The End of Conference Divisions?
What if the recent arguments over conference scheduling didn’t matter? That could well be the case if the Atlantic Coast Conference has its way. Last week, a story surfaced that’s gotten very little attention until now.
The ACC has submitted a proposal to the NCAA that would allow conferences to do away with divisional play and still allow for a conference championship game. The proposal would also eliminate the need for conferences to have 12 member schools in order to host a championship game.
The original rule was put into place years ago and became a prerequisite to hosting a championship game.
Now the ACC wants to change it. And it merits some serious discussion. Under the proposal, conferences could determine their own method for selecting the participants in conference championship games.
Instead of the SEC taking the winners from the East and West Divisions, they could opt to take the top two ranked teams. Last year, that would have meant a rematch of the Iron Bowl, but truthfully, how often would something like that happen?
More importantly, it would eliminate the need for the 6-1-1 SEC scheduling format that’s become so controversial. It would allow Auburn an opportunity to possibly resume its annual rivalry with Florida while maintaining the annual Georgia game.
For the record, Auburn is the closest SEC campus to Florida, yet the two will only meet on the field every 10 years or so in the regular season.
The change could open up all kinds of scheduling opportunities for SEC programs. Of course, it would guarantee its own set of problems. As with the current format, scheduling inequalities would be hard to manage.
The chances of it passing seem good.
CBS columnist Dennis Dodd writes, “The measure is thought to have wide-ranging support among FBS conferences because it is largely non-controversial. It is known that the 10-team Big 12 would prefer deregulation if it ever decided to play a championship game with its current 10-team alignment. The league staged a championship game from 1996-2010.”
Most conferences would likely welcome the change because it would guarantee the two top-rated schools facing off in the conference championship games and increase their (the conferences) chances of getting one of the four playoff spots.
The NCAA is expected to discuss the issue at its next meeting in August.