The ACC has announced the new scheduling formats for football and basketball which includes one rather disturbing change in basketball.
A breakdown of the future scheduling models include:
The Atlantic and Coastal divisions will remain the same with Syracuse joining the Atlantic and Pitt joining the Coastal. The current primary crossover partners will remain consistent with Syracuse and Pitt becoming primary crossover partners with each other.
When Pitt and Syracuse join the ACC, the league will play a nine-game conference schedule. The format will consist of each team playing all six in its division each year, plus its primary crossover partner each year and two rotating opponents from the opposite division. This six-year cycle allows each team to play each divisional opponent and its primary crossover partner six times (three home and three away) while also playing each rotating crossover opponent two times (one home and one away).
Men's and Women's Basketball:
As previously announced, the ACC will play an 18-game conference schedule beginning in 2012-13.
When Pitt and Syracuse join, each school will have one primary partner (Boston College and Syracuse; Clemson and Georgia Tech; Duke and North Carolina; Florida State and Miami; Maryland and Pitt; NC State and Wake Forest; Virginia and Virginia Tech).
The scheduling model will be based on a three-year cycle during which teams will play every league opponent at least once with the primary partners playing home and away annually while the other 12 rotate in groups of four: one year both home and away; one year at home only; and one year away only. Over the course of the three-year cycle primary partners play a total of six times and all other conference opponents play four times.
The format allows each program to see opponents with more regularity and creates an increase in competitive balance throughout the teams. It was determined that all 14 league members will continue to compete in the ACC Men's and Women's Tournaments and a decision on the Tournament formats will be announced at a later date.
In football the ACC will go to a nine game conference schedule. Syracuse will go to the Atlantic division with Pitt ending up in the Coastal. The current permanent crossover opponents will remain the same meaning UNC and NC State will continue to play their annual game versus each other. A nine game schedule also means teams will have seasons where they play five roads games and only four home games in ACC play.
In basketball the schedule will move to 18 games and everyone will be reduced to one permanent partner instead of two. That means UNC and NC State will no longer have yearly played each other twice a year. UNC's permanent partner will be Duke and NC State will be attached to Wake Forest. All non-permanent partner games are setup on a three year cycle with teams playing once in the first two years then twice in the third year.
This change will obviously generated the most controversy among those of us who are ACC traditionalists and have long been irritated over what expansion has done to dilute the basketball product. Let me be clear, I am not necessarily knocking expansion because it is what it is in today's college athletics landscape. However the lack of a round robin in basketball bugs me to no end but because UNC still had home-away games with both Duke and NC State I could live with it. Now we have a situation where the ACC it taking away something that, regardless of how it has gone over the past twenty years, is still two games that generate some passionate feelings among the fan bases. Not only that but the last time UNC and NCSU did not play twice a year was 1919! That is a long history of games now being pushed aside and right when it appears NC State might be close to finally getting their act together.
Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about it. With the rash of conference expansion the ACC moved to keep itself viable in whatever future is ultimately carved out. There money coming from ESPN is far more important the preserving the traditions of ACC basketball which ultimately put the conference on the map in the first place. The N&O's Joe Giglio best summed it up on Twitter:
Today's news in short and stop me if you've heard this before: good for football, bad for basketball
This is what expansion has wrought. Welcome to the new ACC.