While details of a four-team playoff such as payout and selection remain undecided, it’s beyond clear that college football’s new-look postseason will have representatives from the five major conferences. And that’s about it.
Courtesy of a report from Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, the Orange Bowl is nearing a deal that would match the ACC champion against either Notre Dame, a Big Ten or SEC team. The move would begin after the 2014 regular season. News of the agreement, which has not been finalized, comes a week after the ACC announced Notre Dame as a member in all sports except football (and hockey). Details of that partnership mandate that the Irish play five ACC opponents a year in football.
Here are the specifics of the reported arrangement, per McMurphy:
The ACC champion, or another team from the conference if its champion qualifies for the national semifinals, will play annually in the Orange Bowl. How the ACC’s opponent will be selected from Notre Dame, the SEC or Big Ten is still being determined.
The ACC and Orange Bowl would have the opportunity to take Notre Dame, if it doesn’t make the national semifinals; an SEC team not in the national semifinals or Champions Bowl; or a Big Ten team not in the semifinals or Rose Bowl.
Two semifinal games in college football’s new playoff will rotate among six bowl sites. The Orange Bowl is expected to be one of those sites. However, unlike the Rose Bowl and Champions Bowl, which are also believed to be among the rotating playoff locations and have contracts with the Big Ten/Pac-12 and Big 12/SEC respectively, the Orange Bowl had no permanent opponent for the ACC. Not coincidentally, future TV payout for the Orange Bowl has been difficult to gauge despite an extended agreement with the ACC.
Notre Dame confirmed two months ago to the Chicago Tribune that it was talking with the ACC about becoming a tie-in.
The move, assuming it comes to fruition, is designed to maximize the game’s TV value; it also limits the Big East, which doesn’t have a BCS tie-in, and its chances of having a seat at college football’s new table.
In essence, either your team is part of the privileged group or it isn’t.