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  1. #1
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    Changes to the ACC’s Format?

    http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/05/...g-changes.html

    I am sure many of us have recently read articles (such as the foregoing N&O piece) related to potential alterations in the ACC current sixteen game in-conference format, especially the possible change to an eighteen game conference schedule. Full disclosure compels me to state: (1) that I strongly favor the home-and-away round robin approach (that the ACC employed with tremendous success until the recent expansion) and (2) that I have always believed expansion to twelve members was a fiasco. However, twenty-two in-conference games is certainly not feasible.

    How would you modify the ACC’s format were you at this week’s meeting? Are two divisions (perhaps with annual readjustment to ensure competitive parity) sensible? What about returning to an annual home-and-away series for all traditional rivals (for example, Duke always having two seasonal games against UNC, Wake and State), rather than the ACC's current “contrived rivalries” approach (such as Duke-UMd and UMd-Virginia)? How can the format be modified to ensure fairness in Conference Tournament seeding and reasonableness in NCAA Selection Committee decisions?

    What are you opinions and recommendations?

  2. #2
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    Triad, NC
    Eighteen games is an improvement.
    The big four should ALWAYS play twice, along with other rivalries that have developed and those that should be developed. This makes sense from a fans standpoint and financially.
    Last edited by ThePublisher; 05-10-2011 at 01:18 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4decadedukie View Post
    http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/05/...g-changes.html

    I am sure many of us have recently read articles (such as the foregoing N&O piece) related to potential alterations in the ACC current sixteen game in-conference format, especially the possible change to an eighteen game conference schedule. Full disclosure compels me to state: (1) that I strongly favor the home-and-away round robin approach (that the ACC employed with tremendous success until the recent expansion) and (2) that I have always believed expansion to twelve members was a fiasco. However, twenty-two in-conference games is certainly not feasible.

    How would you modify the ACC’s format were you at this week’s meeting? Are two divisions (perhaps with annual readjustment to ensure competitive parity) sensible? What about returning to an annual home-and-away series for all traditional rivals (for example, Duke always having two seasonal games against UNC, Wake and State), rather than the ACC's current “contrived rivalries” approach (such as Duke-UMd and UMd-Virginia)? How can the format be modified to ensure fairness in Conference Tournament seeding and reasonableness in NCAA Selection Committee decisions?

    What are you opinions and recommendations?
    I would love to see an 18-game schedule. With the NCAA having several years ago increased the number of eligible games from 27 to 31 (with an exempt tournament), 18 games would not interfere with schools' ability to play a meaningful non-conference schedule. Indeed, the 13 non-conference games that would be available with an 18-game conference schedule is more than the 11 non-conference games previously available with a 16-game conference schedule and a 27-game max.

    The move to 18 games would also allow the league to increase the fixed partners to 3 per team, which could be accomplished by creating 3 4-team geographic clusters: North - BC, Maryland, UVA, VPI; Tobacco Road - Duke, UNC, NCSU, Wake; and South - Clemson, FSU, GT, Miami. Each team plays home-and-away against the teams in its cluster every season (6 games). For the remaining games, each cluster is split into pairs (an A and a B pair). In alternating years, the pairs play home-and-away against the A pair or the B pair in the other geographic regions - so, in year 1 Duke would play, for example, BC, Maryland, Clemson, and FSU home-and-away; in year 2, it would play UVA, VPI, GT, and Miami home-and-away (8 games). This way, each team would be guaranteed a home-and-away against every other team over the course of 2 seasons (rather than the current 3 season rotation). Then you play the remaining 4 teams (either the other A or other B pairs, depending on the season) once each (4 games, for a total of 18). And while I don't think the league would structure it this way (because keeping Duke and UNC in opposite pairs would mean each team gets a guaranteed home game against either Duke or UNC every year), you could give Duke and UNC essentially the same schedule each year by making them a pair in the Tobacco Road region.
    Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.

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  4. #4
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    from duke's perspective (not the fan's) I don't like the expansion of the ACC schedule. The 16 gamer provides 2 holes in the schedule which K is basically allowed to fill with whomever he wants. Recently these games have given us St. Johns, Georgetown, temple (and I'm too lazy to look up other OOC games we've played in those holes)...I think it is always good the more we play a variety of teams in a variety of locations. Forcing those games to be ACC games means we lose flexibility. In cases like this year, where the ACC is way down, playing GT and Virginia a second time each would have been relatively useless compared to playing temple or SJU. It means K would have to cram those important OOC games in in november and december before the team has matured.

    Now obviously this becomes less of an issue when the ACC is a very strong conference, but I still feel there is something to be said about playing all sorts of teams. The more types of teams and game situations that Duke can expose itself to before the tournament, the better prepared they will be to win in the tournament. I feel that an expanded ACC schedule would limit that ability.
    It's being reported that due to coronavirus fears, Harvard has asked students not to return from spring break, and for classes to be held online.

    Not to be outdone, UNC told students to stop coming to class 27 years ago under Dean Smith.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePublisher View Post
    Eighteen games is an improvement.
    The big four should ALWAYS play twice, along with other rivalries that have developed and those that should be developed. This makes sense from a fans standpoint and financially.
    The rest of the conference probably has no idea what the Big 4 is. Why should they bend over to accommodate the four schools in North Carolina?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhead View Post
    The rest of the conference probably has no idea what the Big 4 is. Why should they bend over to accommodate the four schools in North Carolina?
    That's something we hear other ACC fans gripe about constantly, especially since there are so many ACC tourneys played in NC already.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhead View Post
    The rest of the conference probably has no idea what the Big 4 is. Why should they bend over to accommodate the four schools in North Carolina?
    It wouldn't need to be specific to North Carolina - it can make geographic sense for everyone by splitting into three "divisions."

    Duke, NC State, UNC, and Wake play each other twice every year. So do UVA, Va Tach, Maryland, and BC. And Miami, FSU, Georgia Tech, and Clemson. Of the remaining 8 teams, in a given year you play two from each of the other "divisions" twice and the remaining two from each "division" once, then rotate those the next year. That comes out to 18 ACC games.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhead View Post
    The rest of the conference probably has no idea what the Big 4 is. Why should they bend over to accommodate the four schools in North Carolina?
    well, they have all but 1 of the ACC's national titles....so there is certainly an argument there
    It's being reported that due to coronavirus fears, Harvard has asked students not to return from spring break, and for classes to be held online.

    Not to be outdone, UNC told students to stop coming to class 27 years ago under Dean Smith.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    Now obviously this becomes less of an issue when the ACC is a very strong conference, but I still feel there is something to be said about playing all sorts of teams. The more types of teams and game situations that Duke can expose itself to before the tournament, the better prepared they will be to win in the tournament. I feel that an expanded ACC schedule would limit that ability.
    First off let me say I agree with you and am not a fan of ACC expansion. I also agree that playing a variety of teams better prepares us for tournament play. That being said, we're a part of the ACC and the ACC has expanded to 12 teams. Play a 22 game conference schedule and be done with it. That can't be any worse than the current system in place for say the Big East.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorp4me View Post
    First off let me say I agree with you and am not a fan of ACC expansion. I also agree that playing a variety of teams better prepares us for tournament play. That being said, we're a part of the ACC and the ACC has expanded to 12 teams. Play a 22 game conference schedule and be done with it. That can't be any worse than the current system in place for say the Big East.
    As I stated in the opening post to this thread, I am a major proponent of the "home-and-away, round robin" approach (and I detest ACC expansion). The problem with a twenty-two game ACC season, however, is that it leaves so few opportunities for top-quality, non-ACC competition during the prescribed basketball season and within NCAA regulations. For a university like Duke, that may not be ultra-critical; however, think about VPI's experiences throughout the last several years, when they have been denied NCAA Tournament entry due to the "who have they played/defeated" rationale.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by 4decadedukie View Post
    For a university like Duke, that may not be ultra-critical; however, think about VPI's experiences throughout the last several years, when they have been denied NCAA Tournament entry due to the "who have they played/defeated" rationale.
    I agree and it looks like we both have similar feelings on the issue. But alot of that can be attributed to scheduling too many cupcakes, which would be alleviated by playing more ACC opponents. Part of me wishes there was simply a mandate on conference size, but oh well.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    It wouldn't need to be specific to North Carolina - it can make geographic sense for everyone by splitting into three "divisions."

    Duke, NC State, UNC, and Wake play each other twice every year. So do UVA, Va Tach, Maryland, and BC. And Miami, FSU, Georgia Tech, and Clemson. Of the remaining 8 teams, in a given year you play two from each of the other "divisions" twice and the remaining two from each "division" once, then rotate those the next year. That comes out to 18 ACC games.
    It doesn't really make geographic sense for everyone else. From the perspective of the old ACC teams that aren't in NC, the "three division" system would be terrible. With only one exception, there is NO ONE in the conference for whom a regular match-up with BC or Miami makes sense. Because they are so far from everyone anyway, having them meet each other every year isn't that big of a deal.The one exception being FSU to Miami (Not really close, but they're also pretty far from most others and Miami makes as much sense as anyone else). Under the format, only VPI is "screwed" by having to go to Boston regularly, but as old Big East foes, who both came in with expansion, it makes some sense. There is no real reason that the schools outside of NC should be forced to go up to Boston or down to Miami every year, while the NC schools are guaranteed three road games that not only don't require a bus ride, they don't even require a hotel if the coaches choose not to get one.

    I have two theories on how to get 18 games without screwing everyone outside of NC, but still keep most rivalries in tact.

    The first is what I will call the "football theory." Basically the idea is to set up 2 divisions like football (but with different teams) with a permanent partner in the other division. They would be set up geographically north and south, with each getting two NC schools. The partners would be:

    North South
    Duke UNC
    Wake State
    Md G Tech
    UVA Clemson
    VPI FSU
    BC Miami

    In this setup, teams would play a home and home with their own division as well as their partner. They would have a rotating home and home against one of the remaining 5 teams with a single game against the other 4. The divisions would be only for scheduling as tournament seeding would still be 1-12.

    The plus side to this setup is that the long term competitive balance looks pretty decent between the divisions and no one gets screwed geographically, as everyone has to make at least one trip to BC or Miami every year and would rotate with the other as often as everyone else. Almost all rivalries get a home and home every year (the only ones missing would be tobacco road match-ups with Duke-State, and Wake-UNC, but there is just no way to guarantee a home and home with every tobacco road team without screwing everyone else.

    The big down side is that teams would only get 3 home games every 5 years against the remaining teams, so it might barely feel like their in the same conference, though this isn't that much worse than 2 home games every three years in the current system. The other down side is that the permanent partner thing would really only serve Duke and UNC, as that is the only truly historic rivalry in the bunch. Wake-State is an decent rivalry, and BC-Miami keeps everyone happy in terms of travel, but the other three partners don't make much sense and there isn't any way to configure it so it does. At the end of the day, this setup still favors the NC schools a little, as Maryland for instance, would have to go to Atlanta every year, while the NC schools stay home, but the differences are much less severe than a three division setup.

    The second theory is the "Pac-12" theory, as it completely copies what the Pac-12 is going to do next year for basketball. Instead of trying to add more partners to the current system, it drops everyone down to just one rival and rotates among the rest. The rivals would be:

    Duke UNC
    Wake State
    MD UVA
    VPI BC
    Gtech Clemson
    BC Miami

    Each school plays its partner twice, and rotates among the rest, getting a home and home against 6 schools and a single game against four. To make the rotation work, the schedule would shift every two years, meaning that it would take a total of ten years for the rotation to come full circle. For more details on how the exact rotation works, read up on the Pac-12, because it's a bit confusing but it works out. The bottom line is that other than your partner, you play a home and home with each team on average 3 out of 5 years, with a single game the other two (the way the rotation works means that the single game years get bunched together, but it averages out).

    The plus side to this is that everyone gets to keep their number 1 rival (assuming that you are also their number one rival *coughmarylandcough*) and travel is balanced among all schools in that their are no geographic anomalies among partners except for VPI and BC, but they already have that problem anyway.

    The down side to this is that many rivalries technically get "lost" like Duke-MD and UNC-State as they would no longer play twice a year. In this format however, you still get a home and home 3 out of 5 years, which means that you get a home game 4 out of 5 years against every team. This means that only twice in a decade would a team like Maryland lose "the Duke game." The other big down side is that while competitive balance works over the long run, it doesn't in the short term. I don't know if its possible to change it (and I don't think that it is), but the way the Pac-12 is doing it, the partners are not only partners because they play every year, but they also travel together, meaning that teams who have a home and home against Duke would always have one against UNC as well, meaning that while many teams currently play one of the two twice and the other one to balance things out, it would be either 4 games or 2 in any given year. This could hurt come NCAA selection time, because some teams would have incredibly weak schedules, and others would have incredibly difficult ones, leading to a worse record. The committee tends to like a happy medium between a gaudy record and a good schedule. That is less likely in this system.

    Nothing's ever perfect, but this is a decent jumping off point for 18 game possibilities that wouldn't have 2/3 of the league crying bloody murder.
    Pratt '09
    GO DUKE!

  13. #13
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    I think the best way to sell this to the football schools is as an opportunity for more home games against duke and unc. This means more ticket sales, more teevee appearances, more chances for a "signature win" on their ncaa tournament resume and so on.

    It's not as big deal to me to keep the Big Four together. I feel no need to play Wake or State twice as long as they continue to suck. Another issue is if you group the home-and-homes into three tiers (north, Big Four and South), they probably won't be very balanced most years.

    So with the extra two games, I'd give everyone an extra perma-rival (who you always play twice) and with the other 12 games, play four opponents twice and four once. You'd need four years to run through the full cycle, for reasons, as mathematicians say, that are left to the reader. After four years everyone gets at least three home games with everyone else. If after the perma-rivals don't work we can change them for the next cycle.

    So some of the new perma-rivals could include Duke/NCSU and UNC/Wake and Md/VPI. At the same time more of the Big Four would still play each other compared to the 16-game schedule.
    Last edited by hurleyfor3; 05-10-2011 at 05:31 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4decadedukie View Post
    however, think about VPI's experiences throughout the last several years, when they have been denied NCAA Tournament entry due to the "who have they played/defeated" rationale.
    Seth's problem isn't the ACC schedule. It's playing consistently. What he will have with my proposed schedule is more chances to follow up wins against Duke with losses against BC.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfrduke View Post
    I would love to see an 18-game schedule. With the NCAA having several years ago increased the number of eligible games from 27 to 31 (with an exempt tournament), 18 games would not interfere with schools' ability to play a meaningful non-conference schedule. Indeed, the 13 non-conference games that would be available with an 18-game conference schedule is more than the 11 non-conference games previously available with a 16-game conference schedule and a 27-game max.

    The move to 18 games would also allow the league to increase the fixed partners to 3 per team, which could be accomplished by creating 3 4-team geographic clusters: North - BC, Maryland, UVA, VPI; Tobacco Road - Duke, UNC, NCSU, Wake; and South - Clemson, FSU, GT, Miami. Each team plays home-and-away against the teams in its cluster every season (6 games). For the remaining games, each cluster is split into pairs (an A and a B pair). In alternating years, the pairs play home-and-away against the A pair or the B pair in the other geographic regions - so, in year 1 Duke would play, for example, BC, Maryland, Clemson, and FSU home-and-away; in year 2, it would play UVA, VPI, GT, and Miami home-and-away (8 games). This way, each team would be guaranteed a home-and-away against every other team over the course of 2 seasons (rather than the current 3 season rotation). Then you play the remaining 4 teams (either the other A or other B pairs, depending on the season) once each (4 games, for a total of 18). And while I don't think the league would structure it this way (because keeping Duke and UNC in opposite pairs would mean each team gets a guaranteed home game against either Duke or UNC every year), you could give Duke and UNC essentially the same schedule each year by making them a pair in the Tobacco Road region.
    Really liked this.

    Although I will admit, I don't have a deep understanding of how schools view traveling (a la Maryland traveling to BC, etc) or how schools view playing certain schools over others in terms of parity.

    I would however like to ask fellow posters:

    1) Are there any rivalries in the ACC that are big locally other than Duke-UNC? More specifically, how are the FSU-Miami and UVA-VTech rivalries viewed in those states? Are they big enough to warrant perennial home and homes under a new format? (Or are they just "fake" rivalries?)

    2) How important are matchups for TV viewing? I would go so far as to say VERY important. For the ACC to stay in the spotlight nationally in relation to other conferences, I wonder if games will be decided with a very big eye toward big-time TV matchups on a year to year basis. This would mean shuffling the matchups ad hoc year to year instead of on some fixed system which may miss out on certain matchups in a given year that would maximize TV ratings.

    I fear these ACC meetings are being held with a focus on re-emphasizing ACC relevance and reasserting its strength in the world of college basketball. And a lot of that has to do with scheduling/TV ratings/exposure.
    Last edited by ChillinDuke; 05-10-2011 at 08:59 PM. Reason: Typo

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4decadedukie View Post
    What are you opinions and recommendations?
    Mainly that everyone should quit whining about an expansion that took place eight years ago.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by throatybeard View Post
    Mainly that everyone should quit whining about an expansion that took place eight years ago.
    Perhaps you prematurely put this particular item in the appendix :P

    Appendix A.
    It's being reported that due to coronavirus fears, Harvard has asked students not to return from spring break, and for classes to be held online.

    Not to be outdone, UNC told students to stop coming to class 27 years ago under Dean Smith.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by throatybeard View Post
    Mainly that everyone should quit whining about an expansion that took place eight years ago.
    I wholeheartedly disagree. Duke was right then to oppose expansion. Expansion has not been the great thing its supporters claimed it would be. Continuing to bemoan it is not carping for the sake of carping, as I see it; rather, it's done in the hope of bringing sanity to other, similar college sports decisions, and maybe modifying the expansion decision in some way so as to make it better.

    When did SC leave -- around 1970? Then GT came in the late 70s? FSU added in '92? Then the 2004 expansion? So, every 10 to 15 years, something's happening. If folks continue to talk, maybe that something will be better this time around.

  19. #19

    Items that could be solved by a size limit

    Quote Originally Posted by Reilly View Post
    I wholeheartedly disagree. Duke was right then to oppose expansion.
    Agreed! I know most feel Duke and UNC screwed up "who" we got for expansion by voting again. But in my opinion everyone else screwed up the conference by voting for. In a sense I hate to see they were proven right because it means poor things for the conference, but glad to see they were proven right for the actual schools.

    Again there should be a mandate on conference size if you ask me. It just makes sense. In fact, let's consider the items that could be fixed if there were say an 8 team limit on conference size. Let me toss out a few to get the ball rolling...

    1. Travel cost would be greatly reduced by being able to focus on schools closer in geography.

    2. Every conference could then have a home and away schedule the way the ACC used to. No more unbalanced schedules for anyone.

    3. Increased number of conferences. I'm not sure this would solve anything per se, but I feel there would be some intermingling of conferences. It might even do away with the perception of "mid-majors". In fact, how many conferences are there now and how many would there be?

  20. #20
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    The closer that ACC basketball gets to round-robin, the more accurate the final standings will be. Virginia Tech probably looks better than they are because of the unbalanced schedule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scorp4me View Post
    In fact, let's consider the items that could be fixed if there were say an 8 team limit on conference size.
    As long as we're talking about things that would never happen, capping a conference at 10 teams would be workable for football (9 conference games, and theoretically still a title game) and basketball (18 conference games in true round-robin fashion).

    ACC: dump BC and Maryland
    SEC: dump Vanderbilt and Arkansas
    Big Ten: dump Iowa and Nebraska
    Big 12: change your name
    Pac-12: return Colorado and Utah with purchase receipt
    Big East: blow. it. up.

    Then there could be 8 BCS-level conferences instead of 6. You'll notice that 8 is a nice, playoff-friendly number.

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