On Friday, the Atlantic Coast Conference approved a nine-game league schedule for football once Pittsburgh and Syracuse come on board. The Orange will be part of the Atlantic Division while the Panthers will make their home in the Coastal. What has been released of the new scheduling format so far can be viewed on the ACC website, with more information forthcoming.
This news means that ACC teams will have to drop one non-conference game from their schedule in the future. With several teams like Georgia Tech, Clemson and Wake Forest having out-of-conference year-end tradition rivalry games, scheduling will likely become a serious challenge in the future. Each team will be able to maintain an out-of-division rival, however.
Along with the new nine-game football schedule, the conference has also approved an 18-game conference schedule for men's and women's basketball. This new model will not be as difficult a task since basketball is not a divisional sport in the ACC. Again, each basketball member will maintain one non-division partner that will play each season regardless of schedule rotation.
The Coastal Division looks to be getting the stronger football program in recent years, while the Atlantic lands the more powerful basketball school, historically speaking.
Baseball is also a divisional sport within the conference and will have challenges in scheduling, while all other sports will play each conference member at least once in a given season. Baseball and football scheduling present the only real difficulties on this front.
How the new formatting will affect sports with conference tournaments is yet to be seen, but models of these scenarios will likely be out within the coming weeks.