ACC dropping divisions in 2023
By: Mike Stiles - Wednesday, June 29, 2022

(photo courtesy of ACC)

(UNDATED) - The ACC became the latest conference to scrap divisions in favor of a new scheduling format Tuesday, making 2022 the final year of the Atlantic and Coastal divisions. Starting in 2023, the league announced it will move to a 3-5-5 format, in which each team has three permanent rivalry games played annually, with the other 10 opponents rotating on an every-other-year basis. The plans for a shift back to a single-division format gained steam during the league's spring meetings in May, with the ACC hoping to improve its TV inventory of marquee games and set up a league championship game that would include its two best teams annually. Interestingly, the new format would not have altered the teams playing in the ACC title game in seven of the past eight years. The ACC got a taste of the single-division system in 2020, when Notre Dame football joined the conference on a one-year basis due to COVID-19 restrictions. With 15 members, the ACC scrapped divisions, and the season culminated with a Clemson-Notre Dame matchup in the league's title game, with both teams ultimately making it to the College Football Playoff. The ACC is now the fifth FBS league to scrap divisions. The Big 12 has operated without divisions since 2011 after the departures of Nebraska, Missouri and Texas A&M in realignment. The American did away with the divisional format last year, when Connecticut departed for independent status. The Pac-12 and Mountain West have also voted to eliminate divisions for 2023. The SEC expects to follow suit but remains in discussions over the best format. The new scheduling format preserves many of the league's traditional rivalries, with Clemson-FSU, FSU-Miami, NC State-UNC and Virginia-Virginia Tech still on the books annually. But the shake-up does disrupt some other notable rivalries, including NC State and Wake Forest, who had played every year since 1910, the league's longest-running uninterrupted rivalry.