Posted: 12:14 pm Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Why Tech favors a nine-game ACC schedule 

By Ken Sugiura

When the ACC holds its spring meetings in two weeks in Amelia Island, Fla., the conference’s football scheduling will be a front-and-center topic, primarily whether or not the league will go to eight or nine games.

Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski is in favor of nine games, as initially reported by ESPN. It was an unexpected stance, given the thinking that the annual Georgia game plus a nine-game league schedule in addition to a game with Notre Dame roughly every third year would create perhaps an overambitious slate.

It is why, for instance, Clemson and Florida State were reported to be in the eight-game camp. Bobinski’s preference for nine games stems from response from fans, the increasing difficulty in finding attractive matchups and a desire to build the conference’s identity through an additional league game.

“We’re not afraid of challenges ourselves,” senior associate athletic director Ryan Bamford said. “And our fans have said that they want us to challenge ourselves.”

According to the ESPN report, seven of the league’s 14 members – including Louisville and not Maryland – were in favor of moving to a nine-game league schedule. Four were noncommittal and three – Duke, Clemson and Florida State – were in favor of staying at eight. A simple majority – eight votes – is needed to make a change.

Another benefit, if the league were to adopt a nine-game schedule in which teams played six games against division opponents and three against the opposite division, would be the opportunity to rotate through the teams in the other division more quickly. With the present setup in which teams play six games within the division, one against the permanent partner and the eighth against a rotating opponent from the opposite division, Tech played Syracuse last year, but is not scheduled to play the Orange again until 2020. The next two Florida State games are 2015 and 2022.

“So if a kid comes here, they’re going to see every ACC school at least once, if not both on the road and at home,” Bamford said of the nine-game format.

Also, another conference game would likely generate more fan interest than games against lower-echelon opponents, and serve to build the identity of the ACC.

“Those aren’t schools that, for us, generate any interest,” Bamford said.

Further, with the SEC going to the “eight plus one” model and the other three power conferences going to nine-game schedules, the inventory of available nonconference games against power conference teams has been reduced, making it more difficult to schedule such opponents.

The flipside, though, is the reason why Duke coach David Cutcliffe said the majority of coaches favored staying at eight games. The Notre Dame years would create a bear of a schedule for Tech, Clemson, Florida State and Louisville, which have locked-in games against SEC rivals. Tech is slated to play the Fighting Irish in 2015, the same year that the Yellow Jackets will play Florida State.

If the league were to go to nine games, presumably adding a third opponent from the opposite division, Tech could conceivably play Clemson, Florida State and Louisville from the Atlantic, all six Coastal teams, Notre Dame and Georgia in the same year, leaving one guarantee game against an opponent from FCS or a non-power FBS conference.

Clearly, some votes cast in the ESPN poll were made from self-interest. Syracuse’s preference for nine games, for instance, is at least in part due to a desire to play in major markets like Atlanta and Miami more frequently. Clemson and Florida State’s interest in eight games is obvious. Ideally, athletic directors would be motivated to endorse the option they believe is best for the conference as a whole. From a strength-of-schedule standpoint, that would seem to be a nine-game schedule or the “eight plus one” model that the SEC adopted. That said, it could be argued the other way, that if the goal is to produce a national champion, a case could be made that giving schools more freedom to schedule how they feel is most advantageous is more beneficial.

The league could take a vote on the matter at the spring meetings, or it could wait. The other matter that can’t move forward that is perhaps of greater importance, is if the conference would give up the two-division format. That would achieve greater scheduling balance within the league and also solve the problem of not playing every league member on a regular basis.

In March, ACC commissioner John Swofford requested to the NCAA’s board of directors to give the conferences control of the championship game format, which to this point requires 12 teams and two divisions. The other four major conferences also supported the request.

It’s unclear how much support there is within the conference to get rid of the divisions – Bobinski is in favor of keeping two divisions – but it’s presumable that Swofford did not make the request idly. But if it’s the future, it will have to wait, as the NCAA has not voted on the matter.

96 comments
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

I guess WieNer couldn't prove his CONJECTURE, so he quit posting.  But I notice he "liked" an ignoant, athlete-trashing post by "Realisticfan" on the Finch blog.  Typical

MikeS777
MikeS777

So ESPN is running an article where the PAC 12 is calling out the SEC for not playing 9 game schedules.  The only thing a 9 game schedule does is create more cohesion between the divisions.  If the ACC went 9 games, Tech is just as likely to pull NC St as their 9th game as they are FSU.  It doesn't mean squat as far as strength of schedule.  Then you look at the PAC 12s out of conference schedule this year:

1) They are only playing 10 games against teams from the other 4 power conferences.  UCLA and USC are each playing 2, so the other 10 teams are just playing 6.  

2)  4 of the 12 teams aren't playing a single major conference team.

3)  Notre Dame accounts for 3 of the 10 good out of conference games.

4)  The only marquee match up is Oregon playing Michigan St.

5)  UCLA and USC are the only two teams not playing at least two games against a mid-major or worse conference foe.

9 games does not get rid of cupcake games, nor does it minimize them.  It's still all on the school to not schedule them.


OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

ROFLAMO!!!!!!! That has to be the record for the quickest deletion ever!!!!!!

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

Actually, I didn't think Carson should have been fired WHEN he was fired.  I thought he should have been fired 2 years earlier.  In fact I didn't think he should have been hired at all.  But at the point that  he got fired, he SEEMED to have begun to turn things around.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

The deletion craze is hilarious! Pretty soon the entire thread will cease to exist!

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

I like Bobinski's attitude!  Wanting to play 9 in-conference games plus UGA is very "un-Dave-Braineish".

As far as the thought process that as long as PJ is graduating players, he's here to stay, I have to disagree.  I think it's obvious Bobinski expects better performance on the field, and he's said so.

Moving the Georgia game to the early part of the season would be very much in our favor, and I hope this gets done.  Georgia always has the edge on paper, but that edge is much wider late in the season, because they have much more depth to compensate for injuries, and because their better athletes are in prime form by late season, as they in general have faced much tougher competition on the road and at home, than has GT.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@MikeBanning  Had the SEC split their divisions length wise East to West, they could have more meaningful cross division games.  

A Division of UT, Vandy, South Carolina, Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Arkansas

A second division of Missouri, Miss St., Texas A&M, Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia, Florida

You could have cross division games like UT/Florida, South Carolina/UGA, Auburn/Bama, Ole Miss/Miss St., A&M/Arkansas, LSU/Missouri, Kentucky/Vandy

MikeS777
MikeS777

@MikeBanning  The ACC has more meaningful cross division rivals to me.  They split the two divisions length wise from north to south geographically so you have BC/Va Tech, FSU/Miami, Tech/Clemson, UNC/NC St, Duke/Wake, Syracuse/Pitt, then I guess Louisville/Virginia which is the only one that doesn't make any sense.

The SEC really doesn't have that.  The only cross division rivals that make any sense for the SEC are Auburn/UGA, Bama/UT, and then maybe the new one with Missouri/Arkansas.  I think the SEC should just drop the cross division game all together.


Tech has not been scheduling well at all past UGA, but the sad part is, they have been losing the games.  BYU is a good schedule though.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning  The possibility of removing Clemson is not mentioned, and Tech apparently supports a nine game schedule without reservation.    Try for a moment to stop trolling and stay on point.   

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@OldJacketFan

I just figured out that if you are typing a response to a post, and that post gets deleted before you finish typing your response, then your response doesn't appear either

FreddieBlassie
FreddieBlassie

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt Carson was a good football coach and a great defensive coach, arguably one of the best defensive coaches in football, not to mention Tech. Had he been fired in '69, we would have not had two consecutive Georgie victories and within 2.576 inches of three in a row as a pass should've been tipped by a Tech defender who will not be named. Also the 1970 team lost only three games, all to top ten, at the time, opponents; Auburn (Pat Sullivan), Tennessee and a 10-7 loss in the last minutes to then number one Notre Dame (Joe Theisman) at South Bend. 

Carson following Dodd was his downfall as the contrast was extreme between the two men. We all know about Bobby Dodd and Bud Carson was a feisty 5'6" ex-Marine who would fight at the drop of a hat and was like an exposed nerve when he spoke to the public. Dodd's former players and those on the team who had been recruited by Dodd did not like Carson. That is putting it mildly. But there was not much toughness before Carson arrived and the ones who survived were tough, if not talented.

I agree that Carson should not have been fired when he was, but it was simply a matter of time, and after the Tech team was forced to go to the Peach Bowl and got drubbed by Ole Miss, the whiners and haters got their wish. Carson would've made Nick Saban look like Miss Congeniality and Paul Johnson like Bob Hope and Dale Carnegie rolled into one. I will guarantee you that Georgie coaches were happy to see Carson get canned and happier when they watched the decision makers hire straw men like Curry and Lewis.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt  

LOL...He's just not a Paul Johnson fan, AT ALL.  And IMO PJ and all HC's that make million$ are fair game to criticize.

Individual athletes that are suffering through pain and sacrifice to play, and aren't paid, no.  

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Birmingham__Jacket  

I think it would benefit GT to move the UGA game to earlier in the season.  As well as the reasons you cite, moving it to earlier would help the season end on a high note and, quite frankly, might help lessen the obsession on beating the Dogs.

Not all rivalry games are played at the end of the season.  UK and Louisville play early.  So do Miami and FSU.  USC-ND is played mid-season when it is in South Bend.  Texas-Oklahoma is a mid-season game as well. 

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@GTLee  

Not sure why you would want to drop Clemson.  For whatever reasons that is one game that we have historically played "up" to, unlike Miami, VT and UGA.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @OldJacketFan 

Yeah but the one that got deleted was a stand alone post LOL!


Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @Birmingham__Jacket  

In today's ever rapidly changing college football landscape being driven by $$$ first, and traditions later, I don't think I'd ever say "never".

I would hate to see it cancelled all together, and don't think it will be, because it's obviously very much in UGAs interest to continue playing the game, for the same reason UGA wants to play Kentucky.

Why don't you favor playing it earlier?  I can see that happening for a number of reasons.  I think it would improve our chances considerably.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@bigmacondawg  

Then why do you obsess so much over Tech?  Sounds like YOU are the stupid one here.  It smacks of insecurity to me, since Tech is the only team the mutts can beat on a consistent basis.  Penis envy, maybe, because you KNOW Tech grads are smarter than you ever thought about being.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@MikeBanning @GeorgeStein  Well, Auburn and Florida are UGA's only rivals that are on the level of Tech.  South Carolina has become one recently with the addition of Spurrier and them actually getting good.  Before that it was more of a rivalry from SC fans point of view than UGA fans.  Tennessee is more secondary and really isnt a rivalry as much as just a good program that is a division game.  Clemson is a more traditional rival than Tennessee, but they just don't play them often enough.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Then you launched into an irrelevant diatribe about all kinds of nonsense.  They two seemed connected.


Also, if you think playing Clemson every year is equal to playing BC, you're either high, stupid, or (more likely) both.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@MikeBanning @SupersizeThatOrder-mutt 

If you can't offer proof, then what you post has no credibility at all.  You will probably come up with something about getting rid of the REQUIRED permanent crossover opponent, but that has nothing to do with getting rid of Clemson, other than that Clemson is Tech's permanent crossover opponent.  Why would he SPECIFICALLY want to get rid of Clemson, since he has a winning record over them AND, contrary to what you claimed last night, a winning record over Dabo.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Even if you posted a link to that, it doesn't confirm that he is "working behind the scenes."   If it is in an interview, that is, by definition, not behind the scenes.   Second, it's not his call.  Period.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@MikeBanning  

Proof please.  In everything you have posted both last night and this morning, you have done nothing except to post CONJECTURES and ASSUMPTIONS on your part.  I have NEVER heard CPJ or anyone else at Tech say they want to get Clemson off the schedule.  That is just more of your typical BS

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Do you have ESP?  


You originally said that Johnson believed the schedule was unfair because we play Clemson and VT plays BC.   I asked if you disagreed with that.   Six comments later you have not answered the question.   I think that qualifies as deflecting.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Straw man.   Keep trying.   Maybe you'll figure it out one day.


And, yes, you are deflecting.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Not one thing you mentioned is relevant to whether it's fair or not.   Try to keep up.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@GTMan1949  

You think the mutts felt like that in the 50s when Tech won 8 in a row?  We owned them then, and they have pretty much owned us since then, but that's no reason to cancel the series.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @Birmingham__Jacket  

UGA would make more $ dropping Tech and playing USC or Notre Dame in a kick-off classic or substituting a high profile TV game vs.Texas, etc.  The problem is, they would be reluctant to do so, because their chances of losing would increase significantly.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@GTLee  

Personally, I think Clemson and Tech should be in the same division.  Then the crossover argument would be moot

GTLee
GTLee

You (once again) missed my point, Bham. You asked why I wanted to drop Clemson. It's not that I want to drop Clemson, I want to drop the "permanent crossover" so that we see all the other divisional teams more often. I would feel the same way if Wake Forest were our perm crossover.

My preference has nothing to do with selling tix.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @MikeBanning @GTLee  

Ditto for the recruiting classes.  I know Clemson has signed some really good ones, fairly consistently for a long time.  They have been one of the traditional ACC favs for a long time.  Thus, their reputation for "underperformance", that got Tommy fired.

GTLee
GTLee

Not sure how you "know" what CPJ thinks. I personally would like to see the other division teams rotated more often. I also wouldn't mind keeping perm crossover plus 3 teams each year, but that would mean a 10 game conf sched (yes I saw you advocate that earlier)

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

@GTLee  

"I don't care that it is Clemson."

------

If your job was to sell tickets and generate revenue for the athletic department, you would.

Clemson sells.  I've been to enough home games vs. WF, Duke and NCST to know how many empty seats there are.