While they're far from done negotiating deals, the ACC already has seven (sort-of eight, though) bowl partnerships on the books for the postseason cycle running from 2014 through 2019. It's exciting news both for the conference's existing membership, as well as new folks like the Orange, who have been pining for an upgrade in bowl locations and opponents. As the press release lays out:
"The new agreements, all six years in length, feature increased net financial revenues to the Conference, reduced ticket obligations, added flexibility in selection of teams to create the best possible matchups and avoid repeat appearances, prioritized geographic regional proximity for better fan access, additional new market and bowl game possibilities for ACC teams and a greatly increased presence in bowl games in Florida."
First off: hooray money! Making more money from bowl appearances, plus forking over less for unsold tickets means more cash for everyone overall. The flexibility piece is another big one, since it means avoiding repeated trips to the Pinstripe Bowl for Syracuse, and a variation of opponents over time, which should drive up interest. The ACC's definitely done a better job this time around of putting games in the right markets, too, as you'll see below.
So which games does Syracuse have some sort of chance to be part of, starting in 2014? (listed in order of importance... maybe)
College Football Playoff (Various Locations): This one's a longshot, but if we go undefeated sometime, we're very likely to be one of four super special teams vying for a super special non-NCAA national championship. This is not one of the seven games included in this announcement.
Orange Bowl (Miami, Fla.): Syracuse is a natural fit here, since well ORANGE, and I've heard Otto's cousin runs the place. Sounds like an in. Though we'll have to win the ACC Championship to get there, unless the ACC champ plays in the playoff. The ACC's opponent in this game is also a rotation from the SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame, depending on a variety of factors. See, caveats galore already, made.
Russell Athletic Bowl (Orlando, Fla.): They get first dibs on the next best ACC team once the College Football Playoff and Orange Bowl have already been filled out. You'll want to follow their Twitter handle, which is the best thing about this bowl more often than not.
Capital One Bowl (Orlando, Fla.): ALL YOUR ORLANDOES BELONGZ TO US -- that is, if the Big Ten plays in the Orange Bowl. Then in that case, the ACC gets to play in this game, too. Yes, very confusing stuff.
Sun Bowl (El Paso, Tex.): This game is close to zero teams in the ACC, but it's got "tradition" and old-ness to it that we just can't find anywhere else. It is, however, a great opportunity to play against the Pac-12, which I'm all in favor of.
Belk Bowl (Charlotte, N.C.): We'll end up here at some point in the next few years, I can almost guarantee it.
Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx, N.Y.): The two-time Pinstripe Bowl champion Syracuse Orange will almost undoubtedly be playing in this game in the near future too. I'd say we'd be facing off with a Big Ten team like Rutgers but I doubt they'll be bowl eligible once they've upgraded their schedule from the FCS slate it's been for the past decade.
Music City Bowl (Nashville, Tenn.): Tennessee's a new market for us, which is fun. The ACC will be playing three games here over the six-year span, all against SEC competition, it appears.
Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla.): During the three years the ACC's not at the Music City Bowl, they'll be participating in the Gator Bowl. Unsure how this rotation will decide itself, but I'm in favor of variation.
... and there's still more coming. The ACC's set to face the Big Ten in that new Detroit Bowl at Ford Field and the American Athletic Conference in the Military Bowl (in Annapolis, Md.). As BC Interruption mentioned the other day, the Liberty Bowl, Advocare V100 Bowl and Beef O'Brady's Bowl (the Quest for Beef lives!) could also be in play as well.
So to recap:
- Love the better bowls, locations and money.
- Will certainly be confused about the exceptions to certain tie-ins for the foreseeable future.
- Applauding the decision not to stack ACC teams against much better SEC squads in the postseason and then let the media parade an "ACC is so much weaker" narrative around for weeks afterward.
- Why are we playing the Big Ten so much? I thought we hated them.
- If you look at all these power conference v. power conference bowls, it seems very obvious that a split between those five leagues and the so-called "Gang of Five" is coming soon. Mark it down.
Any other thoughts? Outside of the Pinstripe (obvious), which bowls does everyone else want to pay a visit to over the next six years?