ACC, Big Ten considering non-conference football cames vs. own conference

By Kevin Kelley -

According to ESPN, the ACC and Big Ten are each considering the idea of playing non-conference games against their own conference.

Yes, you read that right. Not games featuring ACC vs. Big Ten, but ACC vs. ACC and Big Ten vs. Big Ten. And the games wouldn’t count in conference standings.

Yesterday, Penn State athletic director David Joyner told ESPN that they have had discussions about playing Big Ten opponents in non-conference games.

“That’s a unique concept we could talk about more,” Joyner said. “That’s a possibility.”

That was followed up by a report this morning from ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. ACC athletics directors and coaches have been discussing the very same thing for their own conference.

“Everything’s on the table,” Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross told ESPN.

“I think all the coaches felt like playing each other more, if there was a model for that, we’d be open to it,” NC State coach Dave Doerin said. “They are going to allow us to use that plus-one game in the conference as a nonconference game so that will be interesting to see where it goes. When we don’t have to play Notre Dame, playing Duke or Virginia or somebody from the Coastal that we don’t play will be a discussion we want to have.”

With the number of conference members in the ACC and Big Ten ballooning to 14, teams in opposite divisions don’t play each other very often. It’s worse in the ACC because of the eight-game schedule. Teams in opposite divisions may play each other only one time in 11 years due to the permanent crossover rivalries.

The bylaws of the ACC do not prevent non-conference football games vs. conference members, according to the report. It would be up to the schools to agree to the games. In fact, ACC baseball schools already play non-conference games against teams from their own conference.

Will this happen? It’s not likely, but you never know. If it does, Kevin McGuire of College Football Talk brings up an interesting question.

Would a non-conference match-up between ACC members count toward fulfilling that non-conference requirement? Should it?

Brett McMurphy later tweeted that the games would count towards fulfilling the non-conference game against a power-five team, a requirement for the ACC that begins in 2017.

Although playing an additional conference game would satisfy some people, it just doesn’t seem right under this scenario. If the ACC (and SEC) don’t want to play nine-game conference schedules due to the imbalance, maybe ten-game schedules should enter the discussion.

Comments (26)

Interesting! I see how the discussion came up. I think it should be allow, but not sure if that really helps, due to the fact that winning an OOC conference games would only show a team is stronger conference-wise, not nationally. Mainly saying, that team would be showing that they might be better for a higher post-season bowl or playoff spot, than another team in the conference, BUT probably less qualified for that post-season spot than teams who won more games against F-BCS (G5) teams, out-of-own-conference.

Also, speaking of other sports, I think NCAA should have 2 pre-bowl games for high ranked teams, whom are not participating in a conference champion game, due to being an independent school or part of a small conference (less than 12 teams). The 2 pre-bowl games can really help in determinig if the participating schools should go to the playoffs, over a conference champion that defeated a playoff contender.

Other sports get to invite teams to random tournaments (usually a local tournament or tournament of champions (or contenders)) and we see how that helps towards the decisions of the post-season setup. I think football should follow suit.

Also about the 2 pre-bowl games (that I mentioned earlier), one game would be in the West and one on the East. Both games are held during the week of the Army-Navy game, due to the Big 12 and AAC have season games scheduled during conference champion week.

Plus, high rank teams that didn’t make it to their own conference champion game (CCG), should be eligible for an invite to a pre-bowl game. Chances are that team would play a stronger team, and if the team wins, that increases their chance into the playoffs, especially if their divisional winner, loses in the CCG against a weaker team.

I think the ACC can solve this problem by changing the divisions. Make one division basically the former Big East and the other the old ACC.

East: Pitt Syracuse Boston College Louisville Va Tech Virginia Miami

Atlantic: Duke UNC NC State Wake Forest Clemson GA Tech Florida State

In this suggestion Virginia gets thrown into the “Big East” division but this solves the problem of NC State and Duke not playing each other anymore.

They would need two crossovers, UNC-UVa and FSU-Miami, but otherwise I’d love to see it. I don’t think Clemson and FSU want it though.

My preference: No divisions. Everyone plays three teams annually, five conference teams for two years, and then the other five teams for the following two years. Result: Each team plays all other 13 ACC teams at least twice in four years without having to expand the conference schedule to 9 games.

Example: FSU would play Miami, Georgia Tech, and Clemson every year. For two years, they would also play Boston College, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, NC State, and Wake Forest. The following two years they would play Syracuse, Louisville, Virginia, UNC, and Duke.

The CCG would be between the top two teams in the conference standings. Would schedules be imbalanced? Yes, but they’re imbalanced in the current format, too. It’s not really fair that Louisville will have UVA as its Coastal Division rival while Clemson and FSU have GT and Miami, respectively.

Virginia would lose their minds if they were forced into that position. They don’t want to get stuck playing almost all ex-Big East schools when their history with Clemson, the NC schools, GT, and even FSU extends decades further back.

By that same token, the ex-Big East schools want to play their fair share of “core” ACC schools, not just each other. They left the Big East for the opportunity to play those ACC schools.

Michael, most people who seem to love that no divisions format don’t realize the controversy that comes with it. 3 way tie’s between teams that never played one another. Yes, it can happen and more often than you’d think. I NEVER want a format where we can have another BCS type controversy. Who gets left out of this game? Well the teams will have tiebreakers right? How do we know if Team A beating Team D and losing to Team E is better than Team C losing to Team H. Tiebreakers will be just as controversial due to the fact that teams won’t play similar opponents. Show me a good tiebreaker for this problem that would work perfect? I doubt you can because it doesn’t exist.

Divisions are easier and cleaner. You either win it or you don’t. Tiebreaker? Well you play everybody you could tie with. You have the same common opponents from the division too.

No divisions with 14 teams is a mess. 10 teams or so, it is easy, but there’s a reason once you get to 12, you must have divisions. I hope the NCAA realizes how stupid the idea is and makes conferences keep divisions. Divisions keep order and organization.

Weird tiebreaker controversies can happen WITH the divisional format. Case in point: the 2008 Big 12 South. Texas beat Oklahoma, Texas Tech beat Texas, and Oklahoma beat Texas Tech. All three finished the season 11-1. Only one could represent the division in the Big 12 title game. Those tiebreaker problems will persist going forward, with or without a divisional format.

As for the NCAA, how is it their business the way that a conference chooses to crown its champion? If the ACC wanted to crown the school with the prettiest girls as champions, regardless of the football team’s record, and all the league members approved of it, how is that the NCAA’s business? The NCAA allows basketball conferences to give their automatic bid to the tournament with either a conference tournament (31 conferences) or with the regular season (1-the Ivy League), so leagues are free in that sport to name their champion however they see fit. They can choose to include all teams in the league tournament or to leave some out, as the Big East did between 2005 and 2009. They can choose their own format for the tournament and choose how to do their own tiebreakers for themselves, not with some NCAA-mandated regulation. For football, conferences can choose to have a conference championship game, or not to have one; nothing says the leagues with 12+ schools are required to have one. Why, then, should the NCAA have the right to require divisions for leagues that want a CCG?

Yes Michael, I clarified that during my original post. Ties can occur in divisional play but are WAY EASIER TO SORT OUT WHEN THE THREE TEAMS AT LEAST PLAYED ONE ANOTHER. Again, you also have multiple common opponents. Too many teams (14) and too few of games (8) to not have some sort of structure. Teams do rotate and see more opponents on a regular basis, that is about the only thing I see in this plan that is good.

Again, with no divisions, you have the possibility of an even bigger controversy. I am not going to sit here and re-post my original post. If you are one in support of no divisions, I respect your opinion. At least listen to what I have said. I have found out when actually seeing these schedules put onto paper (through spreadsheets) that there can be more controversy and errors than you think. Just because you think it sounds good behind your computer desk doesn’t mean it actually will play out that way.

I see all of your NCAA stuff and that’s all fine and dandy. Basically you are saying it is okay to make a rule that can cause a bigger mess or more of a beauty contest. Well as a football fan, I DO NOT want to see that happen. I completely disagree.

I like it, but I would tweak it to put FSU (The other expansion team) in the with the Big East refugees and move UVa back with the longstanding ACC members

14 teams in a conference is the trickiest number to have. There are a lots of solutions on how to strategize scheduling. But each one is definitely debatable. 8 conference games or 9 conference games. Divisional alignment or no divisions. Tie break scenarios etc.

There are no solutions that will make every school coach player or fan happy. My suggested divisions are not perfect but I like them better than the current format. Truth is that crazy tie break scenarios can happen even if you play everybody. The 3 way Tie in the Big 12 that Michael in Raliegh spoke of came down to the arbitrary highest ranked BCS standings team (if I remember correctly)

But I would to agree upon the No Division format play 3 rotate 5 and take the top 2 eligible teams each year. One problem I have had with CCG is that 2012 in the B1G Wisconsin had a 4-4 record in conference play and finished 3rd in their division yet because of the ineligibility of Ohio St. and Penn St. they played in the CCG and oh yeah they beat Nebraska. This should have never ever been allowed to happen. The Pac 12 had a similarly embarrassing CCG when a 6-6 UCLA team went in place of ineligible USC. UCLA lost the game to Stanford got a bowl waiver and lost the bowl and finished 6-8 how is that for a title game participant.

This year we will watch the 1st CFB Playoff I expect that their will be a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding the arbitrary nature of their selection of the 4 participating schools.

What will eventually happen is these conferences will get up to 16, with 2 divisions, and the conference schedules will go back to 8 games, with each team playing the 7 in their division and maybe one permanent crossover. It will essentially be 2 mini-conferences in 1 massive conference, and the CCG at the end of the season will be a true championship game.

I could see these conferences swelling up to 16:

Big Ten
Big XII (they’ll grab the rest of the Texas schools and random guys like Tulane just for TV)

As for right now, I d

dear lord.. 16 teams and you only play the teams in your division.. lol Thats not a conference at all. Fortunately it will never happen.

“Tulane for TV”

Yeah, not sure there’s enough “quality” programs to go around for there to be five 16-team conferences, but I got bored at work yesterday and pondered possible Big 12 expansion candidates (not Tulane)…

Big 12 adds UCF and UConn…

American adds BYU (football-only) and UMass…

UConn is based in the same state as ESPN and already plays in a (basketball) conference with Houston, SMU, and Tulsa, as well as Memphis and Tulane…might as well take that Big 5 money if it’s there since BC already blocked you from the ACC on two separate occasions…

If non-conference games against fellow conference members is the route they want to take, that’s fine. Again, I think a better solution would be a division-less conference that allows regular games against everybody, but I understand schools like NC State wanting to play Duke more often (keeping with old-school tradition) if that’s not happens. For that matter, I understand why, say, Minnesota would want to play Michigan in non-conference because of their long history (with a Trophy game to boot) that has been broken up by divisions. I would hope, though, that schools exhaust all efforts in trying to play someone from another power conference before resorting to playing a non-conference game against someone from the same league.

I am a little confused as to why schools should have such a hard time playing at least one, if not two or three, teams from a separate Power Five conference. FSU is playing UF as they do every year, plus Notre Dame, plus Oklahoma State. Clemson is playing both South Carolina and Georgia. Why NC State is playing an FCS school (Presbyterian), two schools new to the FBS as of the past two years (Old Dominion and Ga. Southern), and one road game at USF of the American, is beyond me. They couldn’t get a Purdue or Mississippi State or Kansas or Oregon State? These ACC schools can do a lot better in their non-conference scheduling than that.

Every Conference with more then 10 teams like the SEC, ACC, Big 10, American Athletic, CUSA, MAC, SUN Belt (may invite 2 more FSC schools to reach 12), and PAC 12 should all play 10 Conference games which should be the requirement, and one rival game such as Georgia-Georgia Tech ect…, then one game against anybody = 12 games? Eliminate the FCS, allow FCS Schools to either move up to Division 1 FBS, or drop down to D2 or D3?

This is ridiculous. You are making schools like Georgetown, Villanova, Richmond, Harvard and Indiana State to decide between moving up to a level of football they are not qualified to compete in or to have them move their basketball programs to D2??? What schools are helped by this sort of proposal?

You might; but their in-state rivalries certainly won’t.

What about these future ACC divisions:

“Inner”–Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
“Outer”–Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse

Clemson-Georgia Tech could possibly be a permanent cross-over (ala Indiana-Purdue in the B1G)…

Basically it’s the old “core” ACC (and Virginia Tech) contrasted with the “expansion” teams (Georgia Tech joined in 1978, but didn’t play a full football schedule for almost a decade afterwards)…

Also, if both Louisville and West Virginia stayed in the BIG EAST (as opposed to either one joining the Big XII), does WVU get in to the ACC over Louisville?

So no more FSU vs Clemson? Miami vs VT? and no one wants Pitt, BC, Cuse in one division mixed with southern schools like GT FSU.. ug, nope.

Well, it offered a means of keeping Tobacco Road and/or the Research Triangle in one division and hopefully provided a more logical consistency than the “zipper” they have now. A model predicated on an annual Florida State-Miami rematch does not appear to have turned out as planned.

Florida State is already in a division with BC and Syracuse even though those are the two schools that MIAMI wanted in the original expansion.

Does Louisville need to play Virginia every year while Boston College plays Virginia Tech?

It’s obvious that the ACC brass want to stage a Clemson-Florida State conference championship game as it stands now and that’s why they are lobbying (with the Big 12) for a change…