NCSU's Tom O'Brien made his feelings known concerning the UNC-NCSU game being played as the regular season finale.
"I think it's a dumb game to play at that time of the year, because you're crossing divisions," O'Brien said Monday at the ACC media kickoff.
Since the ACC expanded to 12 teams in 2005, N.C. State has been in the Atlantic Division, while North Carolina has played in the Coastal Division. The division winners meet in the ACC championship game on the Saturday after the regular season concludes.
That means N.C. State could meet North Carolina in the ACC title game Dec. 5 in Tampa the week after the teams' scheduled Nov. 28 meeting in Raleigh.
Although a championship game meeting seems unlikely this season after the schools were picked to finish third in their respective divisions in the preseason media poll, O’Brien doesn’t want to take that chance.
"Certainly you don't want them or you don't want us again playing in the championship game (the next week)," O'Brien said. "We'd be much better served as a conference, I think, to work games within the Coastal Division or Atlantic Division the last game."
No doubt a legitimate concern but it is also a situation that would require both teams to either have already clinched their respective divisions or one in which a win by either team would put them in the title game but not knock out the losing team. In other words, we are talking about a fairly remote chance it happens. Still I am not sure why it much matters when you play each other as it related to the ACC Championship Game. Last season UNC and NCSU played two weeks prior to the title game so had they both won their divisions it would have meant them playing each other two weeks after the regular season matchup. Does that one week make it any better? Not really. This argument can be expanded to include whichever cross-divisional opponent you might end up playing in the final regular season game.
The other, probably more important factor, is UNC-NCSU is a fairly heated rivarly game within the respective fan bases. This game means a great deal to fans of both schools not to mention the uptick in media hype. Given the odds involved in winning an ACC title in football, more often than not, this game will be the Super Bowl for both teams. That is not to say neither school will not at least be competitive for an ACC title but during most seasons, this game will be the signature game on both teams' respective schedules. It is only fitting it is played the same weekend other huge rivalry games in college football are being contested. The rivalry factor is perhaps a bigger deal in college football than it is in college basketball. In reality there is only one, true, bona fide, hide the women and children, stock up on canned goods rivalry in college basketball and that is UNC-Duke(sorry Pat Forde.) In football there are multiple rivalries that result in destruction to public property and friends not speaking to each other for three days. UNC-NCSU certainly qualifies within the state of North Carolina and promoting a rivalry is possibly a greater priority than lining up the ducks for the poorly attended ACCCG which gets almost zero attention on a national level.