Talk of moving to a nine-game ACC football schedule continues to pop up. This time, it's Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski, speaking of the influence ESPN and (of course) money will have on any move towards a nine-game conference schedule.
The GTAA projects it will receive $22.2 million from the ACC in the 2015 fiscal year. (That's $5.5 million more than was previously projected. The increase is due in part to the league signing its grant of rights, which was worth about $1.1 million per school from ESPN.) That is largely ESPN cash. That number would increase in the future if plans for an ACC network are realized.
"I don't know that there will be ultimately a lot of decision making to go into that," Bobinski said, referring to the nine-game possibility. "I think it'll be something that we'll need to do to find a way to do as a league, and that's a way to do it."
Of course, this wouldn't be the first time an ACC athletic director mouthed off about ESPN's influence on the conference.
One of the obvious drawbacks to the league's decision to stick with an eight-game conference schedule is how infrequent Boston College sees teams from the other side of the conference. With the league's current 6-1-1 scheduling format, the Eagles will see former Big East foes Pittsburgh and Miami just twice over a 12-year period, for example. A player could play on the Heights for five seasons and never get to face one of those two programs, which, weird. Adding an additional conference game each year helps speed up that frequency.
In my opinion, Boston College should be in favor of a move to a nine-game league schedule. Aside from the obvious benefits of seeing schools like Miami, Pitt, North Carolina and Virginia more frequently, a ninth conference game also eases difficulties scheduling non-conference games and more often than not, improves the Eagles' strength of schedule. BC also stands to benefit from the ninth conference game more than other ACC programs with annual rivalry games against non-conference opponents (e.g. Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville).
A ninth inter-division game also serves to level the playing field a bit, assuming that the ACC sticks with the current 6-1-1 scheduling format. With an eight-game race to the division crown, when one school gets to play Virginia every year and the other Virginia Tech ...
Right now, BC has one too many games in 2015, but no more than two in every year after that, so any move to a nine-game schedule wouldn't impact the program too much. The quality of the non-conference schedule might take a bit of a hit, especially in years when Notre Dame isn't on the sched, but probably something we could all live with if it meant seeing more Coastal Division teams NOT named Virginia Tech more frequently.
HT: Nunes Magician