Clemson's non-ACC series in jeopardy
CLEMSON -- Clemson football's highly anticipated non-conference series with Georgia, Mississippi and Oklahoma State are in jeopardy due to scheduling implications related to Atlantic Coast Conference expansion.
Earlier this year, the ACC announced it would adopt a nine-game regular season football schedule when Syracuse and Pittsburgh join the league, which could happen as early as next season. By adding another conference game, it places programs like Clemson in a position where it would play fewer than seven home games -- considered financially unviable -- in a number of upcoming years if it kept its scheduled dates with Georgia (2013-14), Ole Miss (2015-16) and Oklahoma State (2019-20).
With a nine-game schedule, Clemson would play five ACC road games every other year along with its annual series against rival South Carolina, meaning Clemson will play at minimum five road games per year. Teams play 12 regular season games per year.
Clemson has not made any official decision on its future series -- Clemson is set to host Georgia in 2013 -- but athletic director Terry Don Phillips notes the viability of the series are in question.
"It causes you to reassess what you are doing simply because, from a financial perspective, we have to have seven home football games," Phillips said. "(The expanded schedule) would impact your ability to have seven home games consistently."
The ACC will meet in April and May when the scheduling issues will be addressed.
The majority of programs voted to adopt a nine-game schedule.
With conference expansion comes benefits and drawbacks. Clemson ticket purchases could lose intriguing non-conference matchups from the schedule barring creativity or an unlikely willingness by Clemson to play six home games on occasion.
Instead of playing Georgia in 2013 and 2014, Clemson might have to settle for dates with new division rival Syracuse.
"The nine-game schedule, obviously, I understand the rationale," Phillips said. "But with us and other people that have got some quality games on their schedule, it is a problem. Over the past several years we have tried to solidify our schedule by scheduling some teams we know our fans would enjoy us playing: Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State."
And now the future of those series is in doubt.
Phillips said he has not discussed the possibility of returning to an eight-game schedule with ACC officials or other athletic directors.
Clemson fans are looking forward to renewing their rivalry with Georgia as the two schools are separated by just 80 miles. The two schools last played in 2003 but have played 62 times.