Earlier in the week, it was reported the ACC would remain at an eight-game conference schedule for football, with a requirement to play at least one other “Power Five” conference team in non-conference play. This requirement shouldn’t be an issue for the Orange as it has already done this in the past, playing teams like Northwestern and Penn State in non-conference games last year. However, this is a good move for the conference as it requires teams to play better teams and it ups the profile of the conference as a whole.
But this does bring up another interesting scenario for ACC teams that was brought up this week. Reports say that ACC teams could begin playing other ACC teams in non-conference play. This goes back to something Dr. Gross started last December when he proposed changing the divisions in the conference. Once again, Dr. Gross seems to be at the front of this charge, saying, “Everything’s on the table.”
This fits with what Gross said in December. Gross wants to get the Orange into games in bigger markets. This could allow SU in places like Miami, Boston and Atlanta more often, bringing the Orange more exposure on TV and to areas of the country it wants to recruit from more often. For example, it can be very difficult to recruit from Florida without being able to tell kids they will play games close to home.
So what does this mean for the Orange? Well, maybe they can start playing Miami on a more regular basis again after playing them for nearly a decade in the Big East. Same with Virginia Tech. Another big factor could be scheduling games with Georgia Tech. Yes, Georgia Tech smoked SU last season, but it would be important for the Orange to keep its presence in the Atlanta area for recruiting as well as satisfying a large alumni base in the area.
Bottom line, the ACC has a chance to be innovative with its scheduling. It could sound silly to have a team like Miami, Pitt or Georgia Tech on the schedule as a non-conference game one year and a conference game the year before, but it would be a welcomed step for the Orange. As Gross said in December, SU would love to get into the bigger markets more often, and there is really no reason that any two teams should go 10 or 15 years without playing each other.
This is not saying that team needs to schedule a conference team in non-conference play, but when the league is mandating that teams play a power-conference team every year, this is one way to get it done. Not every other conference has the same scheduling rules, and not all other power-conference schools will want to play ACC teams. This is just one solution to that. But it also solves Gross’ previous concern of missing out on some of the bigger markets for long periods of time. Because of these concerns, look for the Orange to play some ACC teams in non-conference play in the near future.
Posted by: Seth Goldberg