Nine-game ACC Football Schedule Would Be Welcomed by UVa's Mendenhall

August 17, 2016 by CFP Staff

Bronco Mendenhall admitted that, during his tenure as BYU coach, he came to learn more about the scheduling of college football games. With a self-governing program having no affiliation with any conference, Mendenhall's Cougars had to ensure their filled schedule matched up with other teams having their opening games. It seemed to be a tedious task, and since the ACC has decided to shift to nine conference games, Mendenhall supports the move completely. The declaration that the league will be broadcasted on the ACC Network in association with ESPN, conference schools bear the task of deciding whether to shift to playing nine games or remain with the eight conference games as college football national championship odds take effect.

Those schools that will choose to remain with eight games will have to schedule at least two nonconference games against Power Five conference rivals, with the aim of providing the network with a wide range of quality matchups to broadcast. According to Mendenhall, such a schedule will be very difficult to execute because the ACC is currently shifting from its independence to seek a portfolio of games. Many teams will start scrambling to get games and getting them will prove to be a difficult task in the course of the season.

With the launch of the network expected to take place in 2019, it will broadcast approximately 450 events, comprising of 40 football matches and 150 basketball games for both men and women in its opening year. In the same year, ACC basketball plans to increase to 20 conference games from the current 18. Even though Mendenhall anticipated that football would take the same course, the athletic directors of the league shattered his hope last week by choosing to carry out a vote on shifting to nine games.

Currently, both Mendenhall and his athletic director share the same sentiments about the changes. Last weekend, Craig Littlepage, the U.Va. AD expressed that he prefers nine conference games, but league officials still need to discuss many issues that may affect the final decision made league wide or institutionally. The vote should focus on figuring out the best practices that will develop and improve the league.

According to Justin Fuente, the new coach at Virginia Tech, expressed that he is yet to decide which plan he supports because he needs to consider a wide range of factors pertaining to scheduling, along with the existing agreement between Note Dame and ACC regarding the rotating schedule. Fuente admitted that both options carry advantages and disadvantages, and he believes the athletic directors will arrive at the right decision because every program has its unique classification of issues.

As stated by Mendenhall, a good number of ACC coaches prefer the eight conference games, but he hopes that they will change their minds after comprehensive investigation. He said that the coaches have already discussed about the issues, with some still undecided, and that his minority viewpoint is grounded on independence. Mendenhall said that he prefers nine conference games because of the schedule will allow teams to secure a matchup with an already known opponent.