Daryl Gross is rattling some cages about the ACC’s scheduling, and (shockingly) not everyone thinks he has the standing to do that. He’s sent a memo to the ACC powers asking that the league goes to a 9-game conference schedule, then mandating the other five opponents would be played the following year.
Naturally, it all looks a little “new kid in school wants better playground” for SU.
Here’s Dan Wolken (@DanWolken), who covers college football/basketball for USA Today:
“Couldn’t Syracuse have waited, like, at least 15 minutes after joining the ACC before complaining about the league’s scheduling?”
“If you want “fair” conference schedules, go back to 10-team leagues where everybody plays everybody – like the Big 12. Otherwise, shut up”
“Money grab, money grab, money grab – but let’s complain because we don’t play in Atlanta enough! Can’t have it all, folks”
Personally, the timing of Gross’ lobbying is poor, but his idea is correct (which sounds like most of Daryl’s problems in the past). If the ACC wants to be the strongest conference it can be, utilizing its strengths should be a priority. As much as the ACC wants to be taken seriously as a football conference, it’s still behind the SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and B1G. Even with the potential national champion, it feels like there’s a few haves (FSU, Clemson, VT, Miami) and the majority of have nots (everyone else).
So to help the have-nots (basketball schools who want to build their football program like Syracuse, Duke, NC State, UNC, Wake, Louisville) and have nothings (BC), allowing those teams the greatest exposure in markets like Boston, Miami and Atlanta makes sense. Playing in Florida and Georgia specifically helps recruiting in those states. Playing in big markets helps build brands. Playing in Miami and Atlanta is valuable for SU because of the alumni bases there (and for plenty of other ACC schools).
The misfire Gross has is asking for the annual rivalry games to be a victim of this new scheduling, which is short-sighted and self-serving. Sure, Syracuse-BC might not be a great football matchup. But Miami-FSU is important for the whole conference. UNC-NC State is vital for those two programs. They should not be sacrificed, and don’t have to be.
The 9-game conference schedule is a good one. The non-con matchups are normally nothing but filler anyway. Does SU need Tulane AND Wagner on the slate? But keep the annual rivalry games, while still making sure you play the other 5 schools as soon as possible. The idea that SU won’t come back to Atlanta until 2027 (think about that – 14 years?!) is ridiculous.
Gross is on the right track. He just has a problem with timing. And that’s nothing new.