ACC Divisional Alignment: Louisville To The Atlantic Division (For Reals)

Andy Lyons

The Louisville Cardinals are headed to the ACC's Atlantic Division, joining Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, N.C. State, Syracuse and Wake Forest.

Remember that unsubstantiated rumor about Louisville joining the ACC's Coastal Division and Georgia Tech moving over to the Atlantic a few weeks back? Yeah no.

Swofford also confirmed that Louisville will play in the Atlantic Division when it begins competition in the 2014 season.

For those new around these parts, that means the conference's divisions will look like this:

Atlantic Division
Boston College Eagles
Clemson Tigers
Florida St. Seminoles
Louisville Cardinals
N.C. State Wolfpack
Syracuse Orange
Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Coastal Division
Duke Blue Devils
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Miami Hurricanes
North Carolina Tar Heels
Pittsburgh Panthers
Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia Tech Hokies

This also means that there will likely be no changes to the league's cross-divisional scheduling partners, leaving Louisville paired with Virginia and Boston College stuck with Virginia Tech. Unless ...

a) What if BC and Louisville swap cross-divisional scheduling partners, pairing BC with Virginia and Louisville with Virginia Tech? The Cards and Hokies have a bit more shared history, having met seven times -- the last in the 2006 Gator Bowl (Louisville lost 35-24). Blacksburg is also the closest neighboring ACC town to Louisville, edging Pittsburgh by a few miles.

Everything I said about the BC-Virginia Tech protected cross-over 10 days ago still applies. It's a forced rivalry. It's become one-sided. I'm sure BC fans have tired of the series and I'm sure Hokies fans have as well. The flip side is that Virginia fans can't be too happy trading in a 77-year-old gridiron rival for one that they've met twice, ever (and not since 1989). Just seems like a win for everyone if BC was paired with UVa and Virginia Tech-Louisville.

b) The other option is to take the Pac-12 approach, using a hybrid permanent cross-over scheduling model. While the Pac-12 placed Cal/UCLA and Stanford/USC in different divisions, the California schools still play every year. Basically, Cal and Stanford in the Pac-12 North won't miss USC or UCLA in the South. The rest of the cross-divisional games rotate.

Ask yourself how many of these cross-divisional games are worth keeping on an annual basis?

Florida State-Miami is a given.
N.C. State-Carolina, yes. Wake Forest-Duke ... I guess?

The rest I could leave, including Syracuse-Pittsburgh, which despite the history, both fan bases seem lukewarm to the idea of any sort of rivalry. Virginia-Maryland would have been worth salvaging, but Virginia-Louisville certainly isn't. I've already covered Boston College-Virginia Tech. Clemson-Georgia Tech? I don't know. Maybe?

The point is if you aren't willing to admit defeat -- seriously, the ACC will soon be the only Division I-A conference in America that has completely nonsensical divisions -- and revisit divisional alignment with the addition of Louisville, why compound the issue with a bunch of forced permanent rivalries? All games other than FSU-Miami and N.C. State-Carolina do is further limit the number of cross-divisional games. It's like we're not in the same conference as Miami, for example. The irony, of course, is that a big part of the Eagles' move to the ACC was sticking with Miami. Now the two programs will play once every six years and once at home every 12.

c) Support the Big 12's legislation giving conferences more freedom to determine whether they can hold a football championship game. Current NCAA rules state a conference must have at least 12 teams to hold a championship game, also stipulating that you have to have divisions and you have to play everyone in your division to each a division title and play in the title game. If the ACC and Big 12 are successful in passing this legislation, conferences would be able to decide how to set up the conference and determine championship game participants.

Then figure it out. Scrap the divisions entirely? Realign the divisions? Go crazy.

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