The ACC announced its 2020 football scheduling model, which will be a 10+1 format. Teams were assigned their 10 conference opponents, but how best to use the plus one?
SI’s Blue Devil Country publisher Shawn Krest and All Wolfpack publisher Brett Friedlander appeared on a podcast for Rivals’ Tar Heel Illustrated, with publisher Andrew Jones to discuss the new ACC schedule.
There was a difference of opinion on the best way to use the one non-conference game allotted to ACC teams. Friedlander, who remembers NC State scrambling to find an opponent, any opponent, to fill its schedule a few years ago, when a hurricane forced a cancellation of a game, thought that it was important just to get a game scheduled with someone.
Krest, who saw Duke get its Middle Tennessee State home game replaced by a game with Florida State and a home game with Elon replaced by a trip to Syracuse, thought that going to 10 conference games made the schedule significantly more difficult. The best bet would be to find a “cupcake” of a non-conference opponent to insure a win.
Then there’s UNC. With quarterback Sam Howell looking like a possible Heisman candidate, the Tar Heels could be a dark horse to contend for an ACC title and a berth in the College Football Playoff. With that in mind, North Carolina might want to keep its strength of schedule in mind and make sure that it schedules a non-conference game that will carry weight with the selection committee.