The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today that once Pittsburgh and Syracuse join its ranks, the league will indeed go to a nine-game conference football schedule. According to an ACC presser:
“The format will consist of each team playing all six in its division each year, plus its primary crossover partner each year and two rotating opponents from the opposite division. This six-year cycle allows each team to play each divisional opponent and its primary crossover partner six times (three home and three away) while also playing each rotating crossover opponent two times (one home and one away).
If you read MrSEC.com with any regularity, you know that’s the exact format that we’ve pushed as the SEC’s best method of protecting traditional rivalries and moving forward into a new age.
We still believe that the league will go to such a plan at some point in the future so long as the bowl-eligibility standard isn’t raised to seven wins.
But the SEC’s coaches and athletic directors — for now — are scared to death of a nine-game plan. They don’t want to give up the cash brought in by an extra home game every year (even though the new TV contracts more than make up for the loss of a home every other season). They cry that a nine-game schedule would kill the league’s national title hopes (even though just the opposite happened when the league expanded to eight games and added a conference title game).
Barring a nine-game format, we recently pushed this divisionless format… assuming the SEC could convince the NCAA to drop its schedule requirements for a conference championship game. But even if the SEC moved to an eight-game, non-divisional plan — the best fallback option out there — its coaches and ADs would still have to live with this disappointing fact:
They’re scared of doing what the ACC is planning to do.
Where’s the fearless leadership of Roy Kramer when you need it? (And don’t think there weren’t shrieks of terror when he added a title game and shifted the league from six to seven to eight contests per year.)