The expansion of collegiate athletic conferences means there will be a log jam in both football and basketball, and the ACC is one of those examples.
The ACC on Monday announced a new football scheduling model that will go into effect beginning with the 2024 season.
With the additions of Cal, SMU and Stanford, each ACC school will continue to play eight conference games per season with all 17 teams facing each other at least twice through the next seven years (once at home and once on the road). Under the new schedule rotation, the league’s current 14-team membership will also play three times each in California before 2030 with no team traveling to the west coast during consecutive seasons.
The new schedule will continue with no divisions, feature 17 schools and will increase the number of annual conference matchups from 56 to 68. The top two teams based on conference winning percentage will compete in the ACC Football Championship Game on the first Saturday in December at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Cal, SMU and Stanford to the ACC and look forward to having them compete beginning in the fall of 2024,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “Throughout the entire scheduling model process, the membership was incredibly thoughtful and purposeful in building a creative, flexible and aggressive conference scheduling model while keeping the student-athlete experience at the forefront. The excitement and anticipation for our teams, alumni and fans will undoubtedly build as we look ahead to the future of this incredible conference.”
The approved format will continue to have each member institution play eight conference games per season, with all 17 teams playing each other at least twice over the next seven seasons – once at home and once on the road. The current 14 conference teams will play a total of three times each in California over the seven years and none will travel west to California in back-to-back seasons.
Virginia Tech and Virginia will still play each other on a regular basis.
The new scheduling model protects 16 annual matchups. Of the 16 matchups, 11 are retained from the current 3-5-5 schedule model, two are restored rivalries from the divisional format in Miami-Virginia Tech and NC State-Wake Forest and the three new schools fill the remaining three. The annual protected matchups are Boston College-Syracuse, Boston College-Pitt, Syracuse-Pitt, North Carolina-Virginia, North Carolina-Duke, North Carolina-NC State, NC State-Wake Forest, NC State-Duke, Duke-Wake Forest, Virginia Tech-Virginia, Florida State-Clemson, Miami-Florida State, Miami-Virginia Tech, Stanford-Cal, Stanford-SMU, and Cal-SMU.
When it comes to basketball, the ACC commissioner said at the recent media days, simply put, not all the teams in the conference would make future tournaments.
Phillips said probably all 18 teams will not be participating.
“I think you’ve got to earn your way to play in, I think, the most prestigious postseason basketball tournaments in the country — and if you don’t get to a certain threshold, then you just don’t make it that year,” he told reporters.
Already, it is coming with some backlash and head scratching in one case from Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Mike Young. He told reporters at media day, he knows it obviously is a football decision.
“I understand that. I’ve said it a couple of times now, and I mean this: I have incredible confidence and respect for Jim Phillips and for the leadership on our campus in Tim Sands and Whit Babcock. They deemed that necessary to move our league forward, and I’m all for that.”
But this is where Young worries about basketball.
“I do not – I shudder at the thought of not taking every team to the ACC Tournament. I think that’s of critical importance. I’ll talk to commissioner Phillips about that as we move along. I certainly understand his heartburn with adding an additional day to the league tournament. That would be an additional day to the women’s tournament. So that’s a lot. So those are conversations that we’ll all have with the commissioner and others as we move along.”
For now, nothing changes this year but those moves will have to be made in the very near future.