*Disclaimer: this article was written before the rivalries were announced
The ACC recently toyed with the idea of dropping divisions and having the format in which every team has 3 rivals that they play every year and then a 5-team rotation of the other teams in the conference. This idea has since become a reality and will be put into place in 2023.
So, what’s different from what’s happening now? Currently there are two divisions – the Atlantic and the Coastal, both of which have 7 teams. Each division plays the other 6 teams every year and then 2, non-division, conference games. The top team in each division would then play each other in the conference championship. Now, there is one division (the conference) and each team will have 3 rivals and rotate the other 10 teams in a 4 year cycle – 5 of the same teams for 2 years (1 home and 1 away game) and then the other 5 the next two years. The top 2 teams after that will then play for the conference championship.
I for one, love this concept. This gets rid of a sorry team from a weak division going to the conference championship over a more deserving second place team in the other division (see Florida St. and Clemson in the Atlantic being top 10 teams and only one of them making it to the conference championship throughout 2010-2017). I also love the rivalry games. Now we may lose some of the classic rivalries as conference games, but don’t worry, if a team has a rivalry that they don’t want to give up and it wont work in the current format, they can play it in one of their non-conference game allotments (see Wake Forest vs UNC 2021 Nonconference game).
Of course, I have my opinion for what the permanent “rivalry” game should be, check it out below and let me know what you think! I appreciate you reading, and I hope you enjoy!
Boston College – they don’t really have any rivals (gotta be good for that), but I figured I’d match them up with the closest two other teams and then the other “smart” school in the ACC with Duke (another team that is good at schoolin’, but not quite good at the football).
Clemson – they have been in the ACC for quite some time and have some historic rivalries (Textile Bowl, Bowden Bowl, McFadden Bowl). However, I felt that one of those rivalries should get the boot (McFadden Bowl against Boston College) due to another ACC team being so close by…sorry Georgia Tech.
Duke – I tried to keep the Tobacco Road games together, but something had to give. Duke HAS to play UNC, so I couldn’t get rid of that. So, I got rid of NC State, added Boston College, and moved on…its Duke, who cares.
Florida St. – Miami vs Florida St. is a given, and Clemson Florida St. is almost as obvious of a rivalry as that too. The third was tough. Louisville is kind of the “black sheep” of the ACC and had trouble getting 3 rivals. Well, lucky for me, Florida and Kentucky both get quite a bit of tornados apparently, so I birthed a rivalry from the rubble of a twister – call me Aeolus…or William, or…let’s just move along.
Georgia Tech – this one was tough. Passed Clemson, I had to really dig for other rivalries. Apparently, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech have some qualms to settle as to who is the best engineering school (nerds) so the “Techmo Bowl” lives. A third rivalry was tough for Georgia Tech, so I tapped into my son’s one year old brain and gave them Wake Forest because they have similar colors (very scientific and deep of me, I know).
Louisville – this one was the toughest by a long shot. Pitt is close by, and other than that, the other close schools already had more lucrative matchups. So, I figured that Miami is known for cocktails, Louisville is known for bourbon – oft added to cocktails — thus a fierce battle came forth. The Florida St. one was mentioned previously in the Florida St. snippet, and I will NOT repeat myself.
Miami – This one was easy. Florida St is also in Florida and these two teams already have bad blood from the past. Virginia Tech and Miami left the Big East and joined the ACC at the same time, and the Louisville one was mentioned above.
NC State – The Clemson and NC State rivalry has become a lot more interesting as of late. The feud between Dabo Swinney and Dave Doren is really budding into quite the fun show, so this game had to stay – plus they already played the “Textile Bowl” making this an easy choice. I then decided to keep the other two more fun North Carolina football matchups with UNC and Wake Forest.
Pitt – Another ACC baby. This one I went with geographical location to give rivalries. The names of the bowls were fun; Old School Bowl: Syracuse and Pitt have been around and relevant for YEARS. The Blue Collar Bowl: Pittsburgh and Boston are both known for having tough, blue-collar workers…I guess. Kentucky and Pennsylvania both border the Ohio River…lame but whatever.
Syracuse – Boston and New York hate each other, especially in baseball, hence the “Baseball Bowl.” Syracuse and Virginia are both known as basketball schools so, the “Basketball Bowl” …I know, I’m a jeanyuhs.
UNC – Apparently UNC vs Virginia is the “South’s Oldest Rivalry” didn’t know that, but it’s way too important to get rid of it. Duke and UNC can’t be separated like divorcees with joint custody. And NC St. vs UNC would be more fun to watch than UNC vs Wake.
Virginia – Virginia vs Virginia Tech was easy…they both have orange in their color scheme. Oh and I guess they are actual in-state rivals regardless of conference. The other two have already been discussed so QUIT ASKIN (insert Nick Saban meme).
Virginia Tech – WE MUST PRESERVE THE TECHMO BOWL!!! Miami and VT came into the ACC at the same time, so naturally they should play every year. And don’t make me drop another Nick Saban meme here about the Virginia rivalry…
Wake Forest – And last and, most recently, not least. Wake Forest will stay in state for 2 rivals and play Georgia Tech solely because they both have color schemes that are gold and dark (Wake = black, GT = navy blue).
Unless you skipped ahead to the end, I want to thank you for reading this article! Let me know what you think and I hope you enjoyed…unless you skipped to the end – you’re the scum of the Earth, but I still appreciate you.