In a move that won’t hurt the SEC’s chances in the new postseason order, it looks like the ACC will also stick with an eight-game conference scheduling format. It may turn out to be an even closer emulation than that.
League officials have been asked to consider a model similar to the SEC’s – an eight-game conference schedule, plus the guarantee of at least one game against another power conference. Many ACC schools already do this.
Notre Dame’s commitment of five ACC games per year lessens the pressure to jump to a nine-game format, which the Pac-12 and Big 12 already use. The Big Ten will begin a nine-game schedule in 2016.
While there may be no consequences from the call on the playoff front, there’s TV to consider. (There’s always TV to consider.)
The decision must be considered through the prism of playoff leverage and a potential ACC Channel, which is on hold while its long-term partner ESPN launches the SEC Network in August.
Perhaps nine games gives a channel more attractive conference matchups, but SEC officials argue its league has more inventory with eight because of the guarantee of seven annual home games for most teams along with the emergence of neutral-site games. The ACC could take this approach if its non-conference schedules are stout.
They’ll stick to that story until they want the extra money badly enough.
Oh, and don’t miss the In other scheduling news tacked on at the end of the story for the other side of the eight-game conference schedule move.