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ACC Football: Conference Championship Deregulation Doesn't Create Needed Change

Well, this is unfortunate.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

It's yet to be confirmed, but the Big 12-led conference championship deregulation campaign is a shadow of its former self. And that version is probably the one that's going to pass when the NCAA convention kicks off.

As you may recall, the original proposal -- co-championed by the Big 12 and ACC -- wanted full deregulation of league title games. For the Big 12, that meant holding a game with just 10 teams. For the ACC, it could have meant a three-division setup to fix the current imbalance of divisions.

Because the Big Ten enjoys trolling people and the SEC is happy to let someone else do their dirty work, though, the new proposal will not be anywhere close to that. Instead, "deregulation" as it's currently defined, is likely to just allow a 10-team conference with a round robin schedule to hold a championship game between its top two teams. This was a compromise on the part of the Big 12 to keep the Big Ten at bay. The Big Ten would not be affected by any sort of title game change by the ACC or Big 12, mind you. But Jim Delany fancies himself some defender of the game's traditions (no matter how young or pointless), so the Big 12 had to compromise. As a result, the ACC is back to square one.


So the question is now, should the ACC just stand pat? The non-geographic two-division setup of the league's divisions haven't truly worked since their inception in 2005. And with the addition of Syracuse and Pitt, along with Louisville too, the issues have only gotten worse. Both the Coastal and Atlantic have gone on extended runs of success against one another, mind you. But with permanent crossovers, and teams only facing each other once in a six-year span... this CLEARLY doesn't work, right?

For now, we'll have to wait. The Big Ten and SEC have made it clear they'll oppose any major deregulation, and the Pac-12 would likely follow suit. If the Big 12 doesn't need to expand to hold a championship game now (seems likely), they won't. So there's also less supporting votes for any sweeping change proposal by the ACC.

The ACC could, of course, fix its divisions without departing from the two-division convention. A North/South divide could potentially work, though you could also argue it would create further problems. A nine-game conference schedule could also be revisited, despite the wrench Notre Dame throws into it all.

More to come. Or maybe nothing at all to change in this constantly aggravating element of the ACC -- for Syracuse and many others. We'll wait to see if the ACC can find a solution that truly works for its future.