Atlantic Coast Conference considering elimination of football divisions, report says
The Atlantic Coast Conference is having league meetings this week and it looks like they will be taking a long look at the future of programming. Specifically, ACC programs will discuss potential divisional elimination as early as the 2023 season, by Pete Thamel. According to Thamel, a few scheduling alternatives are on the table.
A suggested model is for each football team to have three permanent opponents with the other five conference games rotating each year, in addition to the traditional four non-conference games. A similar proposition puts each team up against two permanent opponents with six ACC foes rotating each year. According to Thamel, the second option would allow each ACC team to host every other ACC team every four years, with certain constants likely maintained to maintain existing rivalries.
As it stands, the ACC is split into Atlantic and Coastal Divisions, as it has been since 2005, when the league moved to a divisional model to facilitate its swelling ranks with the additions of Miami, Virginia. Tech and Boston College.
Each division is made up of seven teams. The Atlantic Division includes Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, NC State, Syracuse and Wake Forest. The Coastal Division is made up of Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.
If the ACC got rid of the divisions, the championship game would likely be decided based on the top two teams in terms of conference record. The league would likely institute a complex tie-breaking system, including head-to-head results, to ensure there are no scenarios where three teams can claim a claim in the game for the title.
As it stands, the Big 12 is the only Power 5 conference that is not divided into divisions. This could change as soon as the 2023 season, as the Big 12 could be forced to adapt a divisional model.
Big 12 senior associate commissioner Ed Stewart told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd that conferences with more than 12 teams should be divided into divisions. The Big 12 is expected to add UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU to its ranks by 2023 at the earliest, bringing the total number of teams to 14.
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That number could drop to 12 by 2025 as Texas and Oklahoma are set to leave for the SEC. In this case, the Big 12 should maintain its divisional structure under the current rules. However, based on ACC discussions, it appears the Division I Board may be moving away from the rule that major conferences must be divided into divisions in order to hold conference title games.