Allowing ACC teams to play conference foes as required power conference game increases scheduling leverage

Stacy Revere

Monday, it was revealed that ACC schools will be required to play a game against a power-five opponent each year. For five teams each year, that minimum threshold will be satisfied by playing Notre Dame thanks to the new scheduling agreement. And four teams (FSU, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Louisville) never have to worry about the rule since they annually play an SEC rival.

But for the others, I wondered about something on Monday:

People thought I was joking, but this may indeed happen.

There are good and bad aspects to this.

Let's start with the bad: we want to see more true out-of-conference games! Both for our own entertainment, and to better hone metrics that compare conferences and impact strength of schedule. It also affords fun road trips for fans of schools. I know many FSU fans who still talk about the road trips they took in 2009 to BYU and to Oklahoma in 2010. Traveling for bowls is fun, but some bowl locations don't match the experience of an opposing stadium's gameday in another conference. Plus, playing a conference in an out-of-conference game guarantees that the conference is going to be adding a loss to its resume, and potentially one that could knock a team out of the bowl picture.

But, I don't believe this will happen all that much. For the most part, this can be used to re-ignite rivalries that were dispatched when the league expanded to 14 teams. For instance, Duke and N.C. State play just twice every 10 years now. Or Florida State and Georgia Tech. In both cases, the geographic and historical rivals should try to play more often. And certain former Big East rivalries, like Miami and Boston College, or Pitt and Boston College, could be re-ignited.

Other than that, though, there really are not that many compelling reasons to schedule these games.

Where this is most useful for ACC teams is in using it as leverage when negotiating the cost of games with other conferences in their quest to fill the required game. If this is not an option, the pool of potential teams is reduced from 63 to 50, creating scarcity, and potentially driving up the price some schools can demand. With the option of games against ACC opponents on the table, teams can use it as a negotiating ploy to avoid playing outrageous guarantees.

What are your thoughts? Let's discuss this further in the comment section.

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