This morning the Atlantic Coast Conference gained a bit of stability and respect back with most college football circles. The ACC signed an exclusive 12 year deal with the Orange Bowl that will extend into the new Football “Final Four” coming in 2014.
The ACC now joins the PAC-12, Big 10, Big 12 and SEC with exclusive Bowl Deals guaranteeing at least two spots for each of those conferences for the upcoming playoff in ’14. The ACC championship normally determines who goes to the Orange Bowl. Well if a school like Virginia Tech or Clemson played their way into the championship picture, losing the conference title game would suck but hey, lose goes to the Orange Bowl. That’s not a bad trade off.
Now what does this mean for the Big East and Non-Automatic Qualifier Schools (or Non-AQ’s)?
For the Big East it puts more pressure on them to become a stronger football conference but that will take a hit in 2014 when Pittsburgh and Syracuse join the ACC. Does the Big East go after Notre Dame in order to save themselves and help Boise St. who will join the conference in 2013? Would Notre Dame sign an exclusive deal with the Fiesta, Orange or Sugar Bowl so even if they slogged their way to a seven or eight win season they would be playing on New Years Day.
If you’ve been paying attention to the dominoes falling in the college game, expect the next one to come from South Bend, IN. Home of……Notre Dame. So what if Notre Dame hasn’t been a true College Football threat since 1996, they bring in money and a television audience. Right now Notre Dame is wrapping up a new TV Deal (All signs point to them staying with NBC) and with that it would more than likely kill any chance of them joining the Big 12 or ACC for the foreseeable future. The next step after that would be locking up an exclusive bowl deal. If Notre Dame locks that up the bowl slot starting in 2014, there will be almost up to 11 of the 12 bowl slots take up including the football “final four”.
The days of being a Non-AQ are in it’s dying days. After today’s news, it’s almost certain.