It’s the autonomy, stupid.

The ACC wants to do something to make the World’s Smallest Outdoor Cocktail Party (h/t Jim Donnan) be all it can be.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said Friday he is in favor of conferences having “the autonomy” to determine how teams qualify for their league championship games, and should the NCAA decide this spring to lighten its restrictions, the ACC would consider a different format.

Under the current structure, the NCAA requires that each conference have an equal number of teams in each division, and every team must play each opponent in its own division. Swofford said the NCAA is likely to re-evaluate those rules this spring.

“A piece of legislation may affect what we ultimately do,” Swofford said. “… If some of those requirements were removed, we may schedule a little differently during the regular season than we do now, but that’s to be determined.”

Swofford said scheduling is always a popular topic at league meetings. And with the recent expansion to 14 teams, conference officials have been looking at how often conference teams play each other outside their divisions.

If the NCAA lifted its title-game requirements, Swofford said the ACC would consider having the top two teams in the league play for the ACC championship, in addition to maintaining divisions, but not requiring teams to play every opponent in their division.

This, of course, begs an obvious question:  if adopted, what’s the point of having divisions, anyway?

I’d ask what the point of having a conference championship game would be under those circumstances, but I think we all know the answer to that one.



Filed under ACC Football, The NCAA

14 responses to “It’s the autonomy, stupid.

  1. Chuck

    Might not be too far from deciding who goes to the title game by letting schools bid for it. Ex: first school says ‘we can sell 20,000 tickets’, second school ups it to 25,000, etc. Top bidders go. This has advantages for the ACC in that it would have a profitable game, and from my standpoint, Tech would never go; it;s win-win, iyam. 😉


  2. Ooooooh, I really, really, really hope this goes down. From an SEC perspective it could allow us to eliminate divisions (as was done with basketball), and implement a kind of pod scheduling, so that long standing rivalries can remain while still rotating in other conference members regularly. That ruling could make a lot of the scheduling headaches for Slive, mainly the permanent cross division rival situation, go away with an easy answer. Then the top 2 SEC teams make the trip to Atlanta, with tiebreakers likely needing to be created for those situations.


    • Bob

      Who were the Top 2 teams in the SEC this year? Auburn and Alabama? Mizzou or Carolina might beg to disagree. This is goofier than hell and if you think we had arguments before about who should get into the BCS game, think what this would stir within the conferences.


      • There will be plenty of unbalanced schedule arguments. But as for the top 2 teams in the SEC, all 4 can make solid cases to be in there. But in this scenario, their schedules change, and likely so does their conference record, so the top 2 teams in the standings would be to be determined (although likely those 4 + LSU are at the top). The big issue would be how do you determine tiebreakers among teams that may well completely lack common opponents. I guess whatever they’re gonna call the new playoff rankings could be the tiebreaker, but the tie breakers would be the hardest part of things.


  3. Dr. Ken

    Is this because of Notre Dame joining the ACC in July?


    • TallyDawg

      If I remember correctly, ND is joining the ACC in all sports except football, but will be required to play 5 ACC teams/season.


      • Dog in Fla

        Swofford receives memo from Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.,, and Archbishop of New York Timothy Cardinal Dolan that the Domers require an automatic berth in the Dr Pepper ®™© ℠ ACC Championship Game each season. They also wanted to know what Dr. Pepper was.


      • Dr. Ken

        I was more referring to the sort of divisional scheduling imbalance those 5 games might cause.


  4. Ben

    I don’t have any idea how the divisions look in the ACC (does Swofford even know who’s who in what division?), but the way I understand this is like this:

    Assume FSU is 12-0 and Miami is 11-1, and everyone else looks like the ACC usually looks. If FSU and Miami are in the same division (and I think they are), the ACC could still pit them against one another in the title game?

    I can understand if we play Bama or the Barn or LSU in the regular season and have to play them again in Atlanta (but the chances of that would lessen since one of us would give the other a loss), but after beating UF in Jax or Carolina in Columbia, having to play them AGAIN in Atlanta just because of what would make the conference more money is simply asinine.

    I’m really starting to hate the direction of the game.


    • AusDawg85

      Take that example on step further. What if you leave FSU alone to qualify for the playoffs, and let Miami and #3 team play for ACC championship? Might get your 2nd team into the playoffs, and not risk your best team getting knocked-out.

      But I’d bet this is all about Notre Dame.


    • Miami and FSU are in different divisions right now. Which is Atlantic and which is coastal I’m not sure. I wanna say FSU has Clemson, and Miami has Duke and Tech in their side. But Miami and FSU were intentionally placed in different divisions to allow for the possibility of them facing each other in an ACC title game.


  5. Cousin Eddie

    What Swofford wants to do is: 1) if his #1 team has a chance of playing in the playoff put them up against a patsy (or the #1 team in the other division if it has no real shot to win) or 2) play the top two teams (if neither has a shot for the playoffs) for a better draw to get the TV contract to pay higher bucks at the next negotiations table.
    Basically have his cake and eat it to.


  6. Bright Idea

    Hell, why not have 4 “pods” that rotate yearly and have 2 semifinals and the championship? That seems to be the trend. The semifinals could be the 3rd Sat. in November and the others could play crossover games that day to fill out their schedules. High schools do it so why not the ACC?


  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    This year, base it on division opponents only. Next year, base it on division opponents plus losses on days not ending in y. The following year, who knows? Every year, if we’ve got somebody who’s a lock for the playoff, figure out how to keep them there.