Source: ACC undecided on league scheduling requirements

ByBrett McMurphy ESPN logo
Friday, August 12, 2016

The ACC's athletic directors did not reach a decision Friday concerning the league''s future conference scheduling requirements, a source told ESPN.

The ADs held a conference call Friday morning to discuss whether to remain at eight conference games but play two non-ACC Power 5 teams or go to nine league games with one non-ACC Power 5 school.

ACC teams currently play eight league games. Notre Damealso is required to play an average of five ACC teams annually.

A new scheduling format is required by 2019 because of the start of the ACC Network. ESPN's new deal with the ACC requires the ACC to either expand the league schedule to nine games and play at least one non-conference Power 5 opponent or remain at eight ACC games and play at least two non-conference Power 5 opponents.

Nine conference games specifically impacts Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Techand Louisvillethe most. The four ACC schools have annual rivalries against SEC opponents (Clemson-South Carolina, FSU-Florida, Georgia Tech-Georgia and Louisville-Kentucky), meaning the season they had Notre Dame on their schedule, 11 of their 12 games would already be determined. They would only have flexibility to add one non-league game.

The Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten, starting this year, all have nine conference games. The SEC has eight league games.

Last month, ESPN spoke to the ACC's coaches and only Miami'sMark Richt favored a nine-game league schedule, while Syracusecoach Dino Babers said he preferred eight, but wasn't against nine games.

Because of their SEC rivalry games, Clemson's Dabo Swinney, Florida State's Jimbo Fisher and Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson predictably were the most vocal against nine conference games.

"I like the (non-conference) flexibility to go play Georgia, Texasand Notre Dame," Swinney said. "That's one of the ways we built our program. With nine conference games, there's not enough flexibility."

Johnson said nine conference games "might be good for TV, but it's not good for football."

Richt, the former Georgia coach who is in his first year at Miami, was blunt on his preference.

"If I'm at Georgia, I'd want eight conference games," Richt said. "If I'm at Florida State, I'd want eight. At Miami, I want nine league games."