Let's Talk About the SEC Schedule. Wait, What?

This evening the SEC announced its format for future football schedules. SEC teams will continue to play 8 conference games, 6 against division opponents, 2 against non-division opponents, and one of the latter two will be a permanent annual opponent. More importantly, the league mandated each school to schedule an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, or Pac-12 opponent on an annual basis. The SEC referred to it as a "strength-of-schedule component".

It's Sunday night, Game of Thrones is on in 5 minutes, and for some reason I'm writing about another conference's scheduling. Why?

Earlier today, CBSSports.com Jeremy Fowler published an interesting article, "ACC watching SEC's 8- vs. 9-game scheduling decision closely".

The ACC is closely watching how the SEC handles its scheduling format and will take that into consideration when it meets as a league May 13 in Amelia Island, Fla., sources said.

If the SEC stays at eight, that clears the lane for the ACC to remain in its current setup and strengthen what a high-ranking source calls a "mutual interest in scheduling each other" in the future.

One concept, according to the source, would keep the ACC to stay at eight under the stipulation that each team play at least one power conference team each year, hopefully more. The ACC and SEC already play several traditional rivalries such as Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Louisville-Kentucky and Clemson-South Carolina.

Perhaps, we'll see the ACC follow the SEC's lead when the league discusses the issue next month. ACC coaches, although not unanimously, are in favor of an 8-game conference schedule.

Now it should be a little more obvious what this has to do with Virginia Tech. If Fowler's source is correct, we may have some early insight as to what the future ACC schedule looks like. Additionally, there exist SEC schools that might consider adding Tech to their schedule.

A home-and-home between the Hokies and Volunteers is long overdue. For all the football reasons the Battle at Bristol makes sense, so do trips to Knoxville and Blacksburg, respectively.

Also, remember back to August of last year when the Wisconsin series got pushed back. David Teel will be our tour guide down memory lane.

Weaver said ESPN has helped Tech secure a home-and-home series with a marquee program to replace Wisconsin in 2016 and 17. He declined to identify the opponent and said an announcement is pending.

That never happened, and Tennessee filled the open spot on Tech's schedule in 2016. However, at the time I was told from multiple folks I trust the opponent Weaver alluded to was Texas A&M. No such announcement was ever made, but Tech still has other open dates in 2017 and '18. Perhaps there's still some interest between the two schools after a successful series in 2002-03. And that last thought is me theorizing, not dropping any credible insight.

I have to stress that non-conference schedules aren't set in stone. I know nothing for certain, but there are some clues to guess which way the wind might blow.


I've gotten into AMC's Turn, myself. It also happens to be filmed largely in Central Virginia.

Tennessee is a natural rivalry, but I'd also like to see us play Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia sometime out-of-conference.

It's all about The VPISU
VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804. Freeman Rebels, Keydets, Army Black Knights, NY Giants, NY Rangers, and ATL Braves.

I only want to play Georgia late in the season, after all their studs have gotten hurt.

Or early in the season when all their studs are suspended.

In Sam Rogers we trust.

TURN is a great show. I think Tennessee would be a great every year SEC opponent, if we could ever make that happen. Location wise, my guess is that we will wind up with more SEC East teams.

Live for 32. Ut Prosim. Let's Go, Hokies.

I really wouldn't want UTenn as a frequent opponent for the same reasons I don't want WV as a frequent opponent - fanbase.

The problem is that Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia are already spoken for. Could they add VT as a 2nd OOC game? Perhaps, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Forget game of thrones, Cosmos was on.

But yeah, scheduling home-and-homes with Tennessee would be preferable in my mind of A&M.


I have never understood why we don't play 10 conference games, one high quality opponent and your choice of playing a cupcake or another quality opponent. Boring football needs to be done away with.

Playing 10 ACC conference games WOULD be boring football. I like the concept of playing 1+ BCS conference teams OOC annually. We are now scheduled that way with our future dates with B1G opponents. I do wish those games would all be at Lane or the opposing home field. If we do a 'highlight' game in a neutral stadium, add it to the list, don't substitute it. Our home schedules are bland enough as it is, without eliminating the one biennial 'name' OOC game.

well, i think that all but guarantees the ACC will stick with the 6-1-1 format. I hope they realign the divisions. just go North/South with Miami in the North. My way would give us Clemson every year and probably piss uva fans off (though i wonder if the admin wouldn't secretly enjoy aligning more with the northern half of the conference)

North / South
BC / Wake
'cuse / dook
Pitt / GT
L'ville / NCSU
uva / UNC
VT / Clemson
Miami / FSU

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Ther would be a lot of pissed off VT fans too. That would be the old BE plus UVa. It would make sense I guess. I wish we could get to 16 and go pods.


Meh.... UVa, Miami, Pitt and BC are already annual opponents. We're talking about trading out UNC, GT and Dook for Clemson, Syracuse and Lousiville. There's not much difference in competition and we can recruit Pennsylvania and New Jersey to compensate for losses in North Carolina.

Virginia Tech would walk right up to you and punch you in the neck. They're just tougher. Cowherd 3:16

That would cripple our recruiting efforts in NC. We already have it bad now that we only play down here every other year instead of annually, but this would be the death knell. But of course it wouldn't hurt UNC or UVa with their annual series.

I would hope Whit is doing everything in his power to block a North South alignment.

I am awaited in Budhalla. Whitness me!

i did think about that. the other option would be splitting NC in half and sliding Miami and L'ville to the south, but then the competitive balance would be a little off. i know that can correct itself over time as teams settle in and coaches change, etc, but i though having L'ville and Miami in the North was more important than 2 NC schools (i'm thinking dook and UNC would have been the 2). besides, Carolina recruiting is why i kept made Clemson our annual crossover. and with 4 NC schools in the south, we would play a NC school 2 out of every 3 years over the 12 year cycle to get through the full division.

we have to be careful not to just look at the division names/perception, but to look at the actual schedule impacts. by aligning as i showed above, we would essentially be replacing dook, unc and GT with 'cuse, L'ville and Clemson as annual opponents. i think the latter 3 look a whole lot more attractive than the former...

for uva, they would be replacing dook and GT with 'cuse and BC, which is arguably a wash.

for UNC, they replace Pitt, Miami and VT with Wake, Clemson and FSU.

at the end of the day, beyond the perception of North (old BigEast) and South, i don't think the actual football schedule changes are negative in any significant way.

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"Carolina recruiting is why i kept made Clemson our annual crossover"

How exactly does playing at Clemson every other year have anything to do with Carolina recruiting? Are North Carolina recruits going to watch and be impressed as our plane flies over them to Clemson, South Carolina?

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"If you watch TV news you know less about the world than if you just drank gin straight from the bottle."
-Garrison Keillor

i said Carolina, did not specify, but yes, the Charlotte area is on the SC border and has a lot of connections to Clemson.

I don't have to take this abuse from you, I've got hundreds of people dying to abuse me.

You replied to Alum07s statement regarding "NC recruiting". He did specify. The Charlotte-Clemson connection does little to address this as there is much more to recruiting North Carolina than some players in Charlotte with Clemson connections. Don't get me wrong, I like much of your hypothetical divisions, I just think that Clemson helping NC recruiting is a bit of a stretch.

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"If you watch TV news you know less about the world than if you just drank gin straight from the bottle."
-Garrison Keillor

it might not help, but Clemson + a NC school 8/12 years (and we can supplement with ECU if need be) would be on par with where we are today IMO. with last season's rotation changes, we now get dook and UNC at home in the same years if i'm not mistaken, so we're already out of NC every year under today's setup...

honestly, is NC recruiting more or less important than SC recruiting? does playing L'ville annually help us in southern Ohio at all? i just don't think playing UNC or dook impacts our overall recruiting as much as people seem to think...

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Except you can't put Miami in the North of a North/South ACC. BZZZZ!(buzzer) on the 'but Miami & F$U have to be in opposite divisions' thought, too. If you're doing N/S, then the only split comes in the state of NC. As for competitive balance, that cycles over the years. We're on the weak side now, we used to be on the strong side. There are lots of ways to split, but the basic problem is that everything over 12 schools is too big and dilutes the conference. Truthfully, everything over 9 schools does, but we're never getting back to the colonial days of the ACC.

i assure you it had NOTHING to do with catering to the idea of an FSU/Miami ACCCG. simply, i thought Miami might prefer to be in the North for football as long as it didn't break up their FSU rivalry, and it helped balance the divisions and kept all 4 NC schools together. we could split NC, but i liked having Miami and L'ville in the north better to be perfectly honest...

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Oh, UofL, definitely. The deal with Miami, though, not as much. I think NC State could replace them and provide a rival for us that could become pretty heated. I'm actually looking forward to having UofL & Pittsburgh on our schedule on a regular basis.

well, unless something changes, we'll only see l'ville twice every 12 years...

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As far as scheduling changes, I would like to see the ACC go to a 9 game conference schedule, lose the sub div 1 game and lose the fixed opponent from the other conference. The fact that it takes us almost 8 years to complete a home and away with the likes of Fla Sta and Clemson is ridiculous. If you want to keep the fixed opponent for the other side, then move UVA to the other side. Just some random thoughts.

I think that even if the coaches want to keep an 8 game schedule the fixed opponent has to go. The idea that we will have 5 year players cycle through would facing each of the other teams is idiotic.

that can be fixed by simply making ACC scheduling changes, you don't have to add a 9th game for that to happen

i think 9 games and no crossover is something almost all fans in the ACC would like to see, but now that the SEC has committed to 8 and essentially divided the conference in 2 when it comes to football, the ACC can easily stay the status quo. FSU, Clemson, GT and L'ville are all strongly in favor of 8 games because of their SEC rivalries, and several other coaches prefer 8 because of balance (home/away) and schedule flexibility OOC.

i think the ACC will almost certainly stay at 8, we can only hope they at least find a creative way to have teams play each other more. i fear, however, they will do nothing, keep the current division lineups and 6-1-1 format with no significant changes to the schedule at all...

we've heard talk of eliminating the current CCG requirements by the NCAA. it's been discussed previously, but assigning every school 3 permanent rivals while rotating the other 10 teams would allow us to play a full home and home rotation every 4 years with an 8 game schedule. just let the top 2 teams (with defined tie breakers in place) play in the CCG.

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With this mandate, I wonder if Littlepage's phone at UVA is ringing off the hook. The equivalent of playing a CAA team and meets the requirement. Although, the playoff selection committee will see right through something like that.

Hopefully it would be Texas A&M....the rest of the SEC can suck it.

I like Texas A&M as a team, a school and as an opponent, but if there is one SEC team with whom it makes the most sense for us to be annual rivals, it is Tennessee. Second would be Kentucky, but they're already committed to playing Louisville every season.

Virginia Tech would walk right up to you and punch you in the neck. They're just tougher. Cowherd 3:16

What about Vandy?

Meh... let them play Wake Forest or Duke every year. I've never had and feelings, good or bad, about Vandy.

Virginia Tech would walk right up to you and punch you in the neck. They're just tougher. Cowherd 3:16

More SEC games on the schedule will be a good thing. Hopefully they are serious about it on both sides. Could see the SEC lining up to add Wake, UVA, B.C. and some other bottom feeding programs instead of FSU, Clemson, VT.

The Dude Abides

Well, FSU and Clemson are already spoken for, as well as GT and Louisville. Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky don't have to change a thing. That's why fewer teams would go for them.

Maybe a random home-and-home here and there, but I wouldn't expect those schools to go often.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

Good point. Was not looking at the big picture.

Wouldn't mind a home-and-home with Auburn, Ole Miss, or Mizzou. Or back to LSU to avenge Frank's worst lose ever.

The Dude Abides

I like Auburn or LSU.

LSU because of what you said, and Auburn because the 2005 Sugar Bowl was thisclose.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

I hate the way the ACC schedule is structured right now..and it doesn't look like it's going to change >:(

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Well, I look at this year's schedule home games and last year's home games and think it doesn't help season ticket sales. Not many quality opponents at home this year although we do get a Thursday night.

Nebraska's fans were great and some real class. Gimme some of that kind of thing but less Marshall and ECU and I bet season ticket sales and Hokie club $ picks up.

The hard part is that you can't have a marquee OOC home game every year. If that were the case, we would be playing 2 marquee OOC games a year, assuming everything was a home and home, where the risks outweigh the rewards when these schedules were set. I know most fans would love to have that happen, but reality is that it won't happen every year. We will get that in 2015 with Ohio State and Purdue but then not until 2020-2023. 2020 we are partial members of the Big10 playing both Michigan and Wisconsin (home), 2021 we play Michigan and WVU, 2022 is WVU and Penn State, and 2023 it's Purdue and Penn State. During the time of the BCS, scheduling was done to give a competitive schedule that made a perfect season attainable. Now, with the arrival of the playoff, we will see more big games, but scheduling takes many years to set and even then isn't set until the season starts.

if we only have 8 ACC games, i hope we try to have 2 marquee games OOC instead of just 1. maybe not 2 home and homes as nice as that would be, but a campus game (home or away) and a neutral site game would be ok, too. having 2 campus games in one year would be nice, but i'm trying not to be greedy.

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Well, I only had 6 home games last year.
I only have 6 home games this year.
None of them were marquee home games.
I know we got kinda screwed with the conference realignment but, how long will we keep Miami be a marquee game and be satisfied with that?

If the ACC follows the SEC with 8+1 system, VT and UT need to come to terms:

Bristol-Home-Away, 3-year rotation starting with Battle in Bristol 2016.

ooh i like this. although im waiting to see what the actual game at Bristol is like. the environment should be over the top but viewing the actual game is probably gonna be less than desirable

VT CEE Class of 2016

"Exit Light. Enter night..."

I'm carefully researching binoculars but, I'm not gonna want to hold them to my face for 3+ hours.

I'll be rocking a pair of these:

Binocular Glasses

i think Bristol will be a good one time event, but not every 3 years. if you really want to do neutral, i think CLT would be a good option, but i would also be happy just going to home:home after Bristol.

wait, thinking about it more, why would i want to be tied to one SEC school? i want to see aTm, Auburn, LSU, and even the lesser names for mixing up the road trips. there are over 70 big time college football schools, i don't want to be married to any i don't need to be!

3 year series with UT, then move on to a new girlfriend!

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For the rivalry. VT and UT have a rivalry based on local, and translates when the teams actually play. Play them every year, top-tier match-ups will occur, dramatic wins, horrific loses. You can't build an on-field rivalry only once every 10 years...

aTm, Auburn, LSU should be in addition to the UT rivalry.

while i envy your optimism, i wouldn't get excited about seeing 2 SEC teams on a VT schedule any time soon...maybe Whit will prove me wrong.

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Here's the problem everyone has when thinking about division alignment in the ACC. Really, the only complaint we have is that our crossover rival is terrible, and I have to admit, that is the case. We should not have been given Boston College. We should do everything in our power to make sure Boston College is no longer that crossover rival.

The thing is, when the conference was originally set and the divisional alignments were made, they were for the pure intent of parity and creating even divisions that would end up dogfights every year. And I have to admit, they succeeded in their goal. One of the main complaints I hear is that we don't get too many marquee home games in the ACC anymore. Well, think about it. When the conference was set up, you had divisions of 2 marquee teams, 3 middle of the road teams that could explode at any point, and a bottom feeder that really had no hope. We are one of the 2 marquee teams in the Coastal, and the cross-divisional rivalries among the other 3 in the conference were due to long-standing rivalries that went back further than our own relevance. We were put in the best possible position to make the conference interesting every year while still providing us the best possible chance at finishing the year in the national title picture. And considering some of the teams we've had in that picture (with the terrible offenses they've had) late in the year in the past, you can't argue the result was not met.

If we want to have a marquee home game, from now on its up to Whit, Frank, and his successor to make it happen. Its not the ACC's job to hand feed us a great home game every year, not when we ARE that home game for others. You can't be the man and whine that you're not getting to play the man.

I am awaited in Budhalla. Whitness me!

You can't be the man and whine that you're not getting to play the man.

We did that 3 days ago.

We want somebody else to hold up their end of the bargain and contend for the coastal every year instead of Chopblock U., so we can get the marquee game we were promised.

Long time lurker....first time poster..

I completely agree...the divisions have done exactly what the ACC originally set them up to be....relatively even each with two marquee teams. Now, there is likely to be a bit of a power shift to the Atlantic with the upgrade of Louisville for Maryland. I would rather see Louisville in the Coastal as I think it sets up a nice regional rival for us and probably keeps division strengths more even, but I don't think major realignment is likely to happen as long as we have 14 teams. Best case scenario in this situation would be to get Louisville as our permanent cross over opponent. Playing BC every year is the worst!!

The ultimate solution is to convince ND into joining (if its even possible), add a 16th team and form regional pods. This easily allows a schedule that has every team come through Lane at least once every four years (assuming a 9 game schedule). Until then, I really wish the ACC would just do away with the crossover rival, which would allow us to see more teams from the Atlantic division more often.

i think FSU specifically requested an annual game with L'ville when they specifically requested L'ville over UConn and cincy (if you believe the blogosphere rumors). i agree that L'ville, Pitt, VT and uva are set up geographically for rivalries to form, but not if we can't all play each other on a regular basis...

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Until we start winning on the national stage we're not going to get our way in regards to what we want scheduling-wise. FSU just won the National Championship, their 3rd since joining the ACC. If we want the ACC to start doing us favors, we have to start doing the conference some favors, and getting beat by Kansas and humiliated against Stanford is not going to cut it.

I am awaited in Budhalla. Whitness me!

Another option that isn't talked about much, but that would create a lot of great matchups for TV (aka unbalanced divisions) is an East/West split. Draw a line roughly from Tampa to Rochester and you have:

annual rivals listed with one another
East / West
BC / L'ville
'cuse / Pitt
uva / VT
unc / GT
dook / wake
NCSU / Clemson
Miami / FSU

i don't think the conference loses any primary or secondary rivalries. both divisions have teams in FL, NC and VA, key recruiting territories. TV would LOVE this!

only crossover i might change could be swapping L'ville and GT. GT/BC and UNC/L'ville might be more attractive games in the long run, but it was a coin toss for me.

option 2: still east/west, but draw the line from western edge of tallahassee to the eastern edge of syracuse...

East / West
Miami / L'ville
UNC / Pitt
NCSU / Clemson
Dook / Wake
uva / VT
BC / 'cuse

Still preserves all primary and secondary rivalries, i think, but balances the divisions just a little more. VT would lose Miami but gain Clemson and L'ville. it's a good mix of old and new in each division, which might be better for the long term health of the league.

I don't have to take this abuse from you, I've got hundreds of people dying to abuse me.

I don't like losing Miami, but that second one looks MUCH better.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

I just got a text from my brother who goes to TAMU. Apparently the rumor in college station is that there is a high possibility they might play us starting in 2016.

Texas A&M and Tennessee in the same year?


I am awaited in Budhalla. Whitness me!

But seriously, that would be awesome.


when you said

starting in 2016

what do mean? annually? home-and-home?

VT CEE Class of 2016

"Exit Light. Enter night..."

I hope this means we're joining the SEC in 2016.

Looks like the ACC will stick with the 8-conference game format:

Update (2:30 p.m. ET): It's official. ACC commissioner John Swofford announced that the conference will stick with an eight-game conference schedule but teams must schedule one additional game against a power conference team beginning in 2017. Notre Dame fulfills the non-conference game requirement.


It's all about The VPISU
VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804. Freeman Rebels, Keydets, Army Black Knights, NY Giants, NY Rangers, and ATL Braves.

i'm certainly not surprised, but i am disappointed...it's not really a conference rivalry when you only play each other twice every 12 years...

let's hope they find a creative way to resolve that issue within the 8 game schedule...

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I hope we add a second. We have big ten up to our eyeballs for nearly the next decade, I'd like to see a little SEC/PAC12/Big12 in there, too.