ACC football is arguably in the best place it's ever been. Florida State is the defending national champion and figures to be a national powerhouse for the foreseeable future. Clemson won the Orange Bowl and is 22-4 over the past two seasons. Duke is playing its best football in the modern era. Miami is on the upswing. Virginia Tech is still a national brand. The league has upgraded in trading Maryland for Louisville, and Notre Dame joins this season as a partial member. Times are good in John Swofford's league.
And now they might about to get even better.
ESPN.com reported Friday that the ACC and SEC have discussed a scheduling agreement where all 14 (or as many as possible) members would play an annual game against an SEC foe. Both conferences are currently in discussions about whether or not to add a ninth conference game. At present, the SEC and ACC are the only Power Five conferences without concrete plans to play nine conference games; the Big 12 and Pac-12 are already there, and the Big Ten will move to nine conference games in 2016.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive told ESPN.com he would like to have something nailed down for the 2016 season.
"Achieving that objective involves exploring as many options as possible, which we are currently doing," Slive said. "Anything more is pure speculation."
Should it happen, an ACC-SEC scheduling agreement would certainly be a natural alliance. Florida-Florida State, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Clemson-South Carolina and Kentucky-Louisville are already annual rivalries, the Chick-fil-A Bowl has been exclusively an ACC-SEC match-up since 1993, and the two conferences routinely square off in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff game (Alabama vs. Virginia Tech in 2013, Auburn vs. Louisville in 2015).
Final say belongs to each conference's athletics directors, but the feeling emanating both leagues is that something needs to be done to boost their schedules.
There's a train coming, and its name is the College Football Playoff.
"Several factors come into play there," said Swofford. "One is the college football playoffs; what serves us best in terms of giving our teams the best opportunity to be in the playoff; and what gives us the most opportunities going forward television-wise, and how does that fold into any discussions about a potential channel. Those are discussions that will continue."