With the ACC contemplating expanding the conference schedule to nine games, the fear of some long time rivalries being altered or left behind is always a concern. With a handful of good rivalry games with SEC members traditionally in place at the end of the regular season, Florida State hopes to keep that tradition going.
In an interview with ESPN.com’s Florida State reporter David Hale, Florida State Athletics Director Stan Wilcox stressed the importance of working around rivalry games with SEC opponents, including Florida State’s annual games against Florida.
“Those aren’t going to change, and there’s enough votes in that room to not change those rivalries,” Wilcox stated. “We’re not concerned about that.”
As it stands for now, four ACC schools end the regular season with an SEC rival (Florida State vs. Florida, Georgia Tech vs. Georgia, Clemson vs. South Carolina, Louisville vs. Kentucky). That would give any vote on a scheduling matter four out of 14 votes expected to fall in line to support keeping those year-end rivalries in place.
The idea of an eight-game ACC schedule with an additional game set up with a sort of protected rival has been discussed by the ACC leaders, although nothing is close to being a finished product yet. It also requires cooperation from a partnering conference or a collection of other willing partners at the university levels. This is easier said than done, but a nice dream scenario to reach for. As the College Football Playoff era begins, the focus on strength of schedule has become more vital, not to mention the need to secure the best possible media packages.
“I think the issue is, if we collectively agree that we’re going to schedule up, we don’t have to come up with a hard rule we have to go to nine games, or everybody has to schedule one game against an SEC school,” Wilcox explained. “It’s just a matter of getting everybody to agree to that. If we’re concerned about strength of schedule, then everybody’s got to really schedule so that you have a strong schedule.”
Once again, this could prove to be easier said than done. Not every school in the ACC, or any conference for that matter, has the ingredient n place to jump right in to this sort fo scheduling method. There are only so many good teams to go around, and not every rivalry can fit in to place at the same time. Realignment is a giant jigsaw puzzle when it comes to this sort of stuff. The larger conferences get, sometimes the more difficult it becomes to please everybody.