Earlier this week, we asked you to weigh in on the idea that conference teams could play each other and have them count as nonconference games. The votes are in: 48 percent of nearly 3,000 voters were against the idea, while 43 percent were in favor. That was much closer than I thought, because most of the reaction I have heard has been negative. Now, let's get to your comments!
Geoff in Atlanta writes: Bad plan. While I like the idea from a strength-of-schedule standpoint, the uproar will be deafening when a division champion is determined based on whether a game is considered in or out of conference.
Chris in Sumter, South Carolina, writes: I say go for it. If they were playing every two or three years, I'd say no. But when they only play each other once every six or eight years, they're "conference-mates" in name only, anyway. Notre Dame is not officially in the ACC and everyone will play them more often than teams that are actually in the conference. Ridiculous.
Jason in Georgia writes: I like the idea a lot! I think the ACC needs to do anything they can to boost their strength of schedule, and, in my opinion, the ACC needs to go to nine games. 'Cause let's face it, the conference isn't as strong as it could be. And going to nine games would help tremendously in changing the perception! But even playing Notre Dame every three years won't help unless its the Notre Dame of old, or even the 2012 Notre Dame. And even playing the 2012 Notre Dame won't help and nine games won't help if we can't beat the SEC rivals on a consistent basis, and win most of our out-of-conference games, especially bowl games! Go Jackets!
Stephanie in Canton, North Carolina, writes: As a Tar Heels fan, the one game I look forward to more than any other in football season is the UNC/NC State game. I'm totally fine with them counting games against nondivisional opponents as "nonconference" because football season would not be the same without that game. Before Duke finally came into its own in football, that was the biggest (and best) rivalry game we had in the fall. If we ever had to give up that game, it would be a disappointing blow to UNC and NC State and the ACC.
The Dude in Bangor, Maine, writes: I think allowing ACC teams to schedule other conference mates as out of conference is great because it allows flexibility in scheduling and renews some rivalries. As an FSU fan, I miss some of the GT battles, although I doubt FSU pursues this with a full plate. It allows the non-SEC-rival schools chances they otherwise would not have to play other division opponents more often.
Yehonala04 in St. Augustine, Florida, writes: Thank you for this opportunity, AA. Would love to see FSU use this to play GT and VT on an every 2-3 year basis. Instead of the Torture Games at noon in Tally. Use neutral sites at Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa or Charlotte and the home of each on a rotating basis, at night. Fan anticipation and a network product builder is delivered.
Mike in West Virginia writes: Why shouldn't schools be able to play anyone they want as non-conference games? On the general subject of the problems with the eight-game conference schedule, simply eliminate the fixed crossover opponent. As a Clemson fan, I couldn't care less about playing Georgia Tech every year. For those crossover games that absolutely must be played every year, move the teams to the same division. With no fixed crossover teams, each team plays all teams in the other division twice every seven years.
Justin in Ocala, Florida, writes: Hello? Is it so hard to have the SEC and ACC partner up? And why does nine games Big 12 opponents somehow constitute a tough schedule? Are they all going to play Oklahoma nine times? Otherwise it's absolute trash. It's easy to say you are lighting it up when neither the Pac-12 or Big 12 play defense. Strength of schedule? How about this? Where do all the NFL players come from? SEC and ACC. Hands down. SEC and ACC can partner up so each team has a cross-conference rival that is all geographically feasible, and they can both claim to be competing against the top talent in the country. If the true Southeast teams already have cross conference rivalries, why not complete the schedule? Put on a giant hooplah before championship weekend, FSU-UF, Clemson-South Carolina, Alabama-Virginia Tech, LSU-Miami, all the way down the list. Vandy and Wake, have some kind of new Civil War game, Boston College vs. Ole Miss. The marketing possibilities are endless. Plus, it builds a brand that improves on both conferences and helps them pull away from the pack.
Chris in Louisville, Kentucky, writes: Do you think that the other Power 5 conferences will be happier with the ACC and SEC if they expanded the end-of-the-season ACC/SEC matchups to a full 14-game ACC/SEC challenge? They could keep the four existing matchups permanent, while the other 10 games rotate ACC and SEC opponents. That would be a more-than-acceptable replacement to a ninth conference game.
(Note: The idea of an ACC-SEC nonconference partnership is very much in play.)