With the a recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, universities are preparing for the return of students on campus for the 2020-21 academic year. Another hot topic colleges are facing is the matter of the upcoming college football season, which is scheduled to start in nearly a month.
Several athletic conferences have already postponed fall seasons. The Pac-12 and Big Ten have moved to conference-only competition for the 2020 campaign. The ACC has yet to announce a decision on the football season, although an announcement is expected to come in the following week.
Reports indicate the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 are collaborating to put together a favorable schedule that would include 10 league games plus one non-conference foe. Another model being proposed is the inclusion of Notre Dame in the ACC for the 2020 season.
The scheduling model needs approval from the ACC board of directors, made up of all 15 presidents and chancellors. If the ACC were to adopt the 10 + 1 plan, the conference would be going for a very aggressive schedule heading into the fall season. ACC commissioner John Swofford has publicly said that he will do what he can to help the Fighting Irish fill their schedule.
Unlike other Power 5 programs, the ACC comes with its own set of challenges. The conference has various scheduling partnerships, including four ACC/SEC rivalry games. It's been reported the SEC is also fighting to keep the annual non-conference rivalry games. The ACC also faces the question of how to incorporate Notre Dame into the league standings for the upcoming season, and if the Irish would be on board.
It seems apparent that the ACC and the SEC have no desire for a conference-only schedule.
An 11-game schedule - 10 conference games and a ‘plus one’ against another Power Five school - seems most favorable. It would allow the four ACC teams to play their end-of-the-season rivalry games. It also holds opponents accountable for following the NCAA's coronavirus testing guidelines.
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