UPDATED 1:25 P.M. WITH ECU NOT HAVING ANY 2013 OPENINGS.
The ACC announced Wednesday that it will scrap its plan to go to nine conference games in football beginning next year, when Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the conference, and instead continue with the current eight-game format.
The move has left ACC athletic directors jockeying to fill their 2013 schedules on short notice. Each team must now find an additional nonconference game, and Virginia Tech’s Jim Weaver said Thursday he would even consider playing an ACC foe in a nonleague game.
“We’re all just going to be in a mad scramble,” he said. “It’s just been kind of a crazy experience.”
It’s so crazy that Weaver is open to facing another ACC school in a one-time game or as part of home-and-home series that wouldn’t count toward the league standings. He also called East Carolina Athletic Director Terry Holland about potentially facing the Pirates next year, but Holland told David Teel of the Daily Press that the Pirates’ 2013 schedule is already full.
The Hokies were originally supposed to face East Carolina in 2012 and 2013, part of a long-running series between the two schools, but moved the games to 2016 and 2017 in order to make room for next year’s season opener against Alabama in Atlanta.
As it stands now, Virginia Tech will face East Carolina at Lane Stadium in 2015 and 2017, and make a trip to Greenville, N.C., in 2016.
“We pushed some things back with them and now we might have to see if we can move it closer to the current time,” Weaver said.
Weaver was a big proponent of the ACC moving toward nine conference football games because he felt it was better for fans and would save the conference’s schools some money and headaches by not having to schedule a fourth nonconference game.
But the decision to have nine conference games did not go over well at schools like Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech, which annually face in-state rivals from the Southeastern Conference at the end of the year. In seasons when they would also have Notre Dame on the schedule – each ACC school will play the Fighting Irish once every three years as part of them joining the league as a partial member – it would make it hard to set up any other marquee home-and-home series.
“I think those three institutions thought that was a little much,” Weaver said.
Their issues, though, have left Weaver and Virginia Tech in something of a bind. Weaver said he doesn’t want to end up in a situation like Florida State encountered this year after West Virginia pulled out of a game when it joined the Big 12.
The Seminoles were forced to play two games against Football Championship Subdivision competition this season as a result (and thus must win seven games to qualify for the postseason). The Hokies already have a matchup with Western Carolina planned for 2013, but at this late juncture, Weaver is open to almost anything beside another FCS foe.
“If somebody could drop something out of the sky and in our lap this afternoon, I’d take it,” Weaver said. “But in all seriousness, we’re just gonna have to work through it. You just don’t know how long it will take.”