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Adam Gold

Injecting imbalance and inequity into ACC football

Posted June 5, 2013

Jacoby Brissett (12) throws during the NC State Spring Game on April 20, 2013 in Raleigh, NC.

The Atlantic Coast Conference released their inter-divisional schedule rotation for football through 2024 yesterday amid exactly zero controversy and even less conversation. And, while that might be fine on one hand, the lack of serious discussion is awful on the other. College football has always thrived, even feasted, on loud debates surrounding rankings, schedules, fairness, etc. If you don't think those water cooler arguments are a big reason that the game has turned into a multi-billion dollar business, you probably don't miss Keith Jackson on fall Saturday afternoons.

Woah, Nellie!

College football almost operates in a parallel universe in that controversy and unfairness are good -- no, GREAT -- for business. While the most important element in the successful grab for attention will always be the quality of the football, the spice that those angry discussions provide is the difference between a dish of vanilla ice cream and a hot fudge sundae.

There are two things missing from the neat little schedule rotation the conference PDF'd to the league's media; logic and sizzle. Unfortunately, if you added those factors to the equation you'd also be including imbalance and inequity.

So what. The time for fairness should have gone the way of your old, Jack Kramer wooden tennis racquet. We're in the composite age now and it's time to start acting accordingly. Here's what John Swofford should do, actually, what he HAS to do with regards to the football schedules.

1) It's time to make an adjustment to the divisions, so I'm going to do that for him. Boston College and Louisville (when they arrive) are moving to the Coastal Division. Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh, welcome to the Atlantic.

2) Because Virginia Tech's "permanent" cross-divisional game simply can't be Boston College, we're pairing the Hokies up with Clemson. Two like-minded schools in every single sense of the word, it makes no sense that they are scheduled to meet just twice in the next dozen years. For a conference that is screaming out for increased, high-level inventory for football, this is borderline criminal.

3) Louisville and Virginia are rivals? Do you know how many times the Cavaliers and Cardinals have seen each other from opposite sides of a gridiron? Twice. Yep, that's it. Two times, in 1988 and 89. No wonder the league couldn't wait to get these two paired up on an annual basis! Oh, they'll play every year, but as divisional rivals. Instead, the Cavaliers will draw Pittsburgh on the regular while the Cardinals get Georgia Tech. Editor's note: I'm fully aware that neither of those match ups are fantastic either.

4) If it was up to me, the ACC is going to own Thanksgiving weekend in terms of college football interest. First of all, Pittsburgh must renew their Backyard Brawl with West Virginia and we're playing that sucker Thanksgiving night. Right now, there are just two games that evening, Texas vs. Texas Tech and the Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. There's zero reason why the "Brawl" couldn't be a major TV force in that time slot.

5) Friday, we're throwing out Virginia-Virginia Tech at noon and capping the Turkey Sandwich after-party with Miami vs. Louisville. My system puts both of the local schools from South Beach in the same division so they can play every single year as opposed to twice per decade. In case you were wondering, the 2013 Louisville roster has 14 players from the city of Miami and 28 total from the state of Florida.

6) Thanksgiving Saturday features the three ACC-SEC state championship games, plus Duke-Wake, Syracuse-Boston College and the Old North State season finale between the Wolfpack and Tar Heels. This is a conference that deserves to finish the season with a bang, not a relatively random slate of games.
Remember, the goal of the schedule-maker is to provide the best possible inventory to the television partner, or -- in the case of the ACC -- our internet provider. Anything else runs counterproductive to creating the level of interest necessary for football in our league to garner the attention of the pigskin-starved masses in Lay-Z-boys up and down the eastern seaboard.

While I'm at it, let me change one more thing, but from a far more meta perspective. From here forward, games against FCS teams no longer count towards bowl-eligibility. That doesn't mean you can't play them. I can see, from a coach's and program's point of view, the benefit gained from a guarantee game. But, if you're not going to win a half-dozen games against teams at your scholarship level, you can't waste time preparing for the Cubed Cheese Bowl, you need to get your rear end out on the recruiting trail.

Want to promote good will among the lower level schools in your state? Play a real Spring Football game against a team from a lower level. You'll draw more fans and drive some actual meaning into the off-season.

Of course, you'll need some cooperation from the NCAA to pull this off, but that's why I'm taking control of this situation.

Next, I'll tackle the playoff selection committee. You know they're going to mess that up as well, right?

23 Comments

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  • olthoislayer Jun 9, 4:39 p.m.

    Looks great from a UofL fan's perspective. While I'd love to see a Louisville-Georgia Tech cross over pairing, I think it probably makes more sense to pair UofL with Pitt and Virginia with Georgia Tech. After all, Louisville-Pittsburgh (16 games, series tied 8-8) and Virginia-Georgia Tech (35 games, series tied 17-17-1) have a lot more games between them than Virginia-Pittsburgh (5 games, Pitt leads 3-2) and Louisville-Georgia Tech (never).

  • cjw6105 Jun 6, 11:09 a.m.

    I keep hearing that football brings in so much more money than basketball. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but this much I do know is true: basketball built this conference into what it is. Dismantling the football rivalries isn't all that's going on here. The State-Duke and Wake-UNC basketball rivalries are being severed as well, and you can be sure that ACC officials will eagerly do whatever ESPN says when working Syracuse and Louisville into future basketball scheldules.

    I promise State and Wake fans that they will not be afforded the opportunities to play the Orange and the Cardinals as often as their Big Four rivals wearing Blue.

    They don't call 'em Bluebloods for nothing.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Jun 6, 7:53 a.m.

    The schedule looks like it was configured to make the worst match-ups possible. Tradition and rivalries are thrown out. For State and Duke to play each other once in football and then not until 2020 is ridiculous. The Big Four should be playing each other every year in football and twice in basketball. Rivalries and tradition are what made the ACC what it is - maybe not to those outside the conference - but who cares about that? The schools and fans deserve better than they got in this new ACC.

  • lascejas Jun 6, 7:07 a.m.

    "Swofford estimated that football drives 70-80 percent of rights fees and acknowledged that more national success in that sport would have meant additional revenue."

    http://www.dailypress.com/sports/teel-blog/dp-teel-time-new-espn-contract-increases-acc-media-revenue-by-30-percent-20120509,0,5055710.story

    I just googled and found one of the first ones that came up. Basketball does not bring in the revenue. Sorry to ruin yall's perfect little world. And yes, Raycom BUYS some rights from ESPN. Hence, the basketball games are included in the ESPN contract we recently extended and are working on renegotiating now.

    Football is king and it's not even close. Wake up and smell the roses or get left behind. And for those of you thinking that the NCAA basketball tournament isn't included in the ESPN contract, you are correct. But so are football bowl game payouts and those double the ACC's payout for the NCAA tournament.

    Please put in the support and money so that your football programs will be better and actually become an asset to the rest of the conference.

  • kornfan2448 Jun 5, 11:36 p.m.

    I also think that kornfan listed some great points. Duke hasn't been a rivalry in football for... View More

    — Posted by Hokies94

    Thanks Hokie! Seriously, I mean no slough on Duke, and I too love coach Cutt, but on the national scene, they're just not there. He came into where I work, and I had to explain who he was, and as Heels fan, I did so proudly. However, these old school ACC football rivalries will take ACC football where it has always been...barely second tier. WE know our teams, but we need everyone else to know them so that our bragging rights extend beyond the Triangle. Case in point, when I travel to Philly, which is at least twice a month, they KNOW UNC, Duke and State basketball. However, mention football and they just don't take it seriously.

  • Cragsdale Jun 5, 11:20 p.m.

    also, I think you are getting your values from teh espn contract for TV rights of just football. ESPN does not however own exclusive rights to all ACC basketball games, that is still held by the ACCs associate network Raycom sports I do believe. which I wager generates a substantially higher income than football shown on espn for acc schools. But that's based on my opinion.

  • Hokies94 Jun 5, 11:17 p.m.

    I'll bet that this schedule will be changed soon. No way the rich and powerful will allow this mess.

  • Hokies94 Jun 5, 11:11 p.m.

    ^^^. I liked your last sentence especially. VT sells more tickets away than anyone one team in the ACC. FSU and Clemson have shown VT that they don't own the ACC in the last few years. That's a good thing to finally get Beamer to wake his rear end up. We ruled at one time. The Hokies have slipped big time. Recruitment tells the tale. Logan Thomas will be the factor this season. Beamer needs to grow some to tell his coaches to get their players in gear. A 7-6 year is a dismal season for my school. Blood, sweat, and tears.

  • cjw6105 Jun 5, 11:06 p.m.

    lascejas: "NC State has put in more money into their (football) program in the last ten years than the other three (UNC, Wake, Duke) but they're still lacking a coach and a consistently ravenous football fan base."

    You can't be serious here. Great googamooga.

    And, thanking VT, FSU and Clemson fans for their help in paying for the majority of our athletic budgets is like thanking illegal aliens for paying for the majority of our nation's budget.

  • Cragsdale Jun 5, 11:03 p.m.

    You all act like UNC, Duke, and Wake have football fans. NC State has better football fans, but... View More

    — Posted by lascejas

    if the avg income of a div 1 school in football is 15.1 mil, and in basketball it's 10.1mil.. considering the ACCs storied tradition and history as a Basketball conference, I'm gonna just lay out a guess that ACC revenue is leveled heavier on the basketball side than football. so your entire argument is null and void. I highly doubt your facts sir.

    http://www.statisticbrain.com/ncaa-college-athletics-statistics/

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