Informal SEC/ACC Scheduling Pact Robs CFB Fans of Compelling Matchups

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Informal SEC/ACC Scheduling Pact Robs CFB Fans of Compelling Matchups
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Auburn and Virginia met in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl

One of the biggest reasons college football has become one of America's most popular sports is because it has evolved from a regional sport into one that is played and can be marketed nationally.

Now, it looks like we are taking a blast to the past.

According to Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com, an informal agreement between the ACC and SEC is taking shape that would pit the two conferences together in home-and-home series' over the next six or seven years.

The informal agreement wouldn't include South Carolina, Georgia, Florida or Kentucky, all of which already have intra-state rivalries with teams from the ACC. It also wouldn't include LSU or Alabama out of the SEC, or North Carolina or Virginia Tech out of the ACC—all of which like to schedule neutral-site games.

Save for the potential of the Florida/Miami rivalry being renewed, this pact wouldn't do much in terms of providing compelling matchups—which already exist in bowl season, anyway. Instead, it would regionalize the sport and do more harm than good.

Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Does Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest interest you?

Does N.C. State vs. Auburn move the meter?

How about Texas A&M vs. Virginia? Tennessee vs. Boston College?

Nope.

Whether it's fair or not, the combination of the eight-game conference schedule and the perception that SEC teams don't like to leave their bubble in the south exists. Stanford head coach David Shaw was one of several vocal critics of the conference when the SEC announced that its long-term schedule format would be of the eight-game variety. 

Duke and Texas A&M met in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl

Will those critics go away if this informal scheduling pact—which doesn't include ACC powers Florida State or Clemson—comes to fruition? 

Nope.

It will just give them more public relations weapons to use on the national scale. "SEC teams are scared to leave their own backyard" may not be accurate, but if the battle for the fourth spot comes down to a team that didn't leave its backyard out of conference and one that did, who's going to win that battle? 

In this new format with a selection committee, nobody knows yet.

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That's what this is about. Public relations. 

Both the ACC and SEC have "power five" out-of-conference mandates starting in 2016, so the easy solution for the two conferences would be to play each other. While it's better than playing four directional Louisiana schools out-of-conference, it is still taking a relatively easy way out.

UCLA already has home-and-homes set up with Texas A&M and LSU, according to FBSchedules.com, while Tennessee has USC set up for 2021 and 2022. More of these games need to happen.

Sure, there can be some matchups between ACC and SEC teams, but let's not get too comfortable. The SEC needs to broaden its horizons and get outside of its comfort zone, because at some point, it may make the difference in making the playoff.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report.

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