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Wake Forest, North Carolina Schedule "Non-Conference" Series: Next Evolution of #goacc Scheduling

This is dumb.

David Cannon/Getty Images

This is not a typo.

Wake Forest and North Carolina have agreed to a "non-conference" football series for 2019 and 2021. The two schools, separated by just 80 miles, used to play annually, but four rounds of ACC expansion and the introduction of division play later, and Wake-North Carolina has been relegated to once-every-six-years status. The Demon Deacons and Tar Heels play again this fall, but weren't scheduled to play again in a conference game until 2022.

The "non-conference" conference series has been kicked around for some time now. Cal and Colorado played one another in a "non-conference" conference game back in 2011, when the Buffaloes had trouble finding an opponent to complete their first schedule as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Syracuse and Rutgers briefly discussed the arrangement as a potential solution to alleviate Big East/AAC scheduling difficulties due to all the rounds of conference realignment. N.C. State and Duke have also kicked around the idea more recently.

The Wake Forest-North Carolina agreement is the first such agreement between Power 5 conference programs, and, frankly, poses a lot more questions than answers. Presumably this game will count towards each program's strength of schedule requirement that kicks in in 2017, requiring each school to play at least one team from a Power 5 conference, or Notre Dame, in non-conference play each season (UNC would satisfy Wake's SOS requirement in 2019 and 2021, while Wake would satisfy UNC's in 2019...North Carolina already faces Notre Dame in 2021).

Will other ACC schools follow suit? Will N.C. State and Duke follow with a non-conference series of their own? How about BC and Miami? Florida State and Georgia Tech? Or will programs want to shy away from these sort of arrangements fearing putting the program at a disadvantage with respect to a possible regular season rematch in the conference championship game (though, this seems to apply less in this instance)?

What today's North Carolina-Wake Forest announcement implies is that the conference's current two division, 6+1+1 scheduling model is inherently broken. Whether this leads to overall conference football scheduling reform—in the form of division realignment, the introduction of a ninth conference game or elimination of the permanent crossover—remains to be seen. But it would have been nice for these two schools to take a leadership role in actually fixing the current scheduling model instead of taking their ball, going home and doing whatever is best for their programs.

UNC and Wake clearly aren't the two programs that want to see specific conference foes roll onto the schedule more frequently than once-every-six years. But instead of schools getting together to fix the issue, the conference will end up with a proliferation of these non-conference conference games instead as band-aids to a horribly broken scheduling model.