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Replacing ACC Football Divisions With Permanent Rivals Scheduling Plan

We've discussed before, but why not do so again?

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Previously, we talked about replacing ACC football divisions altogether and using three permanent rivals while rotating the other five opponents. BC Interruption editor emeritus Brian Favat did too, using the pretty solid setup you'll see at that link. Jason Kirk and Bill Connelly put the idea to good use with the SEC this morning, acknowledging that league also has too many rivalries to make it work perfectly.

The ACC doesn't have this problem given its realignment history. From 1954 to 1971, it was an eight-team team conference, going back down to seven from 1972 (after South Carolina left) to 1982. It jumped back up to eight when Georgia Tech became a full member in 1983. Then up to nine in 1992 when Florida State became a full member. From 2004 to 2013, six more football members -- Miami, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville -- were added, while Maryland left the league following the 2013 season. With nearly half the league arriving in the last 25 years, the ACC enjoys a flexibility the SEC (with four new members in the last 25 seasons) simply can't.

On the flip side, instead of each team having too many rivals, most have too few. That makes for some awkward marriages, as you'll see below. Many are either rooted in the old ACC or the old Big East, but of course, you can't please everyone. Below are the proposed permanent rivals for each of the 14 schools:

ACC Permanent Rivals

As mentioned, there are debates to be had. Our Syracuse Orange get themselves an annual matchup with Pittsburgh, just like we complain about now. But the protected Boston College game and one against Louisville (who we sort of have some mutual respect/animosity toward) makes for a manageable group of games. The North Carolina schools are protected in their rivalries as much as possible, though UNC and Virginia's long-standing game throws that out of wack a bit. The Cardinals probably get the most underwhelming "rivals" here, but that's to be expected since they have the least history with all of the conference's teams.

Next, we schedule out the even years (since this is an even year). Fair warning: you're going to hate me for this. Obviously the point of this setup is to face all 13 conference foes in a two-year stretch. But some schools get a harder road than others. Syracuse is one of those teams, at least in even years:

ACC Even Years Schedule

Like I said: can't be perfect, and you can make a compelling case that for Syracuse, it can't be more difficult above. Clemson, Florida State, Miami and North Carolina are arguably the best situated programs in the conference right now, and facing them all in one year could be a tough draw for any program -- nevermind one that's sort of rebuilding.

On the bright side, in odd years, things are looking much more pleasant for SU:

ACC Odd Year Proposal

See? Only two of those programs (Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech) have been consistently good. Better for Syracuse, for sure.


Spending a good amount of time on this yielded the above, but I'm sure someone with more time on their hands could probably pull together a more balanced rotation for Syracuse and others. While at the onset, the goal was to do things like separate Florida State and Clemson, the Carolina schools, Pitt and Syracuse, etc., it was easier said than done.

Thoughts? Annoyed about the draw Syracuse gets here? Have a better idea if the ACC were ever to (smartly) decide to scrap divisions altogether and just match the two best teams in the conference championship game? Share your own ideas below.