FanPost

Re-zoning the ACC

The Syracuse AD recently pointed out some serious flaws with the ACC's divisioning and their plans for cross-divisional play. The biggest problem is that the move to 14 teams has changed the game if the ACC continues to only play 8 conference games each year.

The question remains, what does this mean for everyone involved? There are 14 teams as mentioned above and listed from North to South they are:

  • Boston College
  • Syracuse
  • Pittsburgh
  • Virginia
  • Louisville
  • Virginia Tech
  • Wake Forest
  • Duke
  • North Carolina
  • North Carolina State
  • Clemson
  • Georgia Tech
  • Florida State
  • Miami

There are some people who believe in geography (typically North/South) or the "zipper" methodology. However, it would seem to make the most sense to build it around your every year games and try to distribute the wealth. Ultimately, the biggest problem is that you have that Florida State would prefer to play both Miami and Clemson in every year. This means they would either need to be in the same division or you have a protected cross conference game. The protected cross conference game is the current problem with 7 teams divisions and 8 conference games. So, it would seem the easiest way to solve this would be either rezone or add a conference game. The likelihood of adding a conference game is low. So lets look at some rezones:

Current Structure

This is the design to keep the power even across both. The two divisions are fairly even as is, but this removes the protected cross division rivalry. This means no more yearly FSU-Miami game. I think it's more likely they go to 9 games and if that happens it would mean 2 cross conference (1 home, 1 away) that are different each year. You cycle and alternate home and away vs opponents.

Geographic Breakdown

This is my personal favorite, but there are several ways to go about this. There is the strict North/South

Strict North/South Adherence

North

South

Boston College

Clemson

Louisville

Duke

Pittsburgh

Florida State

Syracuse

Georgia Tech

Virginia

Miami

Virginia Tech

North Carolina

Wake Forest

North Carolina State

The biggest complaint with this is "you can't have Clemson, FSU, and Miami in the same division." However, the biggest complaint I see is that Wake Forest has been cut off from the rest of Tobacco Road (which is Wake's problem with the current divisions). So this plan won't work in just drawing a line. However, there's some wiggle room in the bunch. If we stick with North/South, the givens are:

North

South

Boston College

Florida State

Syracuse

Miami

Then, we go with a draft-esque setup for the rest. We will give the North the first "pick" because they are the worst of the two. They can draft from their cluster:

North/South Draft

In the first round, the North would go ahead and take Virginia Tech to add to their existing structure and the South would take Georgia Tech as it's the closest school to Tallahassee and gives them two teams rooted in the SEC territory.

North

South

Boston College

Florida State

Syracuse

Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech

Miami

If we are operating on the "draft" principle, the North would go for a steal here and take Clemson, thus breaking up the Clemson-FSU yearly matchup (but it's rivalry was rooted the Bowden Bowl and then divisional stakes so it would be easily absolved). Because of this the South would break up the basketball powers of the North and take Duke.

North

South

Boston College

Florida State

Clemson

Duke

Syracuse

Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech

Miami

After this it becomes rather trivial in the takes, but I imagine the next North takes Louisville and the South take North Carolina (that sounds weird, but the Duke/UNC rivalry lives), North takes Pittsburgh and the South takes North Carolina State. North takes Virginia and the South takes Wake Forest (completing the Tobacco Road). This gives us:

North

South

Boston College

Duke

Clemson

Florida State

Louisville

Georgia Tech

Pittsburgh

Miami

Syracuse

North Carolina

Virginia

North Carolina State

Virginia Tech

Wake Forest

I find this to be the most amicable and fair spread. It's a little weighted during Basketball season, but it doesn't matter much, football is the only thing the divisions really matter in currently.

Zipper Methodology

This became popular during the PAC12 talks on splitting all of your rivals for those "magical" conference title opportunities. Going on this methodology (which I believe doesn't work in the ACC due to many teams lacking in-conference rivals) it would look like

North

South

Florida State

Miami

North Carolina

Duke

Virginia

Virginia Tech

North Carolina State

Wake Forest

Clemson

Louisville

Pittsburgh

Syracuse

Georgia Tech

Boston College

So, the problem here is your outlier, which comes to be Miami who seems out of place, though if you move Georgia Tech over Florida State becomes an outlier. It's hard to come up with a good looking set here because Florida State and Miami are natural rivals.

Means and Extremes

This is what happens when I do homework while writing posts. In math, there is an idea of means (the averages) and the extremes (the outliers). When you look at the map of the ACC, there is a definite pattern that would match this concept. If you built divisions on this concept they would look like:

Means

Extremes

Clemson

Boston College

Duke

Florida State

North Carolina

Georgia Tech

North Carolina State

Louisville

Virginia

Miami

Virginia Tech

Pittsburgh

Wake Forest

Syracuse

I actually really like this except you have an entire division based on "you are far away from the other guys." However, it does work out decently well as FSU, Miami, and GT have a nice cluster and Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Boston College have a nice cluster. Louisville is the weirdest one as they are about 400 miles from the next closest school (Pittsburgh). But they are closer to Pitt and Georgia Tech than any of the "means" schools. There is a large part of me that likes this the best after generating it here. Also, from a scheduling standpoint, you maintain all of your natural rivals and only lose Florida State vs Clemson (which seems to be biggest trouble to keep in any realignment).

Scheduling

However a realignment occurs, it's important that it be done to avoid "protected rivals" as that is the only way to have 8 games and not end up with a once every 12 years scenario. Here are several ideas and I have heard others. All with the exception of the means and extremes have been mentioned seriously. Interested to see what TN thinks about these though.

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