Last year, the ACC put forth a new scheduling mandate for football that, starting in 2017, requires each member to schedule one Power 5 school as an out-of-conference opponent. Shortly after, a loophole appeared: scheduling a fellow conference member as an OOC opponent fills the one Power 5 non-conference opponent void. For the better part of the past year, that idea has invited chatter and speculation from many of the Atlantic Coast Conference members. Now, ACC members have acted - North Carolina and Wake Forest reach home-and-home agreement - ushering in the opportunity for other conference members to follow suit. For Miami, using this trick wouldn't be to fulfill the new requirement, but to add a familiar adversary to its out-of-conference schedule.
So, the UNC-Wake home-and-home series proves it's possible. What exactly did this agreement do for both schools? North Carolina and Wake Forest share a rivalry that dates back to 1888. Since 1888, both schools have met 103 times during their 126 year history. Which is awfully frequent, but why is that important? Before the ACC set divisions and created its current scheduling system, (eight conference matchups: six divisional, one primary rival and one crossover opponent) these teams met consistently. Now, because of the format, after UNC-Wake play in 2015, they do not meet again as conference adversaries until 2022. But, that changes with both schools inking a series in 2019 and 2021. Doing so they created matchups three out of four years (‘19-'22), where they were once only scheduled for every seven years (‘15 and ‘22). The benefits for these two can be seen: this awakens a dormant rivalry, is a constant opponent on an ever-changing schedule, and fills the one Power 5 member as a non-conference game requirement. The drawback: this contest doesn't count towards their respective conference win/loss total.
"Hey, guy, that's a lot of chatter for two teams of which I care nothing about. What's this got to do with my beloved ‘Canes?"
I know, right? Well, this option is doable for the Hurricanes. Whether it's the best thing for our future scheduling or not is debatable. We'll take a look at what's being said, present a list of possible opponents, and discuss a few of those concerns that differentiate depending on opinion.
We have heard little from UM on this topic. Although, other schools are talking about us. Our old friend Syracuse wouldn't mind a visit to talent rich South Florida every so often. They even said so HERE. Some suggest that Miami and Boston College should reunite. So, we're wanted. (The Hurricanes are scheduled to face Syracuse in 2017 and 2024 as crossover opponents.)
Aside from 'Cuse, who else might Miami schedule from the conference? Anybody and everybody not in the Coastal Division, Florida State, and not already scheduled that year as our crossover opponent. That's, ahem: Boston College, Clemson, Louisville, N.C. State, Syracuse and Wake Forest. Each possibility is a step up from the likes of a Cincinnati or Savannah State. Plus you get to keep an FIU or Bethune-Cookman or two and a top OOC matchup like Nebraska, Michigan State, LSU or Notre Dame. This works best in eliminating an OOC game with a low to mid-level school that fans want no business in seeing (albeit FIU, FAU, and others have our interest). Though it could also detract from a matchup we're not accustomed to seeing in favor of another (non-conference) ACC pairing.
However, from my viewpoint, this idea is unnecessary, and listed below are my reasons.
- Recruiting - That begs the question, would we benefit more from better recruiting access in the New York/New England market? Or would Boston College and 'Cuse get the better end of the deal with better access to South Florida? Personally I wouldn't trade our recruiting base for theirs and we already have the New Jersey/Penn connections with the current staff. Hell, I wouldn't trade recruiting bases with any team in the Atlantic and why give any ACC teams more access to our talent pool? What I would rather see is better access to SoCal and Texas. Use your top OOC pick for marquee matchups with old rivals, Neb, ND, Ohio State, Oklahoma, etc., second level picks I would look for Texas teams and SoCal teams because that's where the recruiting bases are. Our neutral site matchup with LSU at Arlington, Texas in 2018 is a step in the right direction.
- Rivalries? - Renewing an old rivalry makes sense for Wake Forest and North Carolina, but not for us. We don't really have a rivalry with any of the remaining teams outside of one game 30 years ago with a ridiculous hail mary ending and a whole bunch of frustration waiting for McNabb to leave.
In addition, The U is a global brand with a national audience, why restrict that by playing more games on the East Coast? We may only be a 6-7 team this year, but we bring a lot more to the table than any team in the Atlantic division not named FSU and when the wins come again, we'll be more desirable. The U built that brand and reputation by taking on the best teams in the country. No matter who, no matter where. Last time I looked Syracuse and Boston College weren't on the list. While it's true Miami hasn't been on that list for a decade, I'll wager we get back there before either of those teams and we'll get there faster by staying in the national picture.
Although, with Al Golden previously being a fan of a 9-game conference scheduling format, it's possible we may see this. So, we'll play the waiting game.