difficult to find teams for those final two games, plus, you could end up killing a promising season with seven or eight games against ranked teams (in an extreme case).

      The biggest part of all this for the ACC is still Notre Dame, though. Impossible for FSU, Georgia Tech and Clemson to continue their SEC rivalry series and participate in the ND rotation, too. If they were to do so, that’s 11 set games, all against top-flight competition. No one wants that situation.

      In terms of ESPN and Fox, they don’t televise many non-conference games against FCS teams. So despite teams not participating in league matchups, those available games are still quality more often than not.

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