Suggestions for overhauling ACC football’s divisions and conference schedule sprouted anew last week when the league announced a rotation of crossover opponents for the 2014-24 seasons. I chimed in, and readers offered several creative alternatives.
This week, cyberspace has heard from two other precincts: Andy Bitter, the tireless Virginia Tech beat reporter for the Roanoke Times and Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, and TheKeyPlay, the often-amusing, always-twisted Hokies fanatic and blogger.
TKP proposes keeping the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions intact, which ACC officials seem intent on, but ditching the crossover rotation in favor of priority partners based on recent league performance (details here). The better teams would play one another, creating more attractive matchups for spectators and television viewers.
The idea has merit and is similar to one offered via email by reader Louis Smith of Columbia, S.C. He believes the ACC should alter divisions every two years based on results, not unlike English soccer’s Premier and Champions leagues.
Smith’s model, detailed below, guarantees all teams meet at least once every four years, correcting a serious shortcoming in the ACC’s system. TKP’s leaves open the chance of contrasting programs such as Florida State and Duke never playing – not that anyone is clamoring for that matchup.
Bitter’s model (link here) is perhaps the most radical, eliminating divisions and matching the first- and second-place teams in the ACC championship game. As he notes, this would require changing NCAA rules that mandate divisions in order for a conference to stage a title contest.
Absent divisions, Bitter proposes that each team have three partners it plays annually. You then would play five other conference rivals one season, the other five the next, creating matchups among every league team once every two years, about three times as often as the ACC system.
Like Bitter, I don’t believe his idea, or any other for that matter, has a ghost’s chance of becoming reality. But my only quibble with his was the permanent partners.
Here are Andy’s:
* Florida State -- Clemson, Miami, N.C. State
* Georgia Tech -- Clemson, Miami, N.C. State
* Louisville -- Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia Tech
* Miami -- Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech
* North Carolina -- Duke, N.C. State, Virginia
* N.C. State -- Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina
* Pittsburgh -- Boston College, Louisville, Syracuse
* Syracuse -- Boston College, Louisville, Pittsburgh