When it was announced that the Syracuse Orange would face the Wisconsin Badgers for the second straight season for this year's ACC/Big Ten Challenge, there was some consternation from SU fans about it.
Ends up, there's a whole lot more to this thing than just matching up a couple teams randomly.
Syracuse.com's Mike Waters spoke with ACC senior associate commissioner Paul Brazeau about the repeat matchup and how it all works. No surprise, the buck stops with broadcast partner ESPN.
Among the biggest factors confining scheduling for this year's Challenge:
- Quality of game (good team vs. good team)
- Home/road considerations
- Non-conference scheduling between the ACC and Big Ten
- Early-season tournament matchups
- Early-season tournament conclusion dates
Those last two considerations, particularly, have impacted things even more in recent years, as Brazeau also mentioned. This year, Virginia Tech, Miami and Nebraska play in tournaments that wrap up on Sunday, so they need to be pushed to Wednesday in the three-day (November 28-30) event.
According to Brazeau, the Syracuse-Wisconsin and Virginia-Ohio State repeat matchups are the 21st and 22nd next-year repeat matchups, respectively, in the history of the event. So basically, it's happened at least once every year of the 17-year series.
We've yet to get a date for the game, but since Syracuse faces South Carolina (in Brooklyn) on November 26, the Monday game (on November 28) is probably out.