When Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the ACC in 2013, the conference will officially adopt a nine-game conference schedule in football. Teams will play six games within the division, one permanent cross-divisional opponent yearly and the rest twice over a six year period. The conference's Athletic Directors agreed to the move to a nine-game schedule as part of the ACC's recent round of realignment; likely due to the impact added football inventory had in negotiations with ESPN on a revised TV deal.
If the ACC's football coaches had their way, however, the ACC would stay at an eight-game conference schedule.
"Most coaches throughout the league like things the way they are -- particularly those who already have a built-in SEC rival. The athletic directors have already decided, though, to move to a nine-game league schedule once Pitt and Syracuse join the league in 2013. "We're headed in that direction unless the athletic directors felt they'd want to revisit that and change it," Swofford said. "They discussed that as recently as May at our spring meeting, and the supermajority continue to prefer going forward with a nine-game schedule."
The additional conference game does add to the league's TV inventory and ease the financial burden of finding another guarantee game opponent. The flip side, of course, is that this creates an unbalanced yearly schedule with five conference road games in one year (for the Atlantic Division, that appears to be even years) and gives programs less scheduling flexibility.
As a suggestion, the ACC could stay at eight-games and strike a scheduling deal with the Big Ten, which is weighing its own scheduling options. Such a deal would be similar to the Big Ten-Pac-12 scheduling deal that recently fell apart. Both conferences would stay at an eight-game conference schedule and play a yearly opponent from the other conference on a rotating basis, a la basketball's ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
One of the hurdles to a deal like this would be numbers, obviously, with the ACC soon having two more programs than the Big Ten's 12 teams. The two conferences would also have to figure out how the TV split works between ESPN (owns all ACC media rights and most of the Big Ten's) and Fox Sports / BTN.
Should the conference revisit the nine-game scheduling agreement, and should BC prefer an eight- or nine-game conference schedule?
With an ACC/Big Ten scheduling agreement, would you prefer to see BC trade a game against Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, Pittsburgh, North Carolina or Virginia for a yearly game against a Big Ten opponent, even if said opponent were, say, Indiana or Purdue? Before answering, ask yourself what the football equivalent of BC-Penn State and Nebraska-Wake Forest would be, and then chime in.