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Syracuse Football: Would a Nine-Game ACC Schedule Be Beneficial for the Orange?

If it moves from discussion to action, how would that affect Syracuse?

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

As you heard earlier today, the Atlantic Coast Conference is potentially look at a nine-game league schedule as a way to increase television inventory for an ESPN-owned network. To launch an ACC Network, ESPN needs as much marketable content as possible. While game replays, studio shows and fencing championships all sound fun, the network will be driven by revenue sports' live content. Specifically, live football content.

While divisional realignment, which could create more compelling weekly matchups on its own, is dead, the nine-game schedule also puts the ACC in position to create a more interesting, cogent football league. Obviously this has pluses and minuses for our Syracuse Orange. A look at those below:


Bails out Syracuse's inability to schedule

Should the ACC go ahead with this as soon as 2018, the open Orange dates shrink from 10 over those next four years, to six. No year would be complete just yet, but two years (2018 and 2019) would already have two of the three non-conference games set.

Allows Orange to actually play Coastal opponents

This goes for every other team too. But obviously adding another conference game means you actually get to play the other teams in the league every so often. So rather than two games against Miami, Virginia Tech, etc. over a 12-year stretch, you get one every three years. Overall, this helps build conference identity and a united league culture. On top of that, it's much easier to market to kids in those areas from a recruiting standpoint. One South Florida trip in 12 years is not a great sell. One every six is at least a little better.

Guarantees five home games to start, every other year

Every other year, Syracuse knows it's getting five league opponents at the Carrier Dome/Venue Name TBD. That's an advantageous start to getting at least six if not seven home games each of those seasons.

More Syracuse games on television

This is equal parts betting on the ACC Network's pick-up and the additional conference matchups being compelling enough to get wider distribution too. With an additional channel, and more games against name-brand opponents, it would stand to reason that SU would be more widely available to those who can't/won't rely on ESPN3/RSN..


Bails out Syracuse's inability to schedule

I don't believe SU should be forgiven for being unable to put future opponents on the docket, which is exactly what this does. It also leaves fewer open dates and options for Syracuse to actually schedule the smaller number of opponents it would need to. Which means they'd manage to eff it up, probably.

Tougher strength of schedule most years

Assuming the ACC still goes about scheduling a power conference team on top of the nine games (and for five teams each year, Notre Dame), that's a gauntlet for most programs. Syracuse, if it's trying to rebuild, or has a promising young squad that's steadily growing... is going to have its work cut out for them if Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Miami and say North Carolina at current form, are all on the schedule one year.

Guarantees five road games every other year

And this is the other side of the coin for the uneven setup. Giving Syracuse five road games at the onset means it's pretty likely there will be at least six on the schedule, if not more. Again, this is betting on SUA's inability to think logically with its scheduling practices... in any sport.

The permanent crossovers will stay in place anyway

It's unlikely that the "permanent crossover" rivals disappear under this format, meaning Syracuse is still playing Pittsburgh every year, for reasons still unbeknownst to us. Obviously the permanent cross makes it easy to just cycle two of the other Coastal teams each year to finish the cycle in three seasons. But who cares about that greater good? Get us out of this series, please.


Probably more I'm not even considering above. So feel free to weigh in below. Are you in favor, or against? What's your top benefit (and/or downfall) of a nine-game ACC schedule?