Weaver advocates expanding the league schedule from eight to 10 games. That would make divisions less jarring, create more crossover contests and spare ACC schools some of the six-figure guarantees they pay visiting non-conference opponents.
The downsides are less scheduling flexibility and fewer intersectional games such as Florida State-Oklahoma and Miami-Ohio State. Plus, someone has to lose the additional league games, which could translate to fewer bowl-eligible teams.
Nine conference games would be an acceptable compromise – if coaches and athletic directors accepted that every other year they’d play five on the road and four at home. The old Pacific 10 played a nine-game league schedule, so it is doable.
Finally, Notre Dame. The Irish revel in their football independence and value long-standing annual games against Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Southern California and Navy. So even with the seismic landscape shifts, their joining the ACC for all sports seems improbable.
But rest assured Swofford is making (has made?) a play for Notre Dame’s national brand and academic renown.
On the off chance the Irish said yes, divisional concerns would be minimal. Heck, the ACC might even try four-team pods within eight-team divisions, a convoluted system that could pair the four North Carolina schools but would create the possibility of two division rivals not playing one another and tying for first place.
Then how would you determine who advanced to the ACC title game? The BCS standings? Coin flip? Punt, pass and kick contest?
If Notre Dame joined, the ACC, Weaver included, would welcome those headaches.
By the way, Yahoo! Sports’ columnist Dan Wetzel makes an interesting case for an Irish-ACC marriage in a column linked here.