A lot of marquee teams insist on playing 7 of their 12 games at home. With 9 conference games, in years that there is a 4-5 home-away split, such teams must have ALL 3 of their OOC games at home. That means basically, only one OOC team can be a quality opponent, while the other two will have to be FCS or bottom-of-the-barrell FBS. I'm convinced this is why the SEC is staying at 8 for the time being. And this is one of the hang-ups with ND joining the ACC. ND won't play 9 conference games, which is all but a necessity in a 16-team conference. In fact, I'm thinking that what piqued ND's interest in our conference was the rumor of FSU and Clemson, and maybe others leaving. ND thought they might be able to work something out within a 12 or 14-team ACC, but not within a 16-team one.
I hear what you're saying, but reality doesn't bear out the concern. First of all, outside of Clemson, no one in the ACC is scheduling more than 1 marquee OOC game on a regular annual basis. It's been 1 marquee game and 3 sisters of the poor (who sometimes defeat ACC teams...but that's for another conversation...LOL). Now it will be 1 marquee game and 2 sisters of the poor.
With regard to the SEC, it's the same thing--outside of maybe South Carolina, the SEC routinely challenges itself to only 1 marquee OOC opponent. I like the 9 conference game schedule because it eliminates a Marshall or Austin Peay that would otherwise be taking the spot of a Maryland, NC State, Wake Forest, Florida State, Syracuse or Clemson.
I do agree that 9 league games is almost a non-starter for Notre Dame. Like I've been saying, partial membership with ND playing 6 ACC games is the best compromise because it gets about half the ACC another quality opponent OOC and it allows ND to keep its national schedule. It's kind of win-win.
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