Update (2:30 p.m. ET): It's official. ACC commissioner John Swofford announced that the conference will stick with an eight-game conference schedule but teams must schedule one additional game against a power conference team beginning in 2017. Notre Dame fulfills the non-conference game requirement.
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Much was made about the SEC’s decision to stick with an eight-game conference schedule, and now it looks like the ACC may be following suit.
A report CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that “maintaining an eight-game scheduling model” in the ACC has “significant support” leading into a vote among league athletic directors this week.
“Momentum seems to be going that way but a discussion and vote is a few days away,” North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham told CBS Sunday night.
The ACC is the last of the five power conferences to make a decision whether to schedule eight conference games or play nine games. One conference AD told CBS that the issue has already been discussed among officials for months leading up to this week’s meetings and subsequent vote, which “should come Tuesday or Wednesday,” per the report.
League officials will also reportedly consider a model resembling the SEC’s which includes an eight-game league schedule plus an additional game against a team from another power conference. Additionally, the ACC already has an agreement in place with Notre Dame for the Fighting Irish to face five ACC teams per season.
The Pac-12 and Big 12 already have nine-game conference schedules and the Big Ten, which will welcome Rutgers and Maryland this season, will begin using the nine-game model in 2016.
Several Pac-12 coaches spoke out against the SEC’s decision to stick with eight games earlier in the month, including Stanford’s David Shaw.
"I've been saying this for three years now: I think if we're going to go into a playoff and feed into one playoff system, we all need to play by the same rules," Shaw said. "Play your conference. Don't back down from playing your own conference. It's one thing to back down from playing somebody else. But don't back down from playing your own conference.
“My take is to say, ‘OK, the rest of us are playing our conference. We’re playing nine out of 12 teams in our conference. Why can’t you do the same thing?’”
Other Pac-12 coaches, including UCLA’s Jim Mora, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich, Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez and Washington’s Chris Petersen voiced similar sentiments.
From the perspective of Pac-12 coaches, an eight-game schedule gives teams an advantage of potentially scheduling a weak opponent on its schedule to boost its win-loss record when under consideration for a spot in the College Football Playoff. The ACC potentially staying at eight games will only add to the controversy.
Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said the number of conference games played won’t matter when determining its rankings. Instead, the committee will focus on a team’s overall strength of schedule.
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