ACC coaches to discuss 9-game schedule

The ACC football coaches will hold a teleconference today to discuss issues they think need to be raised at the league’s May spring meetings in Amelia Island, Fla., including the debate over whether or not to go to a nine-game conference schedule, said Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who is chair of the ACC coaches’ committee for the second straight year.

ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN.com on Tuesday that there is “considerable support” for a nine-game league schedule.

“That’s an important decision we’ll need to make in the near future,” Swofford said, adding that the athletic directors make the final call after input from their coaches. “... Several factors come into play there. One is the college football playoffs, what serves us best in terms of giving our teams the best opportunity to be in the playoff, and what gives us the most opportunities going forward television-wise and how does that fold into any discussions about a potential channel. Those are discussions that will continue.”

Cutcliffe said he is in favor of staying at eight games because of the impact it could have on teams qualifying for the College Football Playoff.

“I’m a fan of the eight-game schedule for many reasons,” he said. “The changing of schedules and playing different programs and different teams, the variables are better. We’re all locked into playing Notre Dame, which becomes another game you’re locked into. I’m just not a fan of it. I don’t see the value in it, and it’s not going to get you in the playoff system, if that’s what everybody is saying. What’s going to get you in the playoff opportunity is to have no losses or one loss. I don’t care who you’re playing. If you’re at this level, all of us -- I’m sitting here looking at the 2014 ACC football schedule – I don’t see a team on there that if it didn’t win every game it played wouldn’t be in that four-team playoff. … I don’t think it makes any sense for our league.”

Cutcliffe said he’d like to think the rest of the coaches agree, but that he has heard some say they’d rather play nine games. The ACC also has to consider that four schools -- Florida State (Florida), Georgia Tech (Georgia), Clemson (South Carolina) and Louisville (Kentucky) -- all have a built-in SEC rival on their schedules, and the conference now begins its five-game agreement with Notre Dame.

Cutcliffe said he hopes the coaches continue to talk to their athletic directors about what’s best not only for the individual schools, but also for the entire conference.

“Until you get face to face and we’re all in one room and listen to each other,” Cutcliffe said, “I may change my mind if somebody makes some great sense, but I’m looking forward to Amelia Island, I think that is when we’ll start knowing.”

Cutcliffe said the coaches will also discuss officiating, and what other topics they think should be on the spring meeting agenda.