Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss ACC’s new pod scheduling system that will be rolling out in a few years, and debate if it’s something that would be best to roll out in all conferences.
DAN WETZEL: This is from The Athletic. Momentum is moving within the ACC to remake its football scheduling model, perhaps even as early as 2023. The most likely scenario is a [? 3-5 ?] model, which would give each school three annual opponents while cycling in five new opponents per year. So you would have a pod, a small division of four teams, and you would play the other three every year. And then, in this case, you'd have five rotating games. Other leagues might try to have one protected rivalry, which I actually think they would do in the ACC, but we'll see.
And so you'd play four new teams every year, opposed to the division model, where you play six different teams every single year. In some cases, could be even more, as this gets-- as the leagues get bigger. And then you're only rotating in a couple of teams. And that means teams in your non-division-- the SEC West and East-- rarely play.
Texas A&M has been in the SEC for a decade. They've played Georgia once, 2019. This is not exactly a heated rivalry. We talked a few weeks ago about the Purdue-Penn State. They barely ever play.
I think the old system was designed to create a lot of rivalries. But I think as attendance becomes an issue, continues to be an issue, you want some variety and some new games to do all that.
So that seems to be where this is headed in terms of scheduling, not just for the ACC, but for perhaps all the leagues, as we get going. A little new blood there instead of the lengthy stuff, like-- and this would, also, if we got rid of divisions, it would mean I never would have had to learn the ACC's divisions. So lazy me. Because there's Clemson, and then there's the other one.
PAT FORDE: Clemson and teams that will lose to Clemson in the title game.
DAN WETZEL: Is Clemson in the Coastal or not in the Coastal? They're in the mountains.
PAT FORDE: Clemson's in the Atlantic.
DAN WETZEL: OK, yeah, because they're in the mountains.
PAT FORDE: Yes.
DAN WETZEL: But it's Coastal and Atlantic, which is-- it's [? bad. ?] Yeah, anyway.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Your thoughts on the pods.
PAT FORDE: I think it makes sense for the most part. As you noted, variety is the spice of scheduling life. You want-- the fans get tired of seeing the same teams, other than their rivals that they really want to play. So, like, Florida isn't all that excited to see Kentucky, or to see Vanderbilt, or to see Missouri all the time. They want to see Georgia. And they want to play Tennessee. Most of the teams that they're playing every year, like, eh.
So it's like, yeah, let's see a little more of Texas A&M. Let's see some more of Alabama and Auburn. May lose some more games, but still, you're going to get a fresher rotation and probably fuller stadiums as part of the process. You will, theoretically, get two better teams in your championship games if you're just basically matching the two highest ranked teams, as opposed to two division champions.
One thing you lose is the chance for some bragging rights for some of these schools. I mean, hey, Missouri was really happy to win the SEC East twice. South Carolina was really happy to win the SEC East. Arkansas has, in the past, won the SEC West. You're taking that out of the bag for some of these schools and basically tell them, sorry. You're probably not going to win anything. You still have a chance, but--
DAN WETZEL: Get to Atlanta.
PAT FORDE: Get to Atlanta.
DAN WETZEL: Get to Indianapolis. Right. Yeah, get--
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: But you could win your pod.
PAT FORDE: You can win your pod. And what do you get for that? Do you get the college football and [? choir ?] [? bean ?] pot? I mean--
DAN WETZEL: You get a little-- we could do the bean pot. That's right. The bean pot could be back.
PAT FORDE: Maybe we should do a bean pot for every pod for every league, if somebody wants to sponsor that.
DAN WETZEL: The most mediocre pod, whoever wins, because we're a mediocre pod.
PAT FORDE: [LAUGHS]
DAN WETZEL: Whoever wins.
PAT FORDE: Exactly.