ACC football coaches happy with eight league games

The Orlando SentinelMay 15, 2013 

— ACC coaches and administrators have said this week that there are no plans to move to a nine-game setup in their league.

With the recent additions of Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville and a new relationship with Notre Dame, the ACC is content with playing eight games.

“We (coaches) pretty much are all comfortable with the eight,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said at the ACC spring meetings Wednesday.

The Big Ten will begin playing nine conference games in 2016. The idea also is being discussed in the SEC and was recently endorsed by Alabama coach Nick Saban. Like the ACC, the SEC plays eight conference games.

The SEC’s decision could play a part in Florida State’s recent pattern of bold non-conference scheduling.

FSU athletics director Randy Spetman told the Orlando Sentinel that talks between FSU and Georgia about a neutral-site 2016 game are “moving along.”

“The AD at Georgia just doesn’t know if he has room to put it in there,” Spetman said, referring to UGA athletics director Greg McGarity.

During their spring meetings in Destin at the end of May, SEC officials are expected to make a decision on playing a nine-game conference schedule.

Now, both conference’s member schools can schedule four non-conference games during a given season.

So, FSU is just “waiting on the SEC,” Spetman said.

During FSU’s spring game last month, Spetman first floated the idea of an FSU-UGA game in the coming seasons. On Wednesday, he confirmed the neutral-site contest would be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. It could be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic.

McGarity told The Telegraph (Macon, Ga.) late last month that he understood why a neutral-site game was interested in the Bulldogs and Seminoles.

“I’m sure they would like to put our two institutions together at some point in time,” McGarity said. “But it all goes back to what does our conference model look like, and it’s just too early to even have any kind of legitimate discussion on that, because we don’t know where we are as a conference right now.”

In other developments at the meetings, Pitt coach Jamie Dixon and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim pitched the idea of moving the ACC basketball tournament from Greensboro, N.C., to New York, according to Syracuse.com.

Conference realignment gutted the Big East conference, which held its tournament at Madison Square Garden. Seven of the 15 schools competing in the ACC have ties to the Big East.

But Dixon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that having the ACC tournament rotate venues and include New York is unlikely to happen because MSG (and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn) requires long-term commitments.

“Coach Boeheim and I are excited about New York, but I also know that Greensboro has a strong, strong presence here at these meetings,” Dixon told the Post-Gazette. “I think (Madison Square Garden) would be the best thing for the conference. I hope that’s the way they’re headed, but I don’t know that it is.”

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