The Atlantic Coast Conference is back to that modern-day, age-old question/dilemma: should it go to nine conference football games in a season?
In its agreement with the conference to create the ACC Network (and its digital partner, ACC Network Plus), ESPN mandated that the ACC either go to a nine-game conference schedule or play TWO Power 5 schools if it chose to remain at eight. The nine-game formats that are bandied about include:
- Six inter-division games, one permanent crossover, two rotating intra-division
- Six division games, one permanent crossover, one game alternating between 2 “semi-rivals”, one rotating intra-division.
Here is an example of the alternating “semi-rivals” I found on an ACC message board:
As expected, some of the football schools – namely Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Louisville – are not down with a 9-game conference schedule.
I think it’s well beyond time to make the switch to nine conference games.
You can’t call yourself a conference and play certain members twice in 12 years. Dig this: Louisville’s closest geographic rival is Virginia Tech, yet they have YET to play each other, and won’t for another few seasons. Wake Forest and UNC, who are in the same state, had to set up an out of conference “series” because they do not get to play each other often despite the close proximity. Same with Duke and NC State.
And while Clemson and Florida State will stomp their feet and yell “hell no, we won’t go”, expect ACC commissioner/ninja John Swofford to use common sense and go with a nine-game conference schedule sooner rather than later.
More conference games = more inventory, and more inventory will make a conference network more profitable (see the ACC going from 18 to 20 conference games in 2019). And if ESPN wants it, chances are ESPN will get it.
As the saying goes, “money doesn’t just talk, it HOLLERS”…