Dan Collins shares a great plan to help the ACC restore some of its historic luster:
But there’s still a way to retain the rivalries that have made the league what it is—or at least what it was before expansion. I wish I could say the idea was mine, but really I stole it from my buddy Al Featherston, the long-time ACC writer and historian. Like is said in songwriter circles: amateurs borrow, but professionals steal. Featherston’s proposal is to divide the conference into seven-team divisions, as is done for football. That would allow at least most of the rivalries to remain intact.
Each team would play teams in its division twice, of course, for a total of 12 games. And each would play the teams in the other divisions once, for seven more games. That’s 19 games, if my public school education hasn’t failed me.
The one flaw in the system could become its biggest selling point. The seven games against the other division would leave some teams with 10 home conference games and others with only nine. That is, unless one of the games against the other division was played at a neutral site.
So the way to make it all work for everybody—the fans, the media, the league and of course the television networks—would be to set aside a long weekend between mid-December and Christmas when all 14 ACC teams would congregate at a neutral site. One year it could be Greensboro, the next Atlanta, the next Charlotte, and the next Madison Square Garden. And over those three days the odd game against the other division could be played. It could be marketed and sold as an Early Bird Special of what fans can expect to see over the next 2 1/2 months and it would build up tremendous energy and enthusiasm at a time of the year any league—even the ACC—could use all it could get.