With the ACC renegotiating its current TV media rights deal with ESPN after adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the conference, most expected the league to move to an 18-game conference schedule in hoops. Greensboro made it official today, but with a catch. Looks like the conference won't wait for Pitt and Syracuse, announcing today that an 18-game conference schedule will begin as soon as next season.
"Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced today that beginning in the 2012-13 season the league will play an 18-game conference schedule in men's and women's basketball.
"Our member institutions have been talking about this increase for awhile and knowing our league will be expanding to 14 in the future, we've decided to move to an 18-game conference schedule next year, regardless of our membership number," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "The additional conference games create a more equitable schedule and we've received significant feedback from our fans for more conference games."
The ACC and the SEC are the last two major conference holdouts for moving to an 18-game league schedule format, as the Big East, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 all currently play 18-games. With the ACC announcing this move and the SEC adding Texas A&M and Missouri to get to 14 for next season, seems like it's only a matter of time before the SEC follows suit.
It's unclear how this will work as the conference waits on Pitt and Syracuse. Without Pitt and Syracuse in for next season, I'd imagine the conference will keep its current scheduling format.
Each season, BC plays two permanent scheduling partners, three rotating partners (home and away), and six teams just once, either home and away. Based on this scheduling model and the current rotation, Boston College's 16-game ACC schedule for 2012-13 looks like this:
Permanent scheduling partners (home and away) -- Miami, Virginia Tech
Rotating partners (home and away) -- Clemson, Duke, Florida State
Rotating partners (home) -- Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia
Rotating partners (away) -- Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Wake Forest
If the conference sticks to this format for next season, this will likely mean BC will get two extra games out of this group of teams for next season: Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Wake Forest.
And if the ACC has to wait another full season before adding the Panthers and the Orange, BC would pick up two extra games against this group in 2013-2014: Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke, Florida State.
Other than Wake Forest, there really isn't a bad program on those lists, which makes this move look really good for BC. Moving to 18 games gives the conference more TV inventory, which will help the ACC as they renegotiate the conference's TV media rights deal with ESPN. For BC, playing two more ACC opponents will (hopefully) give the Eagles a modest boost in attendance as well as to its NCAA Tournament resume numbers.
Now we wait for the other shoe to drop to see if the ACC will push forward plans to move towards a nine-game conference schedule in football. Unlike hoops, feelings seem a little more mixed across the conference for moving towards a nine-game sched for football.