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Notre Dame confirms Orange Bowl discussions with ACC

Champs Sports Bowl - Florida State v Notre Dame Getty Images

Last night, reported that representatives from the ACC and Notre Dame met over the weekend. As a result, there was yet another brief stir regarding conference realignment.

Well, exhale once again, y’all. Even if the topic of the Irish joining the ACC in any capacity was brought up, it’s not being divulged. What has been disclosed are discussions between the two sides about a possible match-up in the Orange Bowl, which extended its partnership with the ACC last week by another 12 years.

Notre Dame confirmed the talks in a release today after the Chicago Tribune reached out to the school for comment in a follow-up to the TigerIllustrated report.

“Since the development of the new plan for post-season football, the ACC and Notre Dame have had discussions relating to the Orange Bowl,” spokesman John Heisler said in the statement. “While presidents have been consulted, the discussions have been between ACC conference staff and [athletic director] Jack [Swarbrick].”

Nothing official, but at any rate, the mere fact that Notre Dame is considering a BCS bowl tie-in of sorts is a departure from both the status quo and Swarbrick’s initial vision of the Irish’s place in college football’s new postseason. According to Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s first preference was, as one would expect, to “bowl hop” among available “Big Six” bowls provided it finishes in the top 12 at the end of the regular season.

But now that the ACC has followed the lead of the Big Ten and Pac-12, which have already extended their agreement with the Rose Bowl, at-large spots in the six major bowls that will make up college football’s new postseason are limited since “automatic qualifier” will be replaced with “contractual tie-in.”

Anyone who’s anyone is securing their spot, and you know Notre Dame will not watch its postseason inclusion odds be reduced. Not when it has options.¬†Not when it can afford to strike a deal and, perhaps, maintain some of that flexibility Swarbrick wanted.

Otherwise, the Irish will be forced to join a conference for football. And face it: like it or not, if that was a real possibility, it would have happened by now.

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13 Responses to “Notre Dame confirms Orange Bowl discussions with ACC”
  1. thefiesty1 says: Jul 9, 2012 11:25 PM

    The Orange Bowl should be eliminated from the National championship picture for the six rotating bowls. ACC and ND, give us a break. None of them will be in the top four.

  2. ndnut says: Jul 9, 2012 11:29 PM

    Big Ten if football goes to a conference, ACC if it doesn’t. Big Least isn’t that great in basketball either anymore.

  3. dcroz says: Jul 9, 2012 11:52 PM

    What’s amazing is that people cannot get past the “BCS” mindset. The BCS will exit for the 2012 season, the 2013 season…and then will be no more. The Orange, Rose, Sugar, and Fiesta (along with the Big XII/SEC Champions Bowl–or whatever they call it–and a sixth bowl) will only be really important in years when two of them host the semifinals of the new national championship tournament. Otherwise, they are free to make whatever contracts they want, since they will then just be like all the other bowls except with more prestige.

    And frankly I can’t blame the Orange Bowl. It has been the redheaded stepchild of the BCS, usually getting the least-appealing matchups of the major bowls. With Notre Dame being involved in years when the Orange is not hosting a national semifinal, it may at least get more attention than it usually has the last several years. And Notre Dame, of course, gets more exposure than it has in its last two decades of relative mediocrity. A win for all concerned.

  4. dcroz says: Jul 9, 2012 11:54 PM

    That should say “The BCS will exist…”, not “exit.”

  5. rexbeatsoff2feet says: Jul 10, 2012 2:59 AM

    Ohh baby…. 7-5 ND Vs 8-4 Acc troll. What a match up!

  6. 35longmiles says: Jul 10, 2012 5:38 AM

    Notre Dame and Miami, A has-been match made in heaven.

  7. drummerhoff says: Jul 10, 2012 8:36 AM

    Its not clear to me … is the relationship ND v ACC in the OB or ND takes an ACC team’s spot in the OB every few years?

  8. rsmeans says: Jul 10, 2012 8:39 AM

    Some say that Georgia Southern and Western Kentucky are more relevant in football than Notre Dame. Is that true?

  9. Ben Kercheval says: Jul 10, 2012 8:44 AM


    The ACC will always have a spot in the Orange Bowl. If you go back to THIS, John explains how that works about halfway down.

    As for Notre Dame, they could have a tie-in to the Orange Bowl if they finish in the top 12.

  10. whoisedgy says: Jul 10, 2012 12:52 PM

    If Notre Dame finishes in the top 12 ANY non-contracted bowl game would want them. It doesn’t make sense for them to commit to playing a second-tier ACC team every time they are eligible.

  11. acieu says: Jul 10, 2012 7:08 PM

    Give them Clemson and victory is assurred.

  12. bertenheim says: Jul 10, 2012 9:30 PM

    Notre Dame “could have a tie-in to the Orange Bowl IF they finish in the top 12.”
    So this is all academic.

  13. florida727 says: Jul 11, 2012 9:25 AM

    I’m not a Notre Dame fan. In fact, despite growing up in Chicago, I couldn’t stand them. However, putting rooting interests aside, this amkes a lot of sense for Notre Dame, the ACC, and the Orange Bowl.

    Makes sense for Notre Dame because if they finish in the Top 12, they assure themselves of being in one of the premier bowls, and landing a significant pay day.

    Makes sense for the ACC because they get to ride the coattails of Notre Dame if/when the Irish become relevant in college football again… which they will; sports is cyclical as we all know.

    Makes sense for the Orange Bowl because Notre Dame “travels well”. Their fan base would fly to Moscow to watch them play against a DII school. And I mean that as a compliment. They’re loyal as the day is long.

    As long as Notre Dame insists on maintaining conference independence, this is a no-brainer for them. Don’t be surprised to see another article from Ben sooner rather than later that this gets finalized. Good luck to all involved.

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