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College Football Insider

ACC considering permanent late-season rivals for all teams

The ACC is considering the creation of permanent rivalry games for all of its football teams on the last weekend of the regular season starting in 2014, according to several sources.

The league could announce an expanded “rivals week” lineup soon, according to one membership source, while North Carolina-NC State is considered a possible matchup.

Six teams currently have annual rivals on the last weekend of the season: Virginia Tech-Virginia, Florida State-Florida, Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia Tech-Georgia and Wake Forest-Vanderbilt. The Demon Deacons reportedly are scheduled out with Vanderbilt until 2015 and, according to Vanderbilt associate athletics director Kevin Colon, could renew the series.

That leaves tenured members Miami, Boston College, NC State, UNC and Duke along with three incoming schools -- Pitt and Syracuse (2013) and Louisville (2014).

From 2008-13, the five tenured schools have played or scheduled at least three different teams on the last weekend of the season.

This topic was discussed briefly at this week's spring meetings in Amelia Island, according to a source.

It's uncertain how many rivalries would stay within divisional play or whether they would affect future divisional realignment. One concern for the league is minimizing the chance of two rivals playing on back-to-back weeks if those teams make the ACC Championship Game.

Each ACC team plays six divisional games, one primary crossover and one rotating partner in the current league setup.

UNC, Miami, Duke and Pitt are in the Coastal Division, while Louisville, Boston College, Syracuse and North Carolina State are in the Atlantic. Miami plays Pitt on the last weekend of 2013 -- maybe that will spark a late-November rivalry.

Notre Dame, a part-time ACC football member, will play every team in the league from 2014-16. But Notre Dame has USC and Stanford scheduled for late November in 2014 and 2015.

Notre Dame starts with Louisville, UNC and Wake at home in 2014, followed by road games at FSU and Syracuse.

The ACC is sticking with an eight-game conference schedule at least in part because of the Notre Dame dynamic. The ACC and SEC are the only power conferences that have yet to commit to nine games.

The league can get creative with its scheduling after securing the grant of media rights that should shut down conference realignment for awhile. The league is stable, so a permanent rivalry slate is a way for the conference to mushroom its tradition.

 
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