On Tuesday, ACC officials voted to send the NCAA's Board of Directors a piece of legislation that would relax restrictions on how conferences determine its football champion. Faculty representatives advised by the league's athletic directors voted in favor of the legislation at last week's winter meetings. Ninja Swoff believes that the ACC is the first conference to take such a step.
The NCAA currently imposes restrictions on conferences that want to hold a conference championship game. Under the current structure, conferences must have at least 12 programs, an equal number of teams in each division and every team must play each opponent in its own division. Should the ACC's proposal go through, conferences would be free to choose a football conference winner as they see fit.
A decision could come as early as April but any change would not take effect until the 2015 season at the earliest.
The ACC wanting more autonomy to determine a champion in football isn't exactly new news as the league has been talking about this for quite a while now. What remains unclear is, should this legislation pass, how the ACC will adapt the current structure.
The league could take divisions + scheduling + championship game in one of many different directions. But if I had to wager a bet, the ACC would entertain one of the following options.
-- Eliminating divisions altogether and moving to a scheduling model with both permanent and rotating scheduling partners. The top two teams would play in the conference championship game.
-- Keeping the existing division structure and schedule consistent but providing flexibility in determining the two conference championship game participants. Think: In years when the Coastal coughs up a dud of a division winner due to postseason bans, sanctions or what have you (read: 2012), provide greater flexibility for two teams from the same division to meet again in the title game.
-- Keeping the existing division structure but setting the schedule in a way where teams don't necessarily play every opponent in its own division. Title game participants would be the two division winners.
-- Something cool I don't even know about. I don't know ... instead of a ninth regular season game, conference semifinals? Pods? Syracuse's proposed three-team division of Georgia Tech, Miami and Syracuse?
I suppose I'm getting a bit ahead of myself but this legislation, if it passes, does open up a number of intriguing possibilities for the ACC (and everyone else for that matter). It will also be interesting to see how any proposed changes jive with the new College Football Playoff.
From BC's perspective, as long as the Eagles play Syracuse every year and have added flexibility to see teams from the other division more frequently than a once-every-six-years clip, I'm down.