Yesterday the ACC announced that North Carolina and Wake Forest had agreed to play each other outside of the regular conference rotation. The games will take place in 2019 and 2021 and will NOT count toward their conference record in those years. This is the first time Power 5 schools from the same conference had entered into this type of agreement.
Wake Forest and UNC are in different divisions within the ACC, and although the schools are only separated by approximately 70 miles they have only played each other 4 times since 2004.
This is precedent setting in that it could potentially trickle down to every other Power 5 conference with the exception of one, the Big 12. Simply put, the Big 12 can not schedule games like this because of their round robin format.
Although a UNC/Wake Forest non-conference game would not do much for each schools strength of schedule that doesn’t mean other schools can’t follow suit. What would it do for schools like Georgia Tech if they were able to schedule FSU as a non-conference game? What if Ohio State were able to schedule Wisconsin as a non-conference opponent?
What I’m getting at is games such as these are a win-win for any conference. Take the OSU/Wisconsin scenario, that game could be broadcast on the Big 10 network keeping all money within the conference while strengthening both teams strength of schedule.
If other conferences follow suit it could further set everyone apart from the Big 12. This is not a cry for expansion but merely an additional concern for the Big 12. What happens if the SEC were to start scheduling non-conference games within conference? The SEC could keep many marquee games within their conference boarders. Don’t think for a second that would not further solidify the SEC as the best conference without them having to even step out of their own footprint to prove it.
This is only one series but the precedent has been set that if taken advantage of could further change the landscape of college football, not to mention the bearing it could have on the college playoff.