Long time commentor and prior guest writer JoeL (aka Joe Lawrence) sent this article to be published. I thought it was timely. Thanks, JoeL.
The ACC annual meetings are taking place in Amelia Island, Florida at this time and one of the topics being discussed is the divisional setup and conference schedule. Reports indicate we should get ready for some potentially big changes.
One change involves elimination of the two-division setup. If so, the Championship game would be played by the 1st and 2nd place teams in the conference. While I am sure Clemson does not care either way, both Florida State and NC State are sure to hope that happens. I am not so wild about it… seems like a champion is already determined when all are lumped into one pool. Heck, one should have to win SOMETHING to get in a Championship game – even if that something is the lowly Coastal Division title.
Another change involves potentially going from 8 to 9 conference games/yr. As long as this comes with a ban on playing FCS schools in the out of conference slate, I am all for it. Helps improve the value of the ACC Network and makes for more meaningful games on the Pitt schedule.
The third possible change – and most fascinating – involves the establishment of three fixed annual opponents on each teams’ schedules, leaving 6 (or 5) other games to be scheduled among all the other schools. What this means is a more attractive rotating schedule than we have seen since joining the ACC. I forget the math (Richard, where are you?!), but I believe this means Pitt would face every team in the ACC within a 2 to 3 year period…correct me if I have that wrong, but the point is we will see all of the other teams more frequently than we have in the past.
If passed, it will be interesting to see how each school’s three fixed opponents are set.
Let us start with an easy one – UVA. We know they will play the Hokies each year. It is almost a law in Virginia. They will also probably play UNC – the “South’s Oldest Rivalry” – as it has been so since 1892. And the third school…. Gosh, I have no idea to be honest.
Let us try another – the Hokies should be easy. We already know about the annual Cavalier game. A matchup with Miami would harken back to the grand old days of Big East football, although VPI fans would prefer UNC because everyone likes to beat the Tarheels. But Miami is the one…its best for TV. And I am stuck on a third one.
Meanwhile in Chapel Hill, UNC faithful will insist on Duke first and foremost. Then the old game with UVA will run second and once again, I am struggling with the third.
Miami for its part, will want Florida State for state bragging rights and Clemson because unlike many other ACC teams, Clemson is nationally relevant. They might want BC because Donna Shalala said way back when that keeping those two schools together was important….at least that was her argument for enticing BC to leave the Big East.
NC State will rigorously argue for Clemson and the Hokies, because all three programs resemble SEC members. Stuck again with a third.
Clemson does not care much really. Actually, upon waking up from a nap during all this this, they yawn and said they would volunteer to take Duke, GT and BC… to do their part for the conference after all.
Meanwhile, Pitt and Syracuse are getting shuffled around like Pinto and Flounder at a Omega Rush Party.
Louisville is on the sofa in the back room when Neidermeyer introduces Pitt and Syracuse, and the Cardinals now realize they are in the nerd room and rationalize that they were a bigger deal back at their high school: “Folks here just don’t appreciate that yet.”
“Bless their Cardinal hearts” say the folks in Greensboro.
But this is a Pitt blog and so I suppose some sort of thoughts on its three fixed opponents is necessary. Well, of course, its pre-ordained that its Flounder…the Orangemen are already our “rivalry game” (cough-cough). And the second school is BC…because BC would like Pitt as one of its three schools – and it is nice to be wanted. As for its third school… this is where the Hokies learn that in a way they are still on the outside of the ACC looking in when the powers that be decide that annual matchups with Pitt is good for
Big East the large TV markets in the Northeast.
In the end, the fixed pairings look something like this:
Pitt – Syracuse, BC, VT
Miami – FSU, VT, and BC
VT – UVA, Miami, and Pitt
Syracuse – Pitt, BC, and Louisville
BC – Miami, Pitt, and Syracuse
Louisville – Syracuse, Clemson, FSU
(Gee, that looks like a revival of the Big East…who woulda thought that could happen?)
UVA – VT, UNC, Duke
UNC – Duke, UVA, NC State
Duke – UNC, UVA, Wake
NC State – Clemson, Wake, UNC
Wake – NC State, Duke, GT
Clemson – NC State, Louisville, GT
GT – Clemson, UNC, FSU
FSU – Miami, Louisville, GT
What are your thoughts on logical fixed schools for Pitt if this goes through? What would you want and what would you expect to actually happen? Time for Heather Lyke to show she is not in over her head this time…. folks are watching
(JoeL is correct on the two- or three-year time frame.)