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ACC Considering 8+1 Scheduling Model With SEC?


Kelly Lambert

According to an ESPN report, the ACC is considering a scheduling model that would include eight conference games and one SEC opponent every season. Sources told ESPN that the ACC's 8+1 model was "merely a concept that had been discussed only once and was a long way from being a reality." In fact, a majority of SEC athletic directors haven't even heard of the concept.

Regardless, this is now a possible thing. It's also possibly the worst idea imaginable for Boston College.

Four ACC schools -- Clemson-South Carolina, Florida State-Florida, Georgia Tech-Georgia and Louisville-Kentucky -- already play an in-state SEC rival every year. Presumably the other 10 schools in each league would face one another on a rotating basis in a "8+1 model."

The ACC and SEC will soon be the only power conferences that do not play a nine-game conference schedule, so teaming up to create a hybrid, inter-conference scheduling model makes some sense. Personally, I just can't see a majority of ACC or SEC schools getting behind this idea for it to get off the ground.

For one thing, creating an inter-conference scheduling model instead of adding a ninth conference game takes valuable TV inventory away from both conferences. The SEC is launching the SEC Network and the ACC has long been considering starting up a network of its own. Both are going to want to maximize its TV inventory for those networks and a cross-conference ninth game takes games away from that inventory.

A ninth conference game for each league would add seven games each to the league's TV inventory, or 14 in total. In contrast, this 8+1 model would only create 10 new matchups (holding the current ACC-SEC yearly matchups constant). Assuming an even 5-5 home/road split, that's two less games that each league's TV partners would own the rights to broadcast. While a majority of both league's media rights are held by the same company (ESPN), this still creates less total value for all parties.

From Boston College's perspective, this also takes away some scheduling flexibility by forcing the program to schedule teams that are simply not a good fit. With the exception of Tennessee, BC hasn't faced an SEC school that would be thrown into this rotation more than four times; and has never faced Arkansas, Mississippi State or Missouri in program history. Two schools you would think BC would want to schedule for the requisite recruiting and exposure benefits -- Florida and Georgia -- would be tied up in the permanent rivalry games with Florida State and Georgia Tech, respectively. A third like-school, Vanderbilt, would only come around once a decade.

If the program is going to lose some flexibility with the introduction of a ninth game, you want Boston College to be playing other ACC programs; not SEC (West) schools. It starts to feel like you're not even in the same conference with non-permanent, cross-division opponents when you play a non-conference game against Notre Dame twice as frequently as teams from the other side of the conference.

Short of a ninth conference game, BC should seek more scheduling flexibility to schedule non-conference matchups against more like-programs in either the Big Ten or Pac-12. It would be pretty unfortunate if BC couldn't schedule future home-and-homes with schools like Ohio State, Northwestern, Penn State, Stanford or USC because it was forced to play Arkansas, Mississippi State or Tennessee in an "8+1 model."