This is a busy time of year in college athletics as teams prepare for bowl season, basketball hits high gear, recruiting in all sports heats up, and college football coaches jump on and off the coaching carousel at an accelerated pace and ultimately change the fortunes of programs for years to come. Please remember that we try to cover all of these items in real-time on our growing message board community that now averages over 2,000 unique visitors a day!
The Atlantic Coast Conference hasn’t achieved significant national prominence on the football field the last couple of years, but over a long term horizon the conference continues to be well positioned to compete as a national power and annually vie to be one of the two or three best conferences in the country.
With this said, there are a couple of interesting developments related to ACC Football that will have significant impacts on its position in the near to mid-term future>
ACC fans can rest assured the runner-up in the conference championship game won’t fall as far as Clemson did this season for the next four years.
In the ACC’s next bowl cycle, which begins in 2010, the loser of the title game would never drop below the No. 4 bowl, which will be the Brut Sun Bowl — and that’s a bowl that will want the ACC runner-up. A matchup between the Pac-10 and the ACC runner-up would make for a great bowl game, should the loser fall that far.
The other rule change that will be in effect for the next four years is that the ACC has eliminated the clause in the contract that states if a bowl team has already selected the runner-up, it doesn’t have to choose it again. This year, according to current contracts, the Gator Bowl didn’t have to select Clemson because it already chose the runner-up in 2006.
Both of these adjustments should help smooth out the selection process for the next four years. While it didn’t turn out the way a lot of ACC fans would have liked to see this year, the current rules were in place to help protect the championship game loser. Imagine how far Boston College might have fallen the past two seasons had that rule not been in place — or if Wake Forest had lost in 2006. Next year, though, teams won’t be able to bypass the one-loss rule, and the selection order will look like this:
1. Orange Bowl
2. Chick-fil-A Bowl
3. Champs Sports Bowl
4. Brut Sun Bowl
5. Meineke Car Care Bowl
6. Music City Bowl
7. Independence Bowl
8. EagleBank Bowl
In an interesting bit of news, it appears that Fox Sports are in negotiations to bid for the rights to air ACC basketball and football games.
This comes on the heels of several other major shakeups coming to the televised rights of college football beginning in 2010.
If Fox is successful with their bid, it would make them the exclusive provider of ACC sports.
The goal of the deal is to allow the ACC to air in prime time and on a national scale.
Beginning in 2010, the SEC is moving exclusively to ESPN, since the Big 10 now has their own network.
Another major shift in college football television rights comes as a result of the NBC Universal/Comcast merger that could see Notre Dame losing their deal with NBC.
There is no doubt that gaining the rights to basketball and football would put Fox Sports at the forefront of college sports coverage.
For the ACC, this is a huge deal that could vault the conference back into the national spotlight.
The struggles of ACC football are widely known, but it is still the home to some of the best basketball in the country.
Having national exposure and the ability to reach every home in the country could help revive this struggling football conference.