ACC needs to improve scheduling

A bad decision no matter how you look at it

Like me, did you watch Thursday night’s game between Duke Soccer and North Carolina women? When play-by-play announcer Jenn Hildreth said the matchup between the two rivals was a non-conference match, I fumbled for the remote to rewind and make sure what she was saying. After confirming what I heard, I still couldn’t believe these two rivals weren’t playing as part of the conference schedule. The ACC needs to get better at scheduling.

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I don’t know what planning matrix or plan is used by the ACC to determine conference matchups, but it’s a bad one. It makes absolutely no sense for bitter backyard rivals not to play each other. It makes even less sense when you consider the quality of these programs. Over 3,500 fans packed Koskinen Stadium for the game, which the Tar Heels won 3-0. The stadium had atmosphere and the game had intensity. Regardless of the method used by the folks in the ivory football tower of the ACC offices, this type of scheduling decision is a very bad one. Kudos to these two programs for recognizing the importance of rivalry and planning a game to keep it alive.

It’s even worse for men

The Duke men’s team is playing North Carolina but not NC St. Again, this doesn’t make sense. They’re almost literally in each other’s backyards, but the conference doesn’t think it’s a good idea for them to play every year. To make matters worse, the women play ten conference games, the men only eight. Why? Don’t you think two extra games against conference opponents would generate more interest than contests against the likes of Yale and George Washington? Both are part of the Blue Devils’ upcoming schedule. There is twelve men’s teams in the conference. If they played ten conference games, it would allow everyone to play all but one of the other teams. That would make a lot of sense and make for a larger number of compelling matchups. The boys in this ivory ACC football tower seem to be one for making bad planning decisions.

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In collegiate athletics, there’s nothing like a great rivalry. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re talking about, college rivalries are just special. Due to the realignment and expansion of the conference, we lost so many great rivalries. Those making conference scheduling decisions must do whatever it takes to keep these rivalries alive. So what if the scheduling method used doesn’t let the Duke and North Carolina women play in a specific season, make a few adjustments and ensure they meet in conference play and don’t have to agree to a non-conference game. This benefits fans, players, conferences and collegiate athletics in general.

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