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Path of the Storm: Recapping major offseason changes around the ACC

The purpose of this segment is to bring attention to the developments of our foes around the ACC, accompanied by appearances from our rivals and other top programs. If you are able to find anything else pertaining to the league that I failed to include please post the source in the comments section.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After the 2014 football season came to an end, I muted all things #GoACC, crawled into to bed, and fell into a deep, ACC-impenetrable slumber. As I catch up on the latest grumblings out of Greensboro, NC, I find the Atlantic Coast Conference has made some alterations. Listed below are coaching changes, quarterback transfers, and legislation the ACC is putting forth to amend NCAA rules on how conference champions can be decided. These changes, directly or indirectly, impact the Miami Hurricanes, so let's discuss them.

Former Michigan State Spartans Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi is the new Head Coach for the Pittsburgh Panthers. As Narduzzi said here, he intends to apply much of what he's learned from Mark Dantonio and Michigan State to the Panthers. He's already brought a breath of fresh air into Pitt's recruiting game (and suggestive photoshop skills - Hey college coaches, stop recruiting with creepy female celebrity photoshops - SB Nation).

North Carolina made defensive-minded coaching changes of their own with the hire of Gene Chizik as Defensive Coordinator. Chizik still carries baggage from his time as the Head Coach for the Auburn Tigers. However, the prospect of improving the Tar Heels' defensive play proved more valuable to Larry Fedora. In 2014, North Carolina's defense surrendered 70 points to East Carolina and had 34 missed tackles in a 31-24 victory over San Diego State, finishing the year ranked 117th in total defense.

The Virginia Cavaliers have a long history of quarterbacks defecting. While Greyson Lambert parted ways with the Cavaliers earlier this month, Corwin Cutler, who had previously announced his intent to transfer via Twitter, has elected to stay with the Wahoos.

In contrast to Virginia, Florida State gained former Notre Dame Quarterback Everett Golson through transfer.

Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson is fully healed and receiving all the way-too-early praise. Watson and the Tigers take on the Canes in Sun Life Stadium on October 24th. This matchup marks the first meeting between the two schools since 2010 when the Hurricanes came away with a 30-21 victory in Death Valley.

In non-ACC news: the Cincinnati Bearcats will host the Hurricanes on October 1st in their newly renovated Nippert Stadium.

Hoops: Canes Basketball will face Nebraska in the ACC-B1G challenge.

Let's talk about it. The ACC is backing legislation that would change NCAA rules on how conference champions can be decided, as reported by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. As the current NCAA rule states: A league must have at least 12 members to play a conference title game. Teams must also play a round-robin within each division. While mostly geared towards the Big 12, and not expected to pass until 2016, it has ACC implications.

What does the ACC seek to gain in backing this legislation? That's unclear. Attracting our attention is the possibility of the ACC parting ways with its current two-division format. This option has invited new conference layout designs, such as converting to three divisions and a pod system devised by From the Rumble Seat, among others. We'll gloss over both concepts for those that are intrigued.

  • Three divisions with five members each. Adding another conference member, most likely the full inclusion of Notre Dame, is needed in order for this scenario to work. Each member will play its fellow division members and two conference foes apiece from the other two divisions for an 8-game conference schedule. Tiebreaker rules for this layout is to defer to national rankings and send the highest ranked division champions to Charlotte. How might that look? You can find an SB Nation concept design here.
  • Seeking an alternative to help ease the ACC's scheduling dilemma, From the Rumble Seat has crafted a pod system. In the ACC's current scheduling format, the infrequency that teams from opposing divisions meet, that aren't permanent crossover rivals, is a problem. From the Rumble Seat set out to solve this problem. This pod system allows for the conference to keep its 8-game schedule while also allowing each member to play every other member twice every four years. Go ahead, read it. They're not fooling.


If you are able to find anything else pertaining to the league that I failed to include please post the source in the comments section. Have you devised your own concept for future ACC scheduling? You can share that there, too. Are you bitter that other Coastal Division members made defensive-minded changes and not your own team? You're not alone. We'll see you below.