Notre Dame’s impact on Tech scheduling

Had a few tidbits from working on the Notre Dame-to-the-ACC story that I didn’t get to that I thought were of interest.

1. It sounds entirely possible that the addition means that the ACC could go back to an eight-game league schedule. In particular for Georgia Tech, Clemson and Florida State, having nine league games plus an SEC rival on top of Notre Dame every three years may be a little more heft than they’d prefer.

It will likely get discussed at league meetings in October and will be the decision of the athletic directors. Coach Paul Johnson was behind an eight-game schedule, as were most ACC coaches, even before the Notre Dame decision.

2. Whether that happens – and also if the SEC ultimately moves to nine games – will have a considerable influence on what happens with scheduled series with Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi and South Carolina, which have been pushed back to the end of the decade or the start of the next.

“So I think that clarity will allow us to deal with those circumstances probably within the next six to eight months,” Dan Radakovich said.

3. The ideal plan for Notre Dame and the five annual ACC games is for the Irish to play each team every five years. Being the math jenius I am, it finally dawned on me that won’t work perfectly. Five games in three years is 15 games, and there’s only 14 opponents, leaving one extra every cycle. I guess the choices are to rotate it around or perhaps give it to Boston College or Pittsburgh, which already play Notre Dame annually.

I imagine ESPN wouldn’t mind it if Notre Dame played the defending ACC champion in the Labor Day game, although that would be a bit of a scheduling challenge to put the game together so late in the process.

4. Tech’s non-conference schedule starting in 2014 (when Notre Dame could first appear on the schedule): In 2014, Tech is scheduled to play Wofford, at Tulane and at Georgia out of conference. In 2015, there are three home games with Georgia Southern, Tulane and Georgia. In 2016, Tech has Vanderbilt at home, Georgia on the road and an open date.

As noted previously, what the ACC does with the league schedule size will impact whether some of these games get played or not. For instance, if the ACC decided to keep the nine-game schedule and that Tech would play Notre Dame in 2014 or 2015, probably Tulane would either get bought out or pushed back.

5. I mentioned this in the comments of a post from yesterday. The ideal for the ACC would have been for Notre Dame to join as a football member, but in a way, keeping the Irish on an independent schedule may in some way give their games with the ACC a little more cachet. Notre Dame seems a bit more prominent when it’s playing USC annually, not Duke or Wake Forest.

That said, my esteemed colleague Mark Bradley wrote a column Wednesday predicting that Notre Dame will eventually join the ACC for football. If you’re into speculating, that would leave the league in a position to have to add another school. My guesses would be Rutgers or Connecticut. I know Penn State seems a popular choice, but that seems far-fetched, although, I suppose, if this scenario comes to pass, it wouldn’t be any more far-fetched than Notre Dame playing ACC football.

6. You may have read this elsewhere, but with 15 teams in the conference for basketball, commissioner John Swofford said that teams will likely have two primary partners that they’ll play annual home-and-homes. Starting in 2013-14, when Pitt and Syracuse join, it will just be one primary partner. Tech’s will be Clemson. Tech’s other partner has been Wake Forest.

7. Since men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory got hired following the 2010-11 season, his league has added three of the strongest programs in the country in Pitt, Syracuse and Notre Dame. Playing out of arguably the toughest conference in the country, Syracuse has averaged 26 wins in the last five years, Pitt 24.4 and Notre Dame 22.8.

Radakovich said he saw Gregory in the Edge Center cafeteria Wednesday afternoon and asked him, “Are you still talking to me?”

Gregory isn’t one to back down from a challenge (he probably wouldn’t be at Tech otherwise), but his job is considerably tougher than it was when he arrived. I saw him leaving last night and kiddingly told him he needed to re-negotiate. He laughed and suggested I tell Radakovich.

It is serendipitous timing, though, that the McCamish Pavilion is coming online at this time. (Hey, a rhyme. Almost.) Associate AD Rick Thorpe, who is over ticket sales, told me in an e-mail that his sales reps told him that the Notre Dame news helped them close some deals on men’s basketball season tickets as the purchasers wanted to ensure preferred position when the Irish get on the schedule.

“That’s made me feel really good (that), Hey, we’ve invested money in a part of our conference that is not getting weaker, but is getting stronger,” he said.

8. If you’re wondering, Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team is one of the strongest in the country.  The Irish have reached the national finals each of the past two years. The baseball team is down, not having been to the NCAA tournament since the 2006 season. The Irish have had two head coaches since then.

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

62 comments Add your comment

juvenal

September 13th, 2012
10:32 am

not juvenile!

juvenal

September 13th, 2012
10:33 am

what about full membership-nbc dropping them in ‘15?

huskerjacket

September 13th, 2012
10:41 am

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when ESPN’s ACC deal comes into conflict with NBC’s ND contract

juvenal

September 13th, 2012
10:51 am

jenius was on purpose right?(like when i spell seriuosly)

909

September 13th, 2012
11:02 am

Ken:

ACC HQ has made it abundantly clear…they have no interest in UConn.

Very low probability that UConn gets an invite.

juvenal

September 13th, 2012
11:06 am

why does anyone think psu would swich? Rutgers makes the most sense…

huskerjacket

September 13th, 2012
11:11 am

Yeah, juvenal, I really don’t know why Penn St would go anywhere. IMHO, they’ll need some stability while recovering, and switching conferences is the last thing that will provide it.

huskerjacket

September 13th, 2012
11:13 am

juvenal: I agree 100% there. PSU will need stability while rebuilding, and changing conferences won’t help that at all

huskerjacket

September 13th, 2012
11:13 am

juvenal: I agree 100% there. PSU will need stability while rebuilding, and changing conferences won’t help that at all

huskerjacket

September 13th, 2012
11:14 am

whoops. Computer being irrational. Sorry

juvenal

September 13th, 2012
11:22 am

thanks for joining, husker-i’m excited by this add, but not trying to top winnie for line#; Ken, is there any good info that nbc dropping the exclusive?… that rumor predated this change & would seem to confirm it(& truthfully, my wife often tells me to grow up, but i may go from juvenile straight to senile)-909, other than uconn hardly an academic hotbed, any other problems?

Ken Sugiura

September 13th, 2012
11:33 am

i don’t have any inside dope on nbc and notre dame. it would certainly seem like a possibility, although nbc doesn’t have a ton of properties, so maybe it would hold onto notre dame.
yes, i misspelled genius intentionally.
thanks, 909.

juvenal

September 13th, 2012
11:41 am

ratings for the irish not what they were, the thought was a pay cut would be needed, but maybe ratings pick up now & they out smarted the ACC?

jabster

September 13th, 2012
11:51 am

NBC could use the ACC + ND as part of a three-network package including Universal Sports and NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). Could be a win-win for all parties if it gets more exposure and content for NBC Comcast’s fledgling sports channels and more national (vs. regional/locally syndicated) coverage for the entire ACC.

77ME

September 13th, 2012
11:54 am

why not let the ND game count as a conference game? if ND is scheduled to play 5 conference games a year, they are already a “quasi-member” in football- enough to make a difference in the standings- they won’t be eligible for the Championship/Orange Bowl but will, as i understand it, be in line to get one of the ACC’s non-BCS bowl slots.

fuzzybee78

September 13th, 2012
11:57 am

I had a colleague who played football at PSU. He says they are an eastern school stuck in a midwestern conference but they look east in recruiting. With the addition of Pitt, Cuse, along with BC and Maryland in the ACC, you already have schools that were regulars on PSU schedule in years past. They are a fit academically, no question.
IMO, the addition of ND is the tipping point for PSU along with the mess they are in the process of cleaning up.

Ken, doesnt each ACC school have a permanent schedule partner ie GT vs Clemson? Let PSU have ND as that partner in order to get PSU to move to the ACC. Would help PSU probably a lot in rebuilding their program.

fuzzybee78

September 13th, 2012
12:01 pm

UConn is a very good school, great in BB, doesnt add anything in FB, and has no other options to switch conferences that are better than the ACC. More or less —Ditto Rutgers

FL Jacket

September 13th, 2012
12:08 pm

I would disagree about Rutgers. Very good recently in football, fits the ACC profile.

However, I think the ACC needs to jump on one of 2 schools…USF or UCF. Large state schools in the fertile recruiting ground of central Florida that still match up regionally with the conference.

Gordon

September 13th, 2012
12:20 pm

If we have 2 permanent partners in basketball once ND joins, that tells me we will have 20 conference games. 2 permanent, 4 home only, 4 away only, 4 home/away. I don’t see any other way to do with with 15 teams and 2 permanent opponents, unless you go back to 16 games, which is not happening (2 permanent, 6 home only, 6 away only).

Excellent point, FL Jacket...

September 13th, 2012
12:20 pm

…and I agree that either of those makes good sense – however, we are looking at a northeastern bias right now by the powers that be in the ACC (like that rhyme?) so it is highly unlikely that they will look south for the 16th member, even if it would give the FL TV market more reason to watch –

Plus, neither UCF or USF match up academically with what the ACC likes to think is superior academic members (excluding FSU, of course, but they were brought in when they were highly marketable TV wise)…

fuzzybee78

September 13th, 2012
12:33 pm

@FL Jacket
You are making my point about Rutgers, they dont bring the league UP in FB or BB.

I see you’re from FL, but the problem with those two schools is academics, never happen.

The ACC doesnt need any more help in BB, especially with ND added as a full BB member.
There is no better combo of schools that checks all the boxes than ND and PSU to fill out the conference to 16 members. It may take ND becoming a full member in FB to get PSU to come but if that happens in 2015-16, they will think hard about it assuming they will be in the same division and play home and home every year.

Aurelius

September 13th, 2012
12:42 pm

I would agree that in a perfect world both ND and PSU would join the 16 team ACC. The ACC has the majority of the old line opponents of Penn State from pre Big 10 days.

JM

September 13th, 2012
12:42 pm

The 5 ND/ACC ganes work out when ND plays 2 schools annually (Pitt and BC) then rotates the other 3 games among the 12 remaining teams.

BC and Pitt have played ND alot more than many other schools.

Gordon

September 13th, 2012
12:44 pm

I think the events of yesterday made it less likely ND will join a conference in football, not more. They were starting to have a problem scheduling 12 games in the future, and now they only have to worry about scheduling 7. I wouldn’t worry about who the 16th team is because we don’t have a 15th and won’t any time in the forseeable future.

On another subject, if I were Georgia Tech and had trouble selling tickets in a 55,000 stadium, I would be more concerned about making the games interesting than the heft of the schedule. If we go back to 8 conference games, that means FSU will come to BDS once every 12 years, and we might have 3 cupcake game schedules, when we already play teams like Duke and Maryland. GT should be the strongest proponent of remaining at 9 conference games. I can’t imagine why teams without an in-state rival would want to go to 8 either.

Delbert D.

September 13th, 2012
12:44 pm

Ken, my assumption is that Notre Dame will count as an out-of-division conference game for the schools that play them. The scheduling would still be 9 conference games. If not, why not?

fuzzybee78

September 13th, 2012
12:45 pm

ACC in 2017?
“North Division” if geography rules ie other non rev/Olympic sports:
ND PSU Pitt BC Cuse Maryand VT UVA

“South Division”
UNC NCST Wake Duke Clemson GT FSU UM

That is a SUPER Conference any way you look at it!

Gordon

September 13th, 2012
12:47 pm

JM,

It has already been announced ND will play everyone in each 3 years, so playing 2 teams on an annual basis is not possible. Even playing one team every year is not possible.

Buzztinloose

September 13th, 2012
12:47 pm

Penn State would and should be the 16th member if(when) ND joins all sports. Can’t stay independent for very long with a playoff (albeit, limited) scenario developing.

Penn State is not happy for being censured by their current league, and rightly so.
Penn State is the ONLY school on the east coast that would ADD to ACC football, no one in the SEC will jump ship.
Penn State is now Coached by two former GT coaches, which may have some influence when push comes to shove…
ND iis a natural rivalry for PSU, as is both Pitt and ‘Cuse.
PSU won’t have to travel all over creation to play if the Northern League includes BC, ‘Cuse, Pitt, ND, Maryland, VPI and UVA.
The southern ACC league would feature NC, NCS, Wake, Duke, Clemson, GT, FSU and UM.

Natural rivalries are preserved and enhanced, and it pretty much balances out both Football and Basketball

Gordon

September 13th, 2012
12:48 pm

Delbert,

ND is an out of conference game. They are not part of our conference in football.

fuzzybee78

September 13th, 2012
12:52 pm

Aurelius – thank you:)
Gordon – I agree with you as well, to many cupcakes, play the big boys to be a big boy! Bowden did it at FSU by playing the big boys.

fuzzybee78

September 13th, 2012
12:54 pm

Amen Bustinloose!

DawginLex

September 13th, 2012
1:03 pm

I’d say this move clearly puts the UGA/GT series at risk.

GT 38
UVA 27

This weekend’s prediction

Delbert D.

September 13th, 2012
1:05 pm

Gordon – Perhaps the ACC will think beyond the obvious “They are not a member in football” (duh) and keep a 9 game conference schedule by counting the games with Notre Dame. Surely that is preferable to an 8-game conference schedule, having to schedule South Carolina State or whoever in the non-Notre Dame years.

Gordon

September 13th, 2012
1:06 pm

DawninLex,

Why?

Delbert D.

September 13th, 2012
1:13 pm

Not from Georgia’s (or South Carolina’s) standpoint. The SEC plays only 8 conference games.

Gordon

September 13th, 2012
1:17 pm

Delbert,

I don’t see how that could work. There are 5 teams that will play ND each year, meaning there are 9 that won’t. Even if the 5 teams counted the ND game and 8 of the other 9 played each other, there would still be one team that only played 8. I think the best solution is for everyone to play 9 PLUS play ND once every 3 years. I agree with you that playing teams like SC State are boring and there should never be more than 2 in a given year.

5150 UOAD

September 13th, 2012
1:19 pm

Anybody who doesn’t think the ACC is talking to Penn St is crazy
With Notre Dame now in the ACC it would make the PSU move easier.
The PSU Baseball & Basketball would do better in recruiting.
Bill O’Brien is the coach and he would talk to the ADM about in a positive light too.

I still think in 5-7 years Notre Dame will be in the ACC in football. They would be like The VOLS and play a HUGE OCC game every year plus the Neutral Site game in the ACC. Damn they might do 2 huge national OOC games a year.

Penn St is a great get and ND is the Hook to get them and get both in the ACC football fold.

Delbert D.

September 13th, 2012
1:19 pm

Gordon – You are probably right on the scheduling. I haven’t worked through the math of the matchups.

Paddy

September 13th, 2012
1:27 pm

DawginLex……..I don’t follow you on why the UGA series would be at risk!

fuzzybee78

September 13th, 2012
1:39 pm

@5150 AGREED!
This is clearly what the BEST ACC could look like and I believe that conversations are happening that Swafford will describe later as “EVOLVING over time” as he did with ND.

GT Dude

September 13th, 2012
1:41 pm

IMHO ND will join as full member in 2015, simply due to the fact that ESPN will out bid the NBC, becasue even dividing the pie by 15 they will take more money…

www

September 13th, 2012
1:42 pm

the notre dame/nbc contract is up in a few years.

my guess is nd continues to play a reduced acc schedule so they can retain their usc, michigan/navy/etc series for the time being, but they will be considered official acc football members within 5 or 6 years.

penn state joins around the same time.

the acc isn’t interested in uconn and why get rutgers when penn state is interested?

78 DAWG

September 13th, 2012
1:46 pm

Tech will not stop playing the DAWGS. They’d rather have 9 conference games, UGA and 2 weak sisters. Teams like BYU are nice, but ND was a semi-regular already. Tech – UGA is not like TX – TX A&M, where A&M was the little brother in every way (football, BB, academics………..)

5150 UOAD

September 13th, 2012
1:55 pm

Most STATE governments have created Mandates that the State universities play each other.
Clemson v So Carolina, Florida v Florida St, Virginia v VPI

UGa v GIT isn’t going away.

Delbert D.

September 13th, 2012
1:58 pm

78 Dawg – Slive has publicly said the SEC will stick to an 8 conference game schedule. I assume the logic is that a 9th game would be too tough, and with the cross-conference rivalries, that would leave as you said 2 weak sisters. I would prefer not to see schools like Buffalo, Florida Atlantic and an FCS opponent every year on the schedule. If there are going to be 3 weak sisters, at least make them all FBS.

Maybe that will change as a result of the playoff and strength of schedule, but realistically the SEC is going to be compared to the SEC, so it may not be that important.

GTBob

September 13th, 2012
2:45 pm

I really hate the attitude in college football that you have to have 2-3 completely useless games every season. If USC and Stanford can play a 9 game conference schedule, Notre Dame, and another BCS opponent every year then so can we.

Jacket Fan

September 13th, 2012
3:52 pm

If I were in charge of scheduling (and I should be), I would make the other four games all SEC opponents – rotate Georgia and one other Eastern opponent with two Western opponents. Tell recruits when we can beat those four on a fairly steady basis, we will easily win the ACC and be in the national playoff mix. Have to move from a two-deep to a three-deep line-up, though.

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fuzzybee78

September 13th, 2012
5:41 pm

Drad–Want to fill up BDodd, dont serve cupcakes!

yeller bug

September 13th, 2012
5:57 pm

The primary goal is league money, but part of that is being able to have 7 home games. The ACC just locked down everyone with a $50M exit fee so no one is leaving anytime soon. Until ND comes online completely in football then no additional schools will be added. Hopefully, that will happen in 2015 and then the ACC will need to bring in another team which PSU is an excellent fit. Creates a great north-south conference with balance in both FB & BB and better aligns with long term regional rivalries. If you have a 9-conference game schedule that’s 5 home 4 away and then reverse the following year. In year’s with only 4 home conference games, the in-state OOC rival would have to be a home game and to get 7 home games, the other two games must be home as well. Thus you have to schedule two patsy games every year where there is no required home and home series. You’d never be able to schedule anyone else to have a home and home series and still have 7 home games. That’s the problem with a 9 game conference schedule.