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ACC Football Championship Game On Campus?


Streeter Lecka

The ACC Football Championship Game will be played for the fourth consecutive year at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium in 2013. After this season, the game will be seeking a new home. The conference could keep the game in Charlotte, seek another neutral-site venue or ...


While this development will be sure to delight fan bases in Clemson and Tallahassee, the idea isn't without its flaws. The biggest unresolved issue surrounding a football championship game on campus is determining who gets to host the thing.

Out west in the Pac-12, the team with the best overall conference record is selected to host the Championship Game. Given the unbalanced division schedule, that isn't a 100% equitable solution, but it comes closer than what the ACC could establish with two more conference members and one less conference game.

If the ACC used a similar "best conference record" criteria to determine the Championship Game host, there would almost certainly be controversy more years than not. Consider the case where the two division winners don't meet in the regular season and play only four common opponents, likely a common occurrence given the league's 6-1-1 scheduling format. How can one division title winner's record be compared against the others' when 1/2 of league games were played against completely different teams and where the other half were potentially played in different venues.

The other nightmare scenario occurs when one division champ beats the other division champ during the regular season, but finishes a game back in the conference standings due to the fact that the two schools played a majority of league games against completely different opponents.

This idea sounds great in theory until you set about the task of determining who hosts the thing with precious few annual inter-conference matchups.

For what it's worth, here's which schools would have hosted the Championship Game in the years post-expansion:

Host: Virginia Tech (7-1)
Champ: Florida State (5-3)

Host: Georgia Tech (7-1)
Champ: Wake Forest (6-2)

Host: Virginia Tech (7-1)
Champ: Virginia Tech (7-1)

Host: Boston College (5-3)* wins head-to-head tiebreaker
Champ: Virginia Tech (5-3)

Host: Georgia Tech (7-1)

Host: Virginia Tech (8-0)
Champ: Virginia Tech (8-0)

Host: Virginia Tech (7-1)
Champ: Clemson (6-2)

Host: Florida State (7-1)
Champ: Florida State (7-1)

In half of the eight ACC Championship Games played to date, the host team wasn't the team that came away with the title. In the PAC-12, the host school is 2-for-2 for PAC-12 titles with the PAC-12 North's Oregon Ducks (2011) and Stanford Cardinal (2012) winning the first two Championship Games. The Coastal Division champ would have also hosted six of the first eight title games. The Duke effect.

This is an interesting idea if you can determine a way to reward the conference's top team with title game hosting rights, which seems like an impossible task given the extremely unbalanced conference schedule. The second that the "best conference record" hosting criteria costs a Clemson or a Florida State a chance at hosting or even worse, a title, or Boston College, Syracuse or Wake Forest hosts a title game, you'll only here more bellyaching from either of these fan bases.

Oh. Guess we don't have to worry about BC, Syracuse or Wake hosting. Nevermind then. Carry on.