Why the SEC got it right, and the ACC shouldn’t move to nine games

It was just announced that the SEC has decided to continue with their eight-game schedule, though they will mandate that teams schedule at least one opponent from the ACC, B1G, Big 12, or Pac-12. This is perfect as it grants SEC teams flexibility while simultaneously bolstering their strength of schedule, which will be a factor in determining the new College Football Playoff.

Meanwhile, the ACC is still deliberating. They previously announced they would move to a nine-game schedule, which forced teams to cancel previously scheduled games–In the case of Clemson, they cancelled a game with Kent State. After that announcement, Notre Dame joined the fold and will play five ACC teams per year and each team every three years. With that new wrinkle, the ACC went back to the original eight game format as most agreed that nine games plus Notre Dame every third year left too little flexibility.

Well, now it’s back. The ACC is again talking about moving to the nine-game schedule that was previously nixed. One of the more professionally run SB Nation sites, Blogger So Dear (Wake Forest), has a beautifully written article on why the ACC should move to nine games. The only problem is it’s completely wrong.

Their key point is that Wake Forest will go six years without playing North Carolina. There are countless other examples of long gaps between playing conference opponents and it’s because of this that the article calls the ACC a “conglomerate conference,” and suggests that playing nine games would make it a “true conference.”

While the frustration with not seeing UNC or Miami on a semi-regular basis is understandable, it’s not worth handing over essentially the entire football schedule to the powers that be in Greensboro. It may also be solved more effectively by eliminating divisions as the conference has already officially supported.


Consider this. Major college football programs play seven-home games per year. Clemson already has South Carolina on the schedule annually. Additionally, they host an in-state FCS program, which has important benefits for the state. That leaves just two non-conference games. Every third year one of those games will be Notre Dame. That slot in recent years has been given to Georgia, Auburn, TCU, or Alabama and is played on the road in years which Clemson hosts South Carolina and at home when they travel to Columbia. The final slot is their “seventh home game” and generally features a team like Georgia State or Central Michigan.

Those who support the move to nine-games falsely claim that it’ll create more relevant games by replacing those Georgia State type games with teams like Virginia Tech, but that’s simply not the case. Even in the most simplistic situation, setting the Notre Dame complication aside momentarily, you have the following:

5 ACC road games
4 ACC home games
South Carolina
2 Remaining home games

To reach your total of seven home games, you’ll need to schedule the two remaining games at home to reach seven. The option for a home-and-home is not available because the following season, Clemson will replace the fifth ACC road game with a trip to SC-Columbia and will still need to fill those slots with home games.

The programs that generate the bulk of the TV revenue for the ACC–Clemson and FSU–will travel to Athens and Dallas to face major BCS conference teams to open 2014. Those are the games that captivate fans, not Clemson v. Duke and certainly not Wake Forest v. North Carolina. There is a reason the two most important programs in the conference strongly oppose the move to nine games. We finally broke the Tobacco Road grip and got the ACC basketball tournament to rotate to great venues such as the Barclays Center and Time Warner Cable Arena. Let’s not fall back in step and eliminate some of the most intriguing non-conference games just to make sure we can play Duke and Pittsburgh more regularly.

There is a fantastic article on TheClemsonInsider warning against the move to nine games which you can read here. I’ve also expanded on this post by adding information about an alternative scheduling format which you can read on Clemson247. Although I disagree, I do suggest you jump over to Blogger So Dear and check out the counter argument. Be sure to comment there as well as in the comment section here. Thanks for reading!


6 thoughts on “Why the SEC got it right, and the ACC shouldn’t move to nine games

  1. I don’t think I’ll be too upset either way. For instance in this year, if the extra conference game replaces either SC St or GA St, I’m all for it. If it replaces the Georgia game instead, however, I’m completely against it. One thing is for sure though and that is that it would make scheduling big time home & home series with the likes of UGA very difficult.

    • Clemson would either have 6 home games in the year when their home and home is not in DV or they couldn’t schedule teams like UGA because they couldn’t go to Athens and 5 ACC road games or Athens and 4 ACC road games plus SC.

      Sent from my iPhone


      • I guess you’re right. We wouldn’t be able to do really any home & homes and still get 7 home games every year. The best we could do is probably play a big time opponent in Atlanta like we did with Bama and Auburn but even that is very far from ideal.

  2. The problem with this is why do programs need a 7th home game in the first place? The 7th home game has been around barely a decade, and athletic departments around the nation survived off of 6 home games a year for probably close to 30 years (I haven’t looked up how long the 11 game schedule was in place).

    As well, when the 12th game was added, it was so that teams could schedule better match ups for TV. They didn’t. Most schools got one more FCS program, others brought in Utah State, Central Michigan, Louisiana Tech, Ball State, Kent State or others (These are all programs Clemson has played instead of attempting to schedule UGA, Tenn, WVU, etc). The charade of needing an extra game to boast financials is ridiculous, and has gone on long enough.

    • Fair point, but I do not believe the athletic department would just move forward with 6 home games every other year. As a season ticket holder, I wouldn’t want that anyway.

      Thanks for commenting! I really appreciate it!

      Sent from my iPhone


    • I agree with you here, but I think the issue is that since the schedule expanded and 7 home games became the norm, AD budgets have become dependent on that extra home game. Of course I have absolutely no data to support this, but it makes sense in theory at least.

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