The Atlantic Coast Conference has officially announced its scheduling model for football and basketball once the conference expands to 14 teams with the coming additions of Syracuse and PIttsburgh.
First, the customary man-in-charge quote:
"We have been engaged in discussions on the various options for integrating Pitt and Syracuse since early fall," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "It's a tremendous tribute to the leadership at our schools that we will be able to seamlessly add Pitt and Syracuse at the appropriate time when they become full playing members."
And now, the football skinny:
- The two-division format will not be shaken up, just added to. Syracuse joins the Atlantic and Pitt joins the Coastal. Since the ACC was smart enough to create divisions arbitrary to geography, there's little in the way of debate here.
- Accordingly the "crossover partners" won't change, either. Syracuse and Pitt will become each other's cross-divisional opponent.
- When Pitt and Syracuse join, the ACC will feature a nine-game regular season schedule, with each team playing its six divisional rivals every year, and a rotation of cross-division opponents that favors the "crossover partners" above:
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).
Basketball will see some significant changes as well:
- As the conference previously announced, teams will play an 18-game conference schedule beginning in 2012-13. There will be no divisional model like football.
- Each school will have one primary partner (it's a buddy system!): 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.
- Over a three-year cycle, teams will play every league opponent at least once with the primary partners playing home and away annually.
- 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.
Confused? The conference states it's trying to concentrate natural rivalries and still allow for variety:
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.