The ACC announced on Wednesday that they have opted against an initial plan of going to a nine-game conference schedule. With the ACC expanding to 14 teams they felt at the time that a nine-game slate would work best once Pitt and Syracuse join the league in 2013.
The decision to remain at eight conference games is likely due to Notre Dame joining the league for all sports except football, but a deal was struck to have the ACC and Notre Dame play five games a year.
A nine-game league slate and playing Notre Dame every few years would make the out-of-conference scheduling tight for most teams. Georgia Tech, which plays Georgia every year, would be limited to just one non-conference game the years that they would be playing Notre Dame if there were to be a nine-game schedule.
Bud Elliot of Tomahawk Nation points out a negative in staying with an eight-game conference schedule in a 14-team league:
One downside, however, is that with the new seven-team divisions, the math dictates that teams will only play each non-fixed opposite division division team once every six years, because games against the opposite division will be reduced to two. The nine-game schedule was originally done to allow teams to play six division games and three against the other division.
This is a downside since some teams that normally would be playing each other will now be reduced to seeing them on the rare occasion, rather than on at least a semi-regular basis.