When Notre Dame joined the ACC last year for a one-time-situation due to the pandemic, the league decided to do away with divisions and have the two teams with the best conference records play for the championship.
The Irish went 9-0 in their one season in the ACC, while Clemson went 8-1 in league play. After playing a double overtime thriller in South Bend in the regular season, the two met again in the championship game. It was a battle between No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Clemson.
It turned out to be great exposure for the ACC, as ESPN’s College GameDay made its way to Charlotte, as the country’s game of the week on championship weekend.
Clemson won the game 34-10 to win its sixth straight ACC Championship. The Tigers and Notre Dame both got into the College Football Playoff, just the second conference in the playoff era to have two playoff teams in the same year.
Given last year’s track record, would it not be good for the ACC to continue with no divisions and allow the top two teams to play for the title. It will not happen this year. The ACC has already said the conference will go back to division play, but with the CFP expanding to a 12-team field in the future, it might be in the ACC’s best interest to do away with divisions.
The proposal for the 12-team playoff is calling for conference champions from the Power 5 Conferences to be an automatic qualifier. The ACC, given the fact it has had division champions with three or more losses get into the title game, could be taking a chance at having a champion get into the playoff who is not highly ranked or ranked at all.
“We would think it would be really necessary for the ACC to do away with divisions,” one high-ranking administrator inside the ACC said to The Clemson Insider. “I would not be surprised if all the conferences, but particularly the ACC, do away with divisions.
“Think about it this away. If the playoff does in fact allow automatic qualifiers, the winner of the game in Charlotte goes. Boy, keeping divisions would be tough. Clemson has been in it six straight times and they have played a bunch of 8-4 and 9-3 teams and then there was the year Pitt was in. They had like five losses that year. So, if something funky happens in Charlotte and say Clemson does not play well and a team like Pitt’s beats Clemson, you could have an 8-5 going to the playoff as an automatic qualifier? I don’t know. I feel it needs to be the top two teams to go to Charlotte and whoever wins it, it is still a sure enough team that can compete in the playoff.”
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