The inevitable destination of conference realignment

It was only a matter of time before somebody went there.

Non-conference games against conference opponents.  Don’t you love new traditions?

And how long do you figure it’ll be before Joe Alleva suggests that for a way around those who want to keep the SEC’s permanent cross-division rivalry games?



“This is a unique opportunity to play a regional rival in years that fall outside the normal conference rotation,” UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said in a release. “We have a long history with Wake Forest that has historical value and will generate interest within our fans.”

In other words, instead of UNC and Wake Forest spending upwards of $1 million to fill a non-conference date with someone like Louisiana-Monroe or North Texas, they will play a more cost-effective game against a real rival, which will generate more fan interest and ticket sales.

Even though it’s a bit awkward and will create some confusion, it’s pretty much a win-win for those two schools. It’s also something other schools in the ACC could look to duplicate.

An awkward, confusing win-win.  That’s college football for you.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to add another conference game to the schedule?



Filed under ACC Football

21 responses to “The inevitable destination of conference realignment

  1. DC Weez

    Ridiculous. But at least they didn’t choose FSU or Clemson.


  2. AusDawg85

    Can’t wait to see Spurrier’s take on how this should work for the SEC East.


  3. Bright Idea

    It sounds sensible for these two schools but if SEC coaches are against 9 SEC games they won’t be in favor of playing one that doesn’t really count either. A loss is a loss.


  4. sniffer

    Which one’s the cupcake? By 2019, it may be UNC.


  5. jollyrogerjay

    Didn’t Bear Bryant do this? I remember one year bama played Vandy as an extra game, and bama “won” the SEC championship that year by virtue of playing that extra SEC game. I think they had 7 SEC opponents while everyone else had 6, and they were tied in the loss column at the end of the season.


    • Dante

      Probably, but SEC scheduling was a lot more willy nilly back then. I kind of like the old model of rivals being rivals and everyone else getting filled in as needed.


      • JP

        Me too. If the divisional requirement is dropped for the conference championship games, the SEC could go to a nine game conference schedule, each team having five permanent opponents and four rotating. Then each team would, at a minimum, have a home and home with every other team every four years. It would be fantastic. The SEC could maintain the old rivalries (and maybe create a few new ones) and keep the conference feeling small. It would make 14 teams work perfectly for football.


    • I think most rules, SEC and NCAA, came about because of the Bare. Not too unlike the 4 year guaranteed scholarship rule because of another Bama coach, though the coach of our next door East rival seems to be rivaling him on that front. The more things change, the more they stay the same.


  6. GaskillDawg

    Team X pays Team Y to be a nonconference game at Team X’s stadium. Conference teams do not pay other conference teams to play at their stadiums. Is UNC going to pay Wake to play a non-conference game in Chapel Hill, and Wake pay UNC to play a non-conference game in Winston-Salem, or will both be “free” visitors at each other’s stadiums?



    Seems fair to me, doesn’t the ACC have like 24 members?


    • Bulldog Joe

      Nobody seems to know who is in each division without looking it up and ACC schedules come out notoriously late. With long roadtrips to places like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Boston, and who knows where else in a couple years, you might as well schedule a game your fans can actually plan to attend.


  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Let’s assume one or both challenge for the division championship. So the outcome of their head-to-head game doesn’t count in the ACC’s equation, since it’s NOT a conference match up? Or is it a conference match up? Or does an extra W boost one team to the division lead in case of a tie? Or…


    • Alkaline

      The ACC has specifically said they won’t prevent conference teams from playing each other outside the conference schedule, but those games won’t count towards the conference standings, either.

      The SEC has specifically prevented members from scheduling additional games like this since the mid-70s (thanks to the Bear, as jollyrogerjay notes above). I am not sure about other conferences. A few years ago Colorado played California when both teams were in the Pac-12 but the game was scheduled while Colorado was still in the Big 12, so that may have just been a one-time exception.


  9. Ben

    What would suck here is getting your rival (say Auburn) in a year when they are a non-conference opponent, beating them, and then still seeing them win their division and ultimately a championship with a loss that would have kept them out of it all any other year.

    I hate realignment and expansion so much.


  10. 3rdandGrantham

    SEC, 2019. UGA vs. AU. UGA leads 64-51 late in the game:

    AU fan: Dammit! Y’all are going to beat us yet again. Well, our shot at winning the west is screwed

    UGA fan: What the h*** are you talking about? This is a non-conference game now ever since the rotations got screwed up with Oklahoma, VT, USF, TCU, Baylor, and UCF coming into the fold

    AU fan: Dude, I totally forgot! In other words, this game doesn’t mean a lick, and our chances of getting to Atlanta are still alive and well, right?

    UGA fan: Yep.

    AU fan: Awesome. Thankfully games like this, and the regular season in general, no longer mean nearly as much. Kinda like the Braves losing 2 of 3 to the Nats back in late May. Here, let me buy you a beer as a way of congratulating you on the win, to give you at least some degree of satisfaction.

    UGA fan: Sigh…thanks, I guess. But, eh, couldn’t you have at least offered an import? Cheap a** Alabamians.


  11. Cojones

    Hold it. They didn’t say Division, they said Conference. Since when does some team that’s not in your Div becomes a “non-conference” team? If they prefer to schedule and play more teams in their conference, why can’t they? The term “non-conference” could never be translated as conference, could it? But blank schedule slots can always be filled by conference teams, yes?

    The conference scheduling has always stated “at least” a certain number, but never states you can’t fill the slots with conference games. Is that a correct statement? Would think that we would welcome the scheduling of another SEC game even though we don’t have to. Would think the local merchants in Athens would welcome that sort of addition to the schedule as well.


  12. HamDawg11

    I’d much rather play an OOC team that’s not across the country. ACC, Big 12, etc.


  13. Mayor

    Great idea. Let’s play Vanderbilt and Kentucky each 3 times per season. 🙂