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As the conference expands to 14 teams, VT and UVa won’t be facing the premier programs very often.
The Roanoke Times | File 2012
Virginia Tech's Antone Exum (1) breaks free from Virginia's Tim Smith after an interception in last year's matchup. Virginia Tech's Antone Exum (1) breaks free from Virginia's Tim Smith after an interception in last year's matchup.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The ACC has set its football schedule through 2024, and thanks to expansion, Virginia Tech and Virginia won’t be playing many games against the Atlantic Division’s marquee teams.
It’s long been known that the league’s expansion to 14 teams would create sizeable gaps between matchups with teams in the opposite division, although the schedule wasn’t finalized until recently.
Each school is committed to playing six games within its division and one annual crossover rival. For Tech, that’s Boston College. For Virginia, it’s eventual ACC member Louisville, which will replace Maryland.
From 2014 to 2024 that’s only five matchups between the Hokies and what should be considered the Atlantic Division’s top teams — Florida State, Clemson and Louisville — once realignment is completed next year.
Tech hosted Florida State last year but won’t face the Seminoles in Lane Stadium again until 2023. Likewise, the Hokies traveled to Clemson last year but won’t return there until 2024.
Louisville is only on the schedule once through 2024. That’s because the ACC has a 12-year cycle for getting through all the rotating crossover schools.
That begins this year, with Maryland still in the league. The Hokies host the Terps one last time as ACC foes in November. Beginning next year, Louisville takes Maryland’s spot in the scheduling rotation.
That means a yearly crossover matchup for the Cardinals with Virginia, which has played Atlantic Division foe Maryland every year since the ACC expanded to two divisions.
The ACC briefly agreed last year to go to a nine-game conference schedule to minimize the number of years between playing rotating crossover opponents, although that move was reversed at the request of schools like Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech that have annual non-conference rivalry games against SEC foes (Florida, South Carolina, Georgia).
The agreement set to begin next year that matches up Notre Dame with each ACC team once every three years further minimized the league’s desire to play more than eight conference games a year.
Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver has long been a proponent of playing nine league games in a season, although he is in the minority in the ACC.
Of the major conferences with two divisions, the Pac-12 already plays nine league games per year, and the Big Ten will begin doing so in 2016.
The SEC coaches recently had a non-binding vote to stay at eight league games, with Alabama’s Nick Saban being the lone dissenter.
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