The elusive nine-game conference schedule will remain that as the ACC athletic directors have voted not to expand yearly league games from eight.
#BREAKING: #ACC ADs vote to continue playing an eight-game league schedule with at least one Power Five nonconference game. #ACCFootball pic.twitter.com/XAU2d7EIP4— ACC Football (@theACCfootball) October 5, 2016
The conference is sticking to the status quo, which also requires league teams to play at least one Power 5 non-conference game as well.
From where I’m sitting, the move definitely hurts the Syracuse Orange in the short-term and even in the long-term.
First and foremost, Syracuse has done a pretty terrible job scheduling for the future (as John will gladly tell you). SU has backed itself into a corner with gaps in the upcoming schedules and is only just getting around to filling the future skeds with opponents. In years past, this had led to Syracuse scheduling above it’s means, which is one of the key reasons the program has never been able to take the next step for a sustained period.
Adding a ninth conference game would have alleviated this stress in a big way. Just like that, all SU would have to do in years it wasn’t playing Notre Dame was schedule Colgate or someone like them, a MAC/CUSA school, and a smart P5 opponent (we can dream). As-is, that extra slot to fill has been a tough nut for SU to crack and could continue to force the Orange into games they’d rather not play if only because they don’t have a choice.
Furthermore, it’s pretty stupid that Syracuse will have played Notre Dame four or five times by the time they play a full home-and-home with some ACC Coastal opponents. Teams like Virginia Tech, Miami, and Georgia Tech barely even feel like conference rivals because, well, we’ve barely played them and barely will. What’s the point of a conference if you don’t play the teams in it?
A quick scan of the roster also tells you that SU could use as many games in Georgia and Florida as they can get. A nine-game schedule would have meant quicker rotation and more chances to get in front of coveted recruits. Maybe it’s not a make-or-break thing, and maybe we don’t want to play those games too often cause we’ll probably lose, but that’s what being in a conference is supposed to be about.
There are greater tragedies in the world of college football but, at least on paper, a nine-game schedule seems like it would have benefitted SU in the long run. We know DOC Gross was a big fan but we don’t know how John WIldhack felt (or voted). It’d be interested to know, especially if he was against it, so that we could understand why.