The moves and realignment in College Football over the last few years have made conferences change their schedule and though process. The ACC, like it’s “bigger sister”, the SEC, has decided to keep their conference schedule an 8-game one while slowly moving towards a tougher nonconference schedule, although it already doesn’t make much of a difference considering some of the annual rivalries most of their schools have.
The ACC athletic directors voted on keeping it eight games between conference teams for each school, and also forcing members by 2017 to play at least one team from another power conference (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12). Considering that Notre Dame will be playing five ACC teams each season and do fall into that category, it’s not going to be too difficult or much of a change to make it happen.
Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Louisville already have an annual game against SEC teams. Last season, Duke and North Carolina State were the only teams that didn’t play a non-conference game against a team from a power conference. The league still hasn’t decided on whether or not other independents BYU and Army will count towards the power conference rival obligation.
Outside the ACC, not everyone is happy. While in the SEC most head coaches seemed unhappy about the league remaining with a eight game schedule, in the ACC most seem to be content with the situation. David Shaw of Stanford thinks there should be more equality between the big conferences, but Jimbo Fisher of Florida State, speaking for his school, gives the example of playing Florida, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame next season being difficult enough.
Fisher has a point, but Shaw has one as well. The vote wasn’t a unanimous one, with the decision to stay with eight conference games coming through on 8-to-6, but that’s enough in the ACC to make a decision. It seems there are two driving forces: The move into the College Playoffs and life after the BCS, and money. Right now, making things harder for the schools while not getting paid more money for it doesn’t make sense for the conferences, so even though it might not be the “right” or “fair” thing to do, staying at eight games makes a lot of sense for the ACC.