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ACC Non-Conference Scheduling, 2009 Edition

In what has become both an annual tradition and cheap filler content, here's my bullet-pointed breakdown of the ACC football schedule for the upcoming season:

  • In scheduling games that are interesting, the ACC continues to hang at about the same level they did last year. 20 games are against BCS conference teams, and another three are against small schools that are in the Top 25 of the preseason coaches' poll. The conference seems to be drifting more towards a bifurcated schedule, split between upper echelon opponents and those to embarrassing to sell tickets for, with an ever shrinking middle.
  • The SEC continues to be the most played conference, in no small part due to the rivalry games that end the season with Florida (FSU, 11/28), Georgia (Georgia Tech, 11/28), and South Carolina (Clemson, 11/28 as well as N.C. State, 9/3). There's also Alabama (VT, 9/5), Mississippi State (GT, 10/3), and Vanderbilt (GT, 10/31). This is the first time Vanderbilt hasn't played either Duke or Wake in a tiny private school grudge match since 2004.
  • The conference is still avoiding the overindulgence on the Big East of '06 or '07, facing only Connecticut (UNC, 9/12), Pittsburgh (N.C. State, 9/26), Rutgers (Maryland, 9/26) and South Florida (FSU, 9/26 and Miami, 11/28). 
  • They're still facing their fair share of midwest teams though, with Big 12 opponents Baylor (Wake Forest, 9/5), Kansas (Duke, 9/19), Nebraska (VT, 9/19), and Oklahoma (Miami, 10/3) as well as the Big 10's Indiana (Virginia, 10/10). And when you add Notre Dame (Only BC this year on 10/24; down from 2, 3, and 2 of the last few years), and the Mountain West's Brigham Young (FSU, 9/19) and TCU (Virginia, 9/12 and Clemson, 9/26) and the ACC will be getting a lot of airtime in those weird state's where the television shows are all an hour early.
  • Conference USA gets its usual allotment, this year in the form of Central Florida (Miami, 10/17), Marshall (VT, 9/12), Southern Mississipi (Virginia, 9/19) and everybody's favorite East Carolina, this year getting a crack at UNC (9/19) and Virginia Tech (10/7).
  • But there's the ever-present embarrassment this year, and it comes in the scheduling of 14 schools from the euphemistically named Football Championship Series. A slight improvement over last year's 15 but still an overall disgrace, especially with all three triangle schools going for a double-helping of puff pastry teams. Only Virginia Tech goes the self-respect route and books a full slate of 1A teams, although their two 1AA teams last season doesn't give them much of a leg to stand on. They did book no one from a conference lower than Conference USA, quite commendable when compared to Boston College (Two MAC schools and a 1AA), or, sigh, UNC.
  • The final tally: 7 SEC schools, 5 from the Big East and Conference USA each, 4 from the Big 12, 3 independents, 3 from the Mountain West, 2 Pac-Tenners, 2 out of the MAC, 2 from the Sun Belt (or more accurately, Middle Tennessee, twice) one lonesome Big 10 school, and the 14 lapses in manhood mentioned above.
Oh, and if you're particularly curious about the change in scheduling over the last few years, here it is in graphical form. Just look at the way D1-AA schools are replacing the teams from minor D1-A conferences; is it any wonder the schools outside the BCS are pretty much screwed when it comes to playing good teams?

Confplot09_medium