This week, we heard that the SEC is sticking to the 8-game conference schedule (as opposed to the 9 game schedule).
This stokes the fire that has been burning for a long time: what to do about the ACC, it's schedule, and it's "divisions" that seemingly have little to no purpose by now.
By now, all of us are resigned to the fact that the ACC will be our home for the long haul. The ACC may one day prove the place to be (seeing as the population of the ACC states only continues to grow), but for now, there are too many things about the ACC that bother us. One of the most immediate issues is scheduling. And of course, the scheduling is based on the divisional alignment which, according to everyone living outside of North Carolina, is awful. It's plain and simple calculus and yet, the ACC refuses to implement it: realign the divisions geographically. It really is that simple.
If you can't get more TV money, then why don't we save money by realigning the divisions geographically? The ACC is asking a lot of its fans to travel long distances. It's not a reasonable proposition. Keep the games closer to home and people will attend away games.
But of course, that didn't happen and here we are. FSU doesn't have Georgia Tech on its schedule each season (why?).
Why are you going to ask Florida State to travel to places like Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which are over 1,000 miles away, when you could realign the divisions and allow FSU and GT to play on an annual basis. Obviously, there are reasons for this, but realigning the divisions on a geographic basis would save everyone a lot of money. Plus, it is geographic rivalries that make college football great. Tallahassee and Gainesville. Athens and Atlanta. You get it. So, why not Tallahassee and Atlanta?
Based on full membership, I thought the following split would be do-able. Why is realigning a good idea? How does this help every team in the ACC? Travel budgets and game day revenue. FSU is more likely to sell out a game versus Georgia Tech than it would with Wake Forest.
Boston College Eagles
North Carolina Tar Heels
Virginia Tech Hokies
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Duke Blue Devils
Florida State Seminoles
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
NC State Wolf Pack
A few notes. It's hard to split up the North Carolina teams, which may make realigning the divisions fairly difficult. The issue here, however, is Notre Dame and the fact that they aren't a full member.
So what's the solution? Blow up the divisions. Scrap 'em. Use a rotating schedule and then send the best two teams to the conference championship. How could this work? Well, more controversy considering the fact that rotating inevitably creates psuedo-divisions where you, in all likelihood, play the same 3 teams each year, and then a rotation of 5 teams every other few years. The fact is that there are many ways to do it and they all create winners and losers. But given the hesitancy to realign the existing divisions, doing away with them altogether makes the most sense. It gives the ACC a chance to start fresh and, in the end, exploit the success of its two best teams no matter where they are from.
What we know about conference realignment is that it was driven by TV money. What we know about scheduling in football in general is that it is driven by TV money. I won't be surprised to see the ACC move to a 9 game schedule eventually; it makes for better games, which puts more fans in the stands, and more eyes glued to television sets. It won't take long, but the question will remain: how do we do it equitably?
[Editor's Note: as we get more feedback, we will be continuing to revisit this issue over the coming week.]