ACC Considering New College Football Scheduling Format; Would Eliminate Divisions

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 11, 2022

BLACKSBURG, VA - OCTOBER 09: A view of the ACC logo on a down marker during the first half of the game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Lane Stadium on October 9, 2021 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The ACC Championship Game could look drastically different as soon as the 2023 college football campaign.

Andrea Adelson and David M. Hale of ESPN reported commissioner Jim Phillips and multiple athletic directors discussed a new scheduling model that would have teams play three permanent opponents and then rotate the other five over a two-year period.

The 3-5-5 format would eliminate divisions and give programs more year-to-year variety in their schedules.

This comes after the NCAA Football Oversight Committee recommended conferences do not need divisions to hold a title game. Such a proposition is expected to pass when the Division I Council votes on it later this month.

"You want your two best teams to have a chance to play at the end of the year for a lot of reasons," Phillips said. "So that's why it's taken us ... you may think it's a little bit longer, but it really isn't. We're really very much on track. But again, want to make sure we've talked to everybody to see, are we missing something here?"

The ACC making such a move could clear the way for other conferences as well in an effort to match their two best teams up at the end of the season and increase the chances of making the College Football Playoff.

While the SEC has been fortunate enough to have some balance with Georgia in the East and Alabama in the West facing each other in a title game that propels both to the CFP, some power conferences have notable disparity in the division strength.

For example, the Big Ten East is 8-0 in the title game since the conference adopted the current East and West divisions. The combined score is 283-123 in those eight games with blowouts such as Ohio State defeating Wisconsin 59-0 and Michigan beating Iowa 42-3.

The better team in the East has won every year thus far, but it isn't difficult to envision a scenario where Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State battle each other throughout the season only for the one who emerges to slip up against a three-loss Northwestern team in the Big Ten Championship Game.

That could cost the league a spot in the CFP, whereas a matchup between the two teams that are clearly the best could propel one or potentially both into the four-team field.

Such a scenario could also happen in the ACC with Clemson, Wake Forest, North Carolina State and even traditional powerhouse Florida State all in the Atlantic Division. There could be a year when the three best teams are in the Atlantic, putting the winner's spot in the CFP at risk if it faces an inferior team in the title game and has a poor night.

Yet the two best teams may be facing off for the league crown as soon as 2023.