Ever since the ACC announced that they would expand to 14 schools with the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, it has been speculated across message board folk and sports writers that the ACC would try to reach 16 schools at some point with Notre Dame being one of the schools the ACC would reach out to. Since Notre Dame is the big fish that all conferences would like to catch, does the ACC really need a 16th school if they were able to get them? Perhaps the higher ups in the ACC has considered all options with a 15 and 16 conference set up already, but just in case it has not been considered, I am going to pitch this idea of a 15 school conference set up. I use these division alignments as more of a suggestion rather than a rule.
1 Notre Dame
2 Boston College
5 Virginia Tech
4 Wake Forest
5 Georgia Tech
3 NC State
This division set up can be used for football and basketball. We'll start with football and an 8 game conference schedule. As you are already aware, it's important to the larger public schools to have at least 7 home games for economic reasons, an 8 game conference schedule will insure that continues without scheduling conflicts. You will notice that in this model all the important football rivalries are intact.
Obviously the division opponents will play one another every year. The cross division games will be the schools with the same number next to them; Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pitt will play each other every year; Boston College, Clemson and Maryland will play each other every year; and so on. The other 2 games will be one other team from each division and it will rotate home and away after every year until the 2 games are completed.
If allowed by the NCAA, the ACC can be the first conference to implement a 4 game playoff system between 3 division winners and a wild card team. The #1 team can host the wild card (#4) team, the #2 team can host the #3 team on their own field. The winners of the semi-final games go on to Charlotte or where ever the ACC Championship Game is held. If the NCAA does not allow such a set up, then the 2 best conference teams determined by conference record or a series of tie breakers will determine who plays in the ACC Championship game.
In basketball the ACC could go to a 20 game conference schedule. All division opponents as well as the aligned cross division opponents play each other twice and every other team once, rotating home and away for every other season.
The ACC tournament would have the top seed getting a bye in the first round. The other games would have the #2 vs #15, #3 vs #14, #4 vs #13, etc. The second round will have the #1 team play the winner of the #8 vs #9 game.