According to a recent report by Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, the ACC has joined the Big 12 in filing legislation with the NCAA to deregulate conference championship football games.
What that means, basically, is that the conference wants the freedom to award its football championship however it sees fit. This would not likely eliminate the title game, as it’s a revenue generator and great primetime exposure for the ACC. But the conference could, say, do away with divisions and simply have its two highest-ranked teams play after the regular season, with the goal of consistently landing an ACC school in the new four-team playoff.
There are certainly pros and cons to the idea. The NCAA requires leagues using divisions to have each team play every other team in its division every year. Hence, under the current system, Florida State must face Atlantic Division foes Clemson, Syracuse, Boston College, Wake Forest, NC State, and, beginning this fall instead of Maryland, Louisville. They rotate whom they play from the Coastal Division. Doing away with divisions would mean each team would play a more balanced rotation of ACC opponents. So those sick of seeing BC and Wake each and every year would get more opportunities for road trips to places like Atlanta and Chapel Hill.
There is the concern, though, that such a change would weaken intra-divisional rivalries, like FSU vs. Clemson, because the teams would no longer meet every year. The other issue involves schools like FSU and Clemson that play high-profile non-conference opponents, Florida and South Carolina, respectively, in their regular season finale. Theoretically, a team could go undefeated in conference play, lose its rivalry game, and miss out on the ACC championship due to a drop in the rankings.
If this had been in effect last season, it would have produced an interesting match-up for the ACC crown: a rematch between Florida State and Clemson.