The ACC announced that they'll be sticking with the 8 conference game model for football. This is something that Florida State fans should appreciate for the long term, as it returns at least some flexibility to FSU's scheduling for the future.
But what about the short-term? The decision by the ACC to rescind the 9 game schedule instantly placed 14 league teams in the position of needing to add a game to next year's schedule just 11 months before next season starts. FSU fans should know what happens when games need to be replaced at the last minute. I think this move could be particularly problematic for FSU.
Right now, FSU has non-conference games against Wofford, Nevada, and Florida set for 2013. Nevada wants out, but getting out would require them to find an FBS replacement that won't cost FSU any more money, and I do not see that happening. The Florida game is set for Gainesville. While Nevada is a very solid mid-major and it will be fun to watch FSU against the masters of the Pistol offense, I do not believe that game will significantly move season ticket sales. The Wofford game obviously won't move the ticket sale meter, either.
We know that FSU will have to play Clemson, NC State, Boston College, Wake Forest, Maryland, and Syracuse. This is where things get a little interesting. I think it is likely that the ACC moves to a balanced intra-divisional home-away schedule. In other words: three divisional home games, and three divisional road games. Assuming the current home-away schedule sticks, FSU would play away at Clemson, Wake Forest, and Boston College. That leaves home games against Maryland, NC State, and Syracuse.
FSU will only have two cross-divisional games. One of them is against Miami, and that is scheduled to be at home. The other would have to be on the road. FSU had expected to host Virginia Tech at home next season, but because Miami is a home game, it seems likely that Virginia Tech will have to come off the schedule.
An away game at Georgia Tech was expected to rotate on to the schedule next season, but I am not convinced that one sticks, either. Georgia Tech's primary cross-over rival is Clemson, and that game would, based on the normal rotation, be scheduled in Atlanta next season. These things can be shaken up, so FSU fans in Atlanta won't want to howl just yet, but I suspect it is maybe a bit more likely that FSU plays in North Carolina or perhaps Pittsburgh next season.
The real problem for FSU - at least in terms of season ticket sales - is the home schedule. If, as I strongly believe, Virginia Tech comes off the schedule, FSU loses its second biggest sales pitch game of 2013. The home schedule is likely to look like this:
That "Unknown Opponent" needs to be a home game so that FSU can meet its quota of 7 home games. But to sell tickets, I think FSU is going to need to schedule a name-brand team to fill that slot. The likely only way to get that done is to set up a home-and-home.
Of course, the market of name-brand teams looking to set up home-and-home series with FSU isn't terribly big. Especially with the limitation that the game must be in Tallahassee in 2013. Just a suggestion, but after taking a very quick look look at FBSchedules, it seems like Texas A&M might have the room for just such a series (Texas is apparently stuck in tantrum mode for the foreseeable future). Stanford might be another option. Caveat: who knows how accurate that site is.
Note: one option that has been discussed is for some ACC teams to play against each other in 2013 as a non-conference opponent. In a pinch that might be fine, but unless FSU somehow gets Virginia Tech to volunteer to play in Tallahassee in 2013, I don't see it as solving the problem for FSU, which is selling tickets.
Am I off-base, or should Monk Bonasorte be placing calls to some high profile programs right now with a 2013-14 home-and-home contract in hand?