ACC Considers Permanent Late-Season Rivals For All Teams

Jeff Zelevansky

Boston College-Syracuse to end the season?

According to CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler, the ACC is considering creating permanent rivalry games for all of its football teams on the last weekend of the regular season starting in 2014. What a cool idea. It's amazing that no one has ever thought of this before.

Six programs currently have long-standing rivalry games played on the final weekend of the regular season -- Clemson-South Carolina, Florida State-Florida, Georgia Tech-Georgia and Wake Forest-Vanderbilt in non-conference ACC vs. SEC matchups and Virginia-Virginia Tech within the conference.

This would leave eight programs looking for a permanent, season-ending rivalry game. North Carolina-N.C. State is considered a possible matchup, but should be dismissed based on the possibility of cross-division rivals facing one another in back-to-back weeks in the ACC Championship.

The (Syracuse) Post-Standard's Chris Carlson picked up on Fowler's story, wondering which potential rival makes the most sense for the Orange.

"Miami, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Louisville (joining in 2014) all have some logical potential as pairings for the Orange, though none would consider SU to be its biggest rival of all, one of the traditional traits of a rivalry week game.

The two most logical rivals, Boston College and Pittsburgh, have other opponents they'd probably rather play, but their respective series with Notre Dame and West Virginia are currently on break due to conference re-alignment."

This isn't hard. BC-Syracuse to end the year. Search your feelings, syracuse.com readers, you know it to be true.

BC isn't going to face Notre Dame yearly with the new ACC scheduling rotation and the Irish typically end the year against either USC or Stanford. The Eagles do, however, meet Syracuse to finish the regular season this year, making the Orange the most likely year-ending pairing for Boston College.

While the Wake-Vanderbilt series only lasts through 2015, Fowler reports that Vanderbilt associate athletics director Kevin Colon is open to renewing the series. With Wake spoken for, that leaves just six programs -- Duke, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State and Pittsburgh. Miami and Pittsburgh are scheduled to play on the final weekend of 2013 and as intra-division opponents, make sense to be paired together going forward. Same for Duke and Carolina.

By process of elimination, that leaves the Atlantic Division's Louisville and N.C. State, which, while the two programs have just met four times previously, is a matchup that might just work. The two schools are relatively close geographically -- as close as one can get to Louisville anyhow -- and depending on the year, the result could factor into the Atlantic Division title race with Clemson and FSU having wrapped up the ACC schedule 1-2 weeks previously.

Louisville does maintain an in-state SEC rivalry with Kentucky, but the Wildcats prefer to end the regular season with SEC East and border rival Tennessee to the Cards. As a result, the Governor's Cup meeting has been played in August or early September every year since the rivalry was renewed in 1994.

Non-Conference
Clemson vs. South Carolina
Florida State vs. Florida
Georgia Tech vs. Georgia
Wake Forest vs. Vanderbilt

ACC Atlantic
Boston College vs. Syracuse
Louisville vs. N.C. State

ACC Coastal
Miami vs. Pittsburgh
North Carolina vs. Duke
Virginia vs. Virginia Tech

Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

The above is predicated on Wake renewing with Vanderbilt and on the current divisional alignment holding going forward. Should Wake-Vandy fall through, likely one of BC, Syracuse, Louisville, N.C. State or Wake Forest would have to find a non-conference season-ending rivalry game to make the math work. No easy task.

If the league is going to realign the divisions, it should do so with these rivalries in mind. Want North Carolina-N.C. State as an annual rivalry game to end the season? Put the Heels and Wolfpack in the same division.

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