Back in August the ACC punted on the whole issue of football schedule requirements. With the agreement with ESPN for the ACC Network, content had to be improved/increased.
The ACC had two proposals for annual scheduling. The 9+1 solution: 9 conference games and 1 game against a Power 5 conference program. Or the 8+2 solution: 8 conference games and 2 games against a Power 5 conference program.
Neither one had a strong majority. Schools like FSU, Clemson, GT and Louisville all favored the 8+2 plan because they have annual non-con, in-state rivalry games with SEC opponents. Making it much easier to add just one extra non-con game against a P5 team.
Other schools like Virginia, UNC, NC St., Wake Forest all were adamant about wanting to go to 9+1
Duke also seems to favor 8+2 which I simply do not understand why.
David Teel is the reporter most plugged into the ACC conference and machinations. When he writes something it is almost always the closest to the truth you will find. He writes today that the vote could happen this week — or punted one more time.
Big 12 presidents are mired in a perpetual expansion debate, and some ACC athletic directors would like to delay their scheduling vote until the Big 12 resolves its future, perhaps later this month. The theory there is that a larger Big 12 would grow the pool of potential Power Five opponents.
But waiting on America’s most dysfunctional conference, the Big 12, is no way for the ACC to conduct business. Besides, two more Big 12 teams wouldn’t make ACC non-league scheduling that much easier.
Given that the Big 12 now appears to be stuck in neutral once more on expansion, a delay would do little good.
The ACC does have to make a decision this year, as ESPN wants this set if there is going to be an ACC Network. Teel writes that the ACC looks like it could go 9+1, but one thing could change the voting dynamic.
If ESPN expanded the Power Five pool to include the American Athletic Conference, 8+2 would become far more palatable and likely prevail. If not, momentum is building for 9+1.
Not sure ESPN would go for that at this point unless it also pushed out the start of the ACC Network later than 2019. Something no one in the ACC should or would want.
As for how the voting is looking at this point, per Teel:
Solidly for 8+2: FSU, Clemson, GT, Louisville and Duke
Solidly for 9+1: UNC, NC St., WF, Virginia, Boston College and Miami
BC now in the solidly 9+1 camp is not surprising, but it is a little surprising to see Miami supporting that as well. Just as it is with Duke.
I asked Teel why, and the answer is simply the AD at Duke supporting what the football coach, David Cutliffe wants. I understand to a degree, but Duke has not had a good non-con schedule history. It seems to be inviting a lot of headaches down the road for Duke if the 8+2 model prevailed.
That leaves 3 votes still up in the air. Per Teel, VT which had supported 8+2 before seems to now be leaning 9+1. The same is true for Pitt.
That leaves Virginia Tech’s Babcock, Pitt’s Scott Barnes and Syracuse’s John Wildhack, the latter two new to the conference since the 2014 vote. None has publicly revealed a preference, but Babcock and Barnes seem to be leaning toward 9+1, and if that’s where they land, change for the better is coming to ACC football.
I would speculate that Syracuse also favors 9+1. Especially with a new AD who had formerly been a high-ranking ESPN executive. Hopefully the numbers are correct, and the ACC pushes this forward this week.