The debate over an eight-game or nine-game conference schedule will continue for years. But in the ACC, most coaches and athletic directors wanted an eight-game league schedule—and got it.
An eight-game schedule should help the ACC in the long term. The mandate is to play one game each year against a team from a Power 5 conference (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12) beginning with the 2015 season, but the benefit is also scheduling flexibility.
''I think it gives you a lot more freedom to diversify and play some different teams across the country, which I think helps your league in branding," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said at the ACC meetings last week.
Florida State officials have said that the school will always play Florida, which takes care of the Power 5 component. But when it comes to the voters in the College Football Playoff, which begins with the 2014 season, the strength of schedule argument will be even more important.
FSU's 2014 schedule includes Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Florida, which is among the 10 most challenging nonconference schedules. That could help FSU in the eyes of the playoff voters.
Now that Fisher and FSU administrators know they have flexibility with eight ACC games, they can begin to plan schedules for 2016 and beyond. Already on the books are a home-and-home series with South Florida in 2015-16 and Boise State in 2019-20.
Fisher also pointed to an obvious option, one that is attractive and lucrative.
''It allows us to go play a kickoff game,'' Fisher said at the ACC meetings.
FSU is doing just that in 2014. The school will earn $3.5 million to play Oklahoma State on Aug. 30 at Arlington, Texas (financial disclosure was provided through a public records request).
The Seminoles could also pursue a deal that would put them in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta, although likely not until 2016 at the earliest (FSU's 2015 nonconference slate is set with Florida, USF, Texas State and FCS opponent Chattanooga).
Or administrators could work out a deal to play in Jacksonville, which held a few FSU regular-season games—in 2007 (85,412 saw a 21-14 win over Alabama) and Colorado in 2008 (46,716 saw a 39-21 victory over Colorado).
Coaches will continue to argue the merits of eight vs. nine conference games. Fisher is happy with the decision to stay with eight.
''It depends on who you schedule non-conference," Fisher said at the ACC meetings. "You're telling me us playing eight conference games and playing Florida, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame isn't tougher than them playing nine? I think it frees you up to go play an Oklahoma State; I think it allows you to expand your brand name as a conference. You can be more versatile in what you're doing."
Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report; all quotes obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bob on Twitter.
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