According to ESPN, the ACC and Big Ten are each considering the idea of playing non-conference games against their own conference.
Yes, you read that right. Not games featuring ACC vs. Big Ten, but ACC vs. ACC and Big Ten vs. Big Ten. And the games wouldn’t count in conference standings.
Yesterday, Penn State athletic director David Joyner told ESPN that they have had discussions about playing Big Ten opponents in non-conference games.
“That’s a unique concept we could talk about more,” Joyner said. “That’s a possibility.”
That was followed up by a report this morning from ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. ACC athletics directors and coaches have been discussing the very same thing for their own conference.
“Everything’s on the table,” Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross told ESPN.
“I think all the coaches felt like playing each other more, if there was a model for that, we’d be open to it,” NC State coach Dave Doerin said. “They are going to allow us to use that plus-one game in the conference as a nonconference game so that will be interesting to see where it goes. When we don’t have to play Notre Dame, playing Duke or Virginia or somebody from the Coastal that we don’t play will be a discussion we want to have.”
With the number of conference members in the ACC and Big Ten ballooning to 14, teams in opposite divisions don’t play each other very often. It’s worse in the ACC because of the eight-game schedule. Teams in opposite divisions may play each other only one time in 11 years due to the permanent crossover rivalries.
The bylaws of the ACC do not prevent non-conference football games vs. conference members, according to the report. It would be up to the schools to agree to the games. In fact, ACC baseball schools already play non-conference games against teams from their own conference.
Will this happen? It’s not likely, but you never know. If it does, Kevin McGuire of College Football Talk brings up an interesting question.
Would a non-conference match-up between ACC members count toward fulfilling that non-conference requirement? Should it?
Brett McMurphy later tweeted that the games would count towards fulfilling the non-conference game against a power-five team, a requirement for the ACC that begins in 2017.
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) May 14, 2014
Although playing an additional conference game would satisfy some people, it just doesn’t seem right under this scenario. If the ACC (and SEC) don’t want to play nine-game conference schedules due to the imbalance, maybe ten-game schedules should enter the discussion.