With the SEC choosing to stick with the current 8 game format for football games we shift our eyes to the ACC to see how they will vote at their upcoming meetings. I thought that those of us not focused on the Derby could kick this one around for a bit.
Currently with the 8 game format...each team plays the 6 in their division + 1 permanent cross-divisional team + 1 other team from the other division that rotates every year. The big downside of the current format is that it will take a long time for the "1 other division team" to cycle around...example Miami will play at UofL this fall, they will not be back in Louisville for at least another 10 years. If the ACC went to 9 games and adopted the format of 6+1+2, those 10 years would be cut in half.
The major downside of going with a 9 game format is obviously every other year you have 5 road games and only 4 home games. Making a run for a conference title would be more difficult in those years and it would be easy to cry foul if you come up short while a team with 5 home and 4 road games goes to the conference championship in your place.
Earlier this year the Syracuse AD suggested that the ACC ditch the 6+1+1 format and simply play 8 teams per year on a constant rotating basis. This way each school would play every team in the conference at least every other year.
The ACC has asked the NCAA for permission to place their 2 best teams in the conference championship game (not necessarily the top team in each division). So last year it would have placed Florida St and Clemson in the championship game (instead of FSU and Duke).
If we are headed in this direction anyway, I say why not adopt a hybrid of sorts? I like the idea of permanent opponents, for tradition's sake. UofL doesn't have a "true" rivalry with any ACC school to speak of (but there are some good rivalry games in the ACC: FSU/Miami, Clemson/GT, VA/VT, Clemson/FSU, Miami/BC. I don't think those games should go away.
I would suggest 3-5 permanent games and a rotation of the others. Personally I think a 9 game schedule is better than just 8, but I wouldn't fight over it if there was more of a rotation among all 14 teams in the conference. With an 8 game format, you could have 3 permanent games 5 other games that alternate each year...with a 9 game format it would be 5 permanent and 4 alternating. That way FSU can play Miami every year and there can be more balance throughout the conference. To help with home/road issues, if I were running the ACC I say "We are going with a 9 conference game schedule, in years a team has 4 home and 5 road conference game they can schedule a FCS team to play, but in years when ACC teams play 5 home and 4 road conference games ACC teams are barred from scheduling FCS teams."
More conference games plus great permanent games plus more matchups from across the conference has to equal more TV money right? It certainly will make ACC football more entertaining, and would boost SOS at the same time.