Wednesday, February 26, 2014

ACC Championship in Charlotte - Rest of the Decade!

Earlier this week, the ACC announced that its Championship Game would remain in Charlotte through the 2019 season.  Very logical, in my opinion, since it is an "ACC city", much like how Indianapolis is a "Big Ten city" or how Atlanta is an "SEC City" (despite the presence of an ACC team).

I think some folks were hoping that the ACC would go the route of Conference USA and the PAC-12 and play at one of the schools.  The likelihood of a sellout would perhaps be greater, but it would also be so much tougher to plan - particularly in years where a team doesn't clinch its divison until the last week!

Now, I'm fully in support of the neutral-site plan.  But I thought I'd do a little blog series and play "what if" concerning the different conference championship games over the years.

I'll start with the ACC, since that's where the most recent news came from.  Looking back at the previous 9 ACC Championship games, how might they have fared if held AT the school with the better conference record?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

ACC: No More Divisions?

There's rumblings that the NCAA could change its stance on how conferences determine their champions in a championship game.   Currently, each team must play all of the other teams in its division, and the two division champions will play each other for the conference championship.

But the ACC is thinking they might change that if the NCAA will let them, ESPN reports.

In 2005, I did not like the structure of the ACC championship game.  But that was because I saw my 11-1, 7-1 Hokies lose to a 7-5, 5-3 Florida State team that was clearly only the third or fourth best team in the ACC.  Coastal division members Miami (9-3, 6-2) and possibly Georgia Tech (7-5, 5-3) had arguments for being ahead of Florida State in the overall ACC rankings.

However, over the years, I have gotten better at seeing past the orange and maroon glasses.

The divisional structure is the only way to create a fair field when you have more teams than games allotted.  If you take care of business in your division, you have the chance to play the team that took care of their division, and everyone has equal access to the championship game.

What I think the issue really is for the ACC is their lackluster schedule.  With fourteen teams in the conference, each division has 7, while there are only 8 conference games on the schedule.  Since you can't play yourself, six of those games are tied up in division.  That leaves two games for the other division, but one is the permanent crossover opponent.  Now that leaves one slot for 6 other teams in the conference.  For Coastal teams (outside of Miami and Georgia Tech), they only get FSU and Clemson each once every 6 years, and once every 12 years at home.

Meanwhile, teams like Virginia Tech are stuck with playing teams like Boston College every year, for no logical reason.  The only thing we have in common are that we both came from the Big East (a year apart), and we both won our divisions in 2007 and 2008.  Oh, and both schools have bird mascots.

I've been keeping a list of every opponent VT has faced since I first started college in fall 2002 and how many times we've faced them.  Even with the year off, Boston College has topped that list, due to the two ACC rematches.  That means since I started college, we've played Boston College more than UVA, Miami, and Georgia Tech.  That does not sit very well with me.

The ACC tried to work around the limits that two extra teams put on the schedule by increasing to a 9 game conference schedule.  But then they made the deal with Notre Dame, and opted to go back to 8.

To the ACC I say, you don't need to make complicated championship rules to improve scheduling.  Cut out the permanent crossover, make some alterations to the divisions, and maybe go to 9 conference games.

So far, the Pac-12 and Big 12 have 9 conference games a year.  The SEC was considering it, and I'm not sure what the B1G is thinking.  But if any more conferences go to that ninth game, finding a quality out-of-conference opponent is still going to be tough.

With only 3 nonconference games, that still gives teams the option for an FCS team, a "Group of 5" team, and another major conference team.  Sure, every three years, you have to give one of those slots up for Notre Dame, but that can't be a bad thing.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What if? 2010 Playoffs

Just for fun, I also did a scenario for the hypothetical 2010 playoffs, mainly because I have that season on my Xbox game and wanted to play it out.

Since that would have been a season where the Fiesta and Peach Bowls were semi-finals, it meant no one was displaced from their normal bowl, and I could actually come up with matchups for all six bowls.

It's almost not fair to apply the playoff scenario to 2010, though, because the conference landscape was so different, but again, this is a hypothetical situation for me to play a video game.