ACC mulling division-free football scheduling model by 2023
By AARON BEARD
AP Sports Writer
The Atlantic Coast Conference is mulling a change to its football scheduling model that could include the elimination of divisions by 2023.
Discussions are taking place among league schools during the ACC's annual spring meetings in Amelia Island, Florida. Commissioner Jim Phillips told reporters there Wednesday that the league also plans to talk with ESPN as its TV partner with the ACC Network.
"I'm confident we're going to get to a decision," Phillips said when asked whether he expected the plan would go forward. "Either we're going to do it or we're not going to do it, and then we're not going to be talking about it."
The focus is a 3-5-5 model that would have teams playing three opponents as permanent scheduling partners annually then rotating the other 10 teams over two seasons in the eight-game schedule (five one year, five the next).
As a result, teams would play every other league team twice in a four-year span.
Currently teams can go years without meeting, such as nearby neighbors like North Carolina State and Duke playing in 2020 for the first time in seven seasons.
Teams currently have one permanent partner across the Atlantic and Coastal Division format, play another rotating cross-division foe and play the rest within their division.
The discussions come after t he ACC's 2020 season nixed divisions and added Notre Dame for one year in a 10-game schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wake Forest athletics director John Currie pointed to "maximizing the opportunities to have great matchups" while ensuring players could face every other league team in their career. He also pointed to Wake Forest and fellow instate foe North Carolina taking the unusual step of creating a nonconference series for 2019 and 2021 because they weren't playing as often amid the 14-team ACC's scheduling model.
"Under the format currently, we only play twice every 12 years," Currie said Wednesday evening, adding: "That's not right. So there's an opportunity in assessing the models to rectify things like that."
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Updated May 11, 2022