Some big news from the ACC's spring meetings is emerging this week. On Tuesday, the ACC announced a change to the conference tournament format beginning in 2015--you can say goodbye to that Sunday afternoon championship game. The ACC tournament will begin on Tuesday going forward, setting up a prime time Saturday night title game. The semifinals will also air in prime time on Friday.
The alteration makes good sense from a television exposure perspective, clearly, but a part of my childhood (well, another part) died when I heard about it. Friday being semifinal day going forward, the tournament starting on Tuesday ... it ain't right, man! I'm sure I'll be completely over it after a few years, though.
In football news, the ACC will not be moving to a nine-game conference schedule, instead opting to stay at eight while requiring each school to schedule one Power Five opponent or Notre dame for a non-conference game every season. This is nearly identical to the model recently adopted by the SEC, with the only difference being that the ACC specifically includes Notre Dame in the Power Five requirement. The ACC is also mulling whether or not to count BYU, Army, and Navy. BYU definitely should qualify.
With the Notre Dame scheduling agreement kicking in this season, a nine-game conference slate was never going to fly--the Swoff said as much on Monday--particularly with opposition from Florida State, Clemson, and (I assume) Georgia Tech, which are already locked into tough annual rivalry games against SEC schools.
I've been ambivalent over the entire eight/nine game issue, but I think I actually prefer the 8+1 model since it will (in theory) force us to schedule some interesting road trips outside of the region that we wouldn't be inclined to line up otherwise, versus just playing one extra game in a familiar place against a familiar league foe. Schedule diversity, yes please.
The new Power Five requirement, plus the sporadic appearances by Notre Dame on the schedule, should make for more consistently enticing OOC lineups, and it officially makes the mind-numbingly dull slate we're getting in 2014 an aberration. I'm all for that.