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Eight-game ACC football schedule benefits Pitt and the conference members

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, the ACC held a vote to determine if the football conference schedule would remain at eight games or shift to nine. Athletic directors voted and the conference will stick with an eight-game ACC schedule.

The big thing here is that an eight-game schedule gives teams more flexibility when determining non-conference opponents. With four non-con opponents, teams have a little more leeway in who they want to play.

For a while, I've been on board with an eight-game schedule. Eight games gives teams the opportunity for two 'tune-up' games, a rivalry game, and another P5 game - or some combination thereof, obviously. Nine ACC games removes one of those things from the equation and makes it much more difficult to play an out-of-conference P5 opponent.

Specifically to Pitt, an eight-game ACC schedule is really beneficial if you're of the mindset that believes they should play West Virginia. The Panthers want to play Penn State and have prioritized that over everything. But as long as there is an eight-game schedule, there's really no reason not to play West Virginia now in years that they can't get the Nittany Lions on the schedule.

But the eight-game schedule isn't only beneficial to Pitt - it's a good thing for the entire conference. The one thing that still throws a wrench into potential plans is when Notre Dame is on the schedule. And frankly, that's even more reason to stick with eight games. The Irish rotate ACC teams every year and will eat up a non-conference spot as long as they remain an Independent. Had the league gone to a nine-game schedule, things would have been really tight in years when the Irish showed up. But even when they do now, Pitt and other teams still have three games to fill.

A nine-game ACC schedule would have had its benefits. Obviously, in a league with 15 teams, it would allow fans to see Atlantic Division teams like Florida State and Clemson a little more often. And in deciding a league title, it's always good to get to play as many of those teams as possible. But the benefit, specifically to Pitt which can claim rivalries with Penn State and West Virginia, outweighs that.

What do you think? Would you rather see the conference play an eight-game or nine-game ACC slate? Vote in the poll below.

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