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
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!