Saturday, January 18, 2014

Should ACC Disband Their Football Divisions?

ACC commish John Swofford said some interesting things about the future of the ACC football championship game.  For instance, he would like it if the ACC got rid of the divisions and had the two best conference teams fight in the title game.

I like this idea.

Just over a month ago, I wrote about the ACC's dilemma about their football scheduling.  The gripe was that it may take nearly two decades before you may get to play in the city of one of your conference brethren.  That point is well taken and a near certainty in our new life of 14-team mega conferences.  One of the ideas floated was having a true rotating schedule where you would play 8 regular season games against one set of conference teams, and then you must play the 5 others the next year along with 3 games against "rival" opponents.

Swofford's point would work well with that idea.  Just blow up the divisional format like you do for basketball and just schedule like this.  The two teams with the best conference record will then play for the title in Charlotte.  Simple.

It might will make for much better ACC Championship games.  This year, Florida State played Duke for the ACC title.  Duke had a shockingly decent season, but if Swofford had his way, Clemson would have faced off against the Seminoles.  That would have a bigger game and maybe a better one.

In 2012, Florida State faced 6-6 Georgia Tech for the ACC title.  What?  Well, due to North Carolina and Miami ineligible for post season play (those two were tied with G-Tech for the Coastal Division title), the Yellow Jackets became the Seminoles foe.

Clemson, again, would have been FSU's opponent that season if Swofford has his way.

The last two season would really be the only recent seasons that would have been changed by this new way of thinking.  Still, I like it.

The two obvious loopholes would be (a) of the imbalanced schedule affecting the standings ... which doesn't seem to be a big deal in basketball ... and (b) sorting out tiebreakers.  Again, both seem to work themselves out if everyone buys in.

I like it since we are virtually guaranteed an excellent ACC title game every year.  If other conferences took the leave, then we could see an Auburn-Alabama rematch in the SEC title game, a Ohio State-Michigan Big Ten title tilt and it could then free up 10-team conferences like the Big 12 to hold a title game.  I like it.  It seems like a great idea.

So it probably won't happen.

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