ACC/SEC Football Scheduling Changes Discussed

With the ACC league meetings coming up May 12-15, here are some interesting tidbits on scheduling that could affect the ACC’s decisions on future scheduling.

You may recall recently that ESPN reported that the ACC and SEC have considered an 8+1 scheduling agreement where every ACC team would play eight league games plus one SEC opponent each season (click here for a refresher).

There have been other comments about the scheduling this past week.


The Southeastern Conference on Sunday announced the format for future football scheduling that is a continuation of the existing format and adds a strength-of-schedule component that requires all schools to play an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 opponent on an annual basis. The announcement comes after a vote of the league’s institutions.

Each SEC team will continue to play eight conference football games per season, to include six games against division opponents and two games against non-division opponents. One of the non-division opponents will be a permanent annual opponent and the other non-division opponent will rotate each year.

In addition, at least one opponent from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 must be scheduled by each SEC school on an annual basis beginning in 2016, with assistance from the conference office.

“This has been a thoughtful and deliberative process that has resulted in maintaining the current format and adds a provision that will bolster our collective annual non-conference schedule,” said Commissioner Mike Slive. “Critical to maintaining this format is the non-conference opponent factor which gives us the added strength-of-schedule we were seeking while allowing continued scheduling flexibility for institutional preferences, and acknowledges that many of our institutions already play these opponents.

The decision to maintain an eight-game conference schedule allows for a number of other advantages:

• A balanced league schedule for all teams – equal home and away conference games (four home and four away); a nine-game schedule would have resulted in some teams with five home games and others with four on an annual basis

• Accommodates varying institutional non-conference scheduling philosophies

• Allows for marquee neutral site games – the popularity of neutral site games has grown in recent years, as evidenced by large crowds and significant TV ratings for those games that feature major intersectional opponents.

“Tradition matters in the SEC, and there is no denying that tradition was a significant factor in this decision because it protects several long-standing cross-division conference rivalries,” said Slive. “It has been a hallmark of the SEC over our history to be able to make continued progress while also maintaining traditions important to our institutions.”

The decision to maintain a permanent non-division opponent also presents other advantages:

• Creates annual cross-division rivalries that otherwise would not be annual games

• Provides each team with a traditional opponent for the final weekend of the season

Jeremy Fowler (

Unintended or not, the ACC and SEC could become a de facto package deal on the looming 8-vs. 9-game decisions for both conferences.

The ACC is closely watching how the SEC handles its scheduling format and will take that into consideration when it meets as a league May 13 in Amelia Island, Fla., sources said.

The SEC is expected to finalize its plans by early May.

If the SEC goes to nine, that shrinks the ACC’s pool of non-conference opponents.

If the SEC stays at eight, that clears the lane for the ACC to remain in its current setup and strengthen what a high-ranking source calls a “mutual interest in scheduling each other” in the future.

One concept, according to the source, would keep the ACC to stay at eight under the stipulation that each team play at least one power conference team each year, hopefully more. The ACC and SEC already play several traditional rivalries such as Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Louisville-Kentucky and Clemson-South Carolina.

The ACC can justify eight games because of its partnership with Notre Dame, which plays five league opponents per season, in rotation. But a handful of athletic directors and coaches prefer a move to nine.

Michael Felder (

That leaves the SEC and the ACC as the two conferences sitting at eight-game schedules, each with 14 teams in its league.

However, the ACC sits in a unique position to fight off the eight-game conference schedule thanks to the welcoming of Notre Dame into the fold. Starting with this coming season, the Fighting Irish will battle ACC teams as an additional, built-in portion of the schedule. Unable to get out of a game to take on five in 2014, the Irish play six ACC teams in 2015 before settling into the five-team rotation wholly in 2016.

On the Notre Dame side, it gives them access to more bowls and helps flesh out a schedule, something becoming a bit more difficult as major teams move to nine-game schedules. For the ACC, it means five of the league’s teams will have nine games against quality competition a season. In the case of teams like Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech, that means 10 quality contests, thanks to the addition of in-state rivals.

Heather Dinich (

ACC coaches are in favor of sticking with an eight-game league schedule as the conference prepares to again debate an eight- or nine-game format at next month’s spring meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., according to Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who is chair of the ACC coaches’ committee.

“I think it’s going to be debated, I will say that,” Cutcliffe said on Wednesday’s spring ACC coaches’ teleconference. “I wouldn’t be being truthful if I didn’t tell you the coaches lean heavily towards eight. That’s where we are. We have a schedule made out for the next few years. We have Notre Dame rotating in and out of there. We’ve got Kansas, Northwestern, we have some Big 12, Big Ten, SEC schools on our schedule now. From a coaching standpoint, we’re real happy with eight games. I think there’s a lot of discussions we’re going to have with the ADs that could be interesting.”

One of the biggest criticisms of the current format is that each ACC school faces its crossover opponents only twice during the 12-year rotation — once at home and once on the road, but not consecutively. A nine-game format would increase the ACC’s league schedule from 56 to 63 games.

Not all of the coaches are in favor of eight games, as Miami’s Al Golden and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer both said they are in favor of nine, and Virginia coach Mike London said he hasn’t made up his mind on the issue.

“I’d rather play a game that you need to win as opposed to playing a game that you should win,” Beamer said. “Just from a coaching standpoint, I think that I’d love more of those challenges rather than the alumni getting all upset when they think you should’ve won a game. … I think I’d go for nine games.”

Golden agreed.

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Home Forums ACC/SEC Football Scheduling Changes

This topic contains 12 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  VaWolf82 4 years ago.

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    With the ACC league meetings coming up May 12-15, here are some interesting tidbits on scheduling that could affect the ACC’s decisions on future sche
    [See the full post at: ACC/SEC Football Scheduling Changes]


    Alpha Wolf

    Personally, I think that the nine game deal would be easily remedied: you get 4/5 home and away one year and 5/4 the next. The brain trust over in Greensboro should be able to figure that out without any help.

    I am cynical of the SEC deal because I think that television (ESPN) would ultimately end up controlling the matchups and locations of the games. That would more than likely not be good for NC State or its fans.



    Thanks to the IDIOTS who brought Notre Dame on board, the ACC will never go to a 9-game conference schedule, especially if all the ACC teams end up playing an SEC team each season. That’ll be ten games already filled for the ACC teams who play ND that season, and you know the ACC teams will want at least two cupcake opponents if not 3. The ACC basketball coaches were opposed to going to an 18-game schedule, so it’s likely that a majority of the ACC football coaches will feel the same way about a 9-game schedule.

    The ACC “brain crust” may be able to figure out a schedule, but like Alpha said, ESPN will control the matchups, and to hell with who the fans want to see on their team’s schedule. It will indeed be bad news for the Wolfpack and Demon Deacons, who probably will continue to be stuck in the same division with Clemson, FSU and now Louisville.

    Again, what the league needs to do is re-align the conference into 2 historically and geographically sensible divisions, which would place the Big Four back on annual football schedules, probably with Clemson, FSU and GT or UVA. Syracuse and the other Big East castoffs KNEW what they were getting into when they joined the ACC. If they don’t like the Big Four teams getting a “travel break” by playing each other the way they’ve done for the past hundred years, tough crap. The Orange and their arrogant fans can go to hell for all I care, and hopefully take Notre Dame, BC, Pitt and Miami with them. I hate this new ACC, and if the Pack doesn’t soon get its long-term rivals (Duke, GT, UVA plus an opportunity to play VT more often) back on some kind of regular schedule, I’m done with buying season football tickets like I have for the past 20 seasons.

    It simply makes no sense, financially or from a rivalry standpoint, to destroy the annual State-Duke and UNC-WF football matchups.

    The ACC has already destroyed the Big East. Now, it’s about to destroy itself, if that hasn’t happened already. Whatever comes out of this meeting next week, you can bet that it’ll please only the tv networks and those responsible for screwing this league up in the first place.


    Alpha Wolf


    SEC Adopts Strength of Schedule Requirement Starting in 2016

    From a radical-change standpoint, as a means of becoming more viable for College Football Playoff consideration, the SEC has adopted an unprecedented strength-of-schedule component, mandating that, starting in 2016, all 14 teams must schedule at least one power-conference program per season.



    Before it’s over the five power conferences will only play each other, Notre Dame will be a full league member and they will all be in a new football subdivision in the NCAA. There will be an 8 team playoff for the national championship and the five power conferences will suck all of the TV money out of college football.



    As long as ND has the NBC contract, they will never join a conference in FB. The major conferences will always schedule smaller schools so that they can get the money generated by home games. You don’t have to like it…but to think otherwise is delusional.



    Another Possibility which no one mentions is just making the divisions fluid. Why do they need to stay consistent year in and out? You can keep the 8 team schedule. Make the rules that you will play every other team in conference at least every third year. Load the divisions based on conference records. Even if you have to makes schedules two years out, it should still keep things interesting. The fans will have the “fun” of trying to figure out which division they are in and who else is in it but hell, we do that anyway.

    Each team can keep two teams they want to play every year and preferences for other old rivalries. That way, when Wake or UNX end up in our division, we could pick up a team outside our division that we want to play more (Duke, other old ACC teams). It might seem crazy but I think it would be better than what we have. Maybe there would be a weighting factor so that if your preferences are bottom dwellers, one or two would kick out and you get an opponent that evens up your strength of schedule.
    It would add to off season excitement just waiting to find out your division make up for the coming seasons.

    The ACC brain trust would have a challenging time building the schedules but it’s just a basic Operations Research problem.



    This plan will be the death of the SEC as the unquestioned, ten times better than every other conference, every week is a killer college football conference. Once they play somebody other than UAB in the non-conference people will begin to see how they really stack up against other conferences (see Duke vs. Texas A&M).


    Virginia Wolf

    I agree Texpack! The ACC could adopt the “Strength of Schedule” model. Aparently, that is the only way the Wolfpack will ever get a decent non-conference opponent. For some reason our folks don’t want a decent team coming to Carter Finley. If we adopted the model, Notre Dame could be considered that opponent the years a team plays them. Just a thought!



    If you have to be in one of the five power conferences to play for the national championship ND will join.



    I think Rodon’s numbers are indeed down. He’s certainly still pitched well enough to have a substantially better record than he has. I’ve been watching his velocity during the games on the score board and he looks like he’s sitting in the low 90’s. That’s great speed when he has such a crippling slider. However, a scout made a public statement that his numbers are indeed down. I cannot recall exactly where I saw it. Last year several times Carlos’ velocity would actually peak around the 7th or 8th inning. I don’t recall seeing that this year, but admittedly I’ve been substantially more disinterested given how poorly the rest of the team has played.



    No one except their families should give a damm what the coaches want. Playing small schools only behooves the coaches as it pads their W/L record which is the single most important factor in which they are judged by – good/bad/ugly/young/old/retired – are all are judged by wins. Think Herb would have ever been hired by ASU if it were not for all the cupcakes he ate??? He’s an extreme example of how to game the system. Kudos to the smarty pants from Carnegie Mellon.

    Conference chairs should force their schools to play as many BCS games as possible. Create an oligopoly.

    1- Creating an oligopoly would help funnel recruits to BCS. There are hundreds of “borderline” recruits every year that go to the EZU’s of the world so they can get guaranteed playing time. Every year you have Chris Johnson types that would more likely accept the “risk” of riding than pine if we can reverse parity.

    2- Most fans would much prefer to watch a loss against a BCS school rather than a win against Richmond Spiders. Plus you wouldn’t have to PAY small schools to play you. More game-day revenue. Cha-ching.

    3- More likely to funnel coaches into BCS (e.g., Chris Peterson) too since the money and prestige would decline from non-BCS.

    4- Crap programs like ours would actually have a chance to play UGAs of the world if they were forced to play more BCS games. Good programs view us as we view ECU. No glory when you beat them, but lots of pain when you lose. Our best chance to play home/aways with good programs.

    Conclusion: Cutting out the non-BCS schools completely would be optimal but realistic constraints require they start slow and work toward that goal.

    Conclusion 2: These guys are morons with little strategic vision and practically no job accountability or incentives that align with optimizing college football.



    Plus you wouldn’t have to PAY small schools to play you. More game-day revenue. Cha-ching.

    I don’t think so. If you drop the small schools who play for pay, then you end up scheduling more home/home series with NO REVENUE on away games. A home/home against Ohio State will net less money than two home games against Ohio University.

    There are plenty of reasons to want a better OOC scheduling. Increased revenue isn’t one of them.

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