Swofford & Company Hold the Bowl Keys

We’ve talked and we’ve talked about different variables that generate a host of scenarios related to the ACC and NC State’s bowl line-up. The most recent set of updates and conversations can be found by clicking here.

Something that has been discussed without a lot of detail is the role and the influence that John Swofford and the ACC Office will play “behind the scenes” with the bowls. Socialist/Communist/Democrats will love the market intervention; free-market capitalists will despise it. NC State fans, like Clemson fans, generally fall on the free-market side since we support our teams year around and travel well compared to most other ACC programs. We therefore (generally) like for the bowls to have the power to choose whomever they would like.

NC State’s general situation is pretty simple, but is littered with dozens of variables that ultimately impact the final decision. Let’s set the table with some statements:

* The generally accepted best case scenario for NC State fans is an appearance in Mieneke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte.

* The 2nd most attractive opportunity is ACC’s at-large spot in the Music City Bowl in Nashville.

* The Emerald Bowl (San Fran) and the MPC Computers Bowl (Boise) are generally the least attractive options. Boise is considered the worst option because of a host of reasons, including a ‘no-win’ situation on the home field of a very good but no-named Boise State.

* NC has no shot of doing better than Charlotte – but the ACC teams that ultimately are chosen to fill all of the earlier bowl slots will dictate NC State’s ultimate fate.

* Simply put, if Clemson is off the board by the time Mieneke chooses, NC State goes to Charlotte. This is as much of a certainty as possible in this web off confusion.

Because Clemson is so appealing to individual bowls, the only way that they would still be available for Charlotte is if the ACC Office tampers with the bowl selection process at the Peach &/or Champs Sports Bowl levels. If you believe Boston.com, that very well may be happening and could ultimately screw Clemson out of a Peach Bowl bid and NC State out of an appearance in Charlotte.

Boston College’s evolving bowl prospects may have turned north, as the Eagles very well could be headed to the Peach Bowl Dec. 30 to face Georgia, LSU, Alabama, or South Carolina.

That latest twist came yesterday as Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford listened to the desires of his conference teams and weighed them with the wishes of the eight bowls to which the ACC has commitments.

You can read the whole article and a good outline of the impact of this scenario by clicking here.

Ironicly, the strength of the fanbase of the University of Georgia creates a situation where the Peach Bowl won’t have to worry with selling tickets and would compensate for the weakness of Boston College’s fanbase. The ‘logic’ is — why not send poor-traveling but well-performing BC to the guaranteed sellout in Atlanta? This slotting by the ACC office will result in Florida State playing in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando and Clemson taking the Mieneke opportunity in Charlotte. Because Georgia Tech and Virginia have both appeared in Boise in the last two years, it would basically be a given that NC State ends up in Boise.

Since NC State’s fate is so closely tied to Clemson’s, it makes sense to share with you the Clemson perspective from CUTigers.com. (While we share this, we really need to provide kudos to CUTigers for their great work. Unfortunately, it has become a pipe dream to expect Pack Pride or the Wolfpacker to ever provide such detailed, timely, and informative analysis to their paying customers. But, if you want to know about a 14 year old potential tight end from Manteo…they’ve got you covered. It’d be nice if the performance and current NC State players meant as much as the future play of players that might not come to NC State in a few years):

* What we know for sure is that Clemson will NOT fall past the Mieneke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. We also know that bowl will either take Clemson or N.C. State. So if Clemson doesn’t play there- N.C . State will. The opponent will either be South Florida or Connecticut. You can scratch Rutgers off the list.

* What we are also hearing is that you can likely scratch Georgia Tech off the Peach Bowl list. As mentioned here in “The Valley” last night, we still think the Yellow Jackets end up in the Music City Bowl in Nashville against a team from the Big Ten. This obviously is one less team for Clemson to worry about in regards to playing in Atlanta.

* A couple of intriguing scenarios are playing out with the ACC and its other tie ins right now. For starters, we now believe Clemson has just as good a shot to land in the Peach Bowl as it does the Mieneke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. In fact, as it stands now, the Tigers appear to be in good position to avoid playing in Charlotte, which would of course open the door for N.C. State as I mentioned above.

* If Clemson does play in the Peach Bowl, the opponent would be Georgia (if Georgia loses in the SEC Championship game Saturday to LSU) or Alabama (if Georgia wins the SEC Championship game).

* Here’s the kicker, as we understand it: If Florida State loses the ACC Championship game (as expected) against Virginia Tech, giving the Noles a massive, uglified four-game losing streak, the Peach Bowl obviously has a decision to make between Clemson and Florida State.

* The problem is, there’s always a chance that ACC Commissioner John Swofford could step in and another team into the mix- Boston College. And this is where it gets kind of ugly. With Georgia going to the Peach Bowl, a sellout against any team is virtually set in stone (especially with all of the corporate tickets/boxes already sold). So, if Swofford decides to step in, to make sure a ranked 8-3 Boston College team doesn’t end up in Boise, ID during it’s first year in the league … he can. We’ve been told to look out for that. It’s not probable, but possible.

* That is the one scenario that would move Clemson from the Peach Bowl … ALL THE WAY DOWN to Charlotte, because the Champs Sports Bowl will NOT pass up Florida State (as we reported earlier today). So if you are like me, and WANT Clemson in the Champs Sports Bowl or better, you hope that the Peach Bowl takes Florida State if it doesn’t take Clemson. That way, you know Clemson at least plays in Orlando. And we don’t think the Champs Sports Bowl takes Boston College – because no tickets from their side or the Big 12 opponents’ side. Clemson at least will take 10,000 fans down there … if not more. And again, Clemson’s opponent in the Champs Sports Bowl would be either Colorado or Kansas at this stage.

General NCS Football

27 Responses to Swofford & Company Hold the Bowl Keys

  1. Trout 11/29/2005 at 9:15 AM #

    “While nothing will be announced until after Saturday’s ACC championship game between Florida State and Virginia Tech, the contingency plan that would send BC to the Peach Bowl rather than the Gator Bowl or any of the other ACC tie-in bowls developed because Swofford would like to see the bowls make their selections based on team records rather than other criteria such as ticket sales.�

  2. Jeff 11/29/2005 at 9:49 AM #

    ^ IMHO, this statement actually works against the article’s credibility as there has never been any chance that BC is going to the Gator Bowl over Miami. This statement makes it sound as thought BC to the Gator is what is expect. LOL!

  3. Trout 11/29/2005 at 10:17 AM #

    If Swofford is indeed pushing for bowls to make their selections on team records, rather than other criteria, then NC State and UVA should be #7 and #8 in the pecking order, thus placing NC State in Nashville and UVA in San Fran. Correct?

  4. Jeff 11/29/2005 at 10:27 AM #

    ^ See…you GET IT!

    Once Swofford starts tampering with the market…heBETTER do it with 100% consistency or he can’t help but give the appearance of playing favorites (or un-favorites).

    If it is so important for records to drive the process…then let them drive the process. It is bullshit to selectively choose when records matter and when they don’t.

    It needs to 100% driven by the free market or 100% driven by order of finish. Anything else is manipulative bullshit that hurts the ACC’s credibility.

  5. VaWolf82 11/29/2005 at 10:57 AM #

    Another factor to consider is which bowls are most likely to be swayed by Swofford. I would think that the Gator and Peach are not too concerned with what Swofford thinks. These are the two best non-BCS tie-ins that the ACC has and it is extremely unlikely that the ACC would try and replace them. If the SEC school will not fill up the Peach, then you can bet that they will pick an ACC school that will.

    The Emerald and the Music City have virtually no say and will get to choose between whoever is left. Charlotte is not a prime bowl, but is in a prime location for ACC schools and thus unlikely to be dropped by the ACC. It is extremely unlikely that Charlotte would pass over a school that would bring large number of fans for one that won’t.

    This leaves the Champs and Boise bowls are the two most likely to be swayed by Swofford. Neither are prime bowls and it is not impossible to believe that the ACC could look to replace them with other third-tier bowls. Thus if Swofford is indeed pushing State to the blue carpet, then it will happen if State is available.

  6. scott 11/29/2005 at 11:24 AM #

    As a “Communist/Socialist/Democrat” myself, I can’t help but think the Swofford SHOULD make sure BC gets a better bowl than NCSU. As much as I selfishly would like to see State playing in Charlotte, BC doesn’t deserve to be stuck in Boise this year. Now, if it was Carolina we were talking about…well screw them (& Matt Baker) anytime, anywhere!

  7. Jeff 11/29/2005 at 12:36 PM #

    ^ Do you think that Swofford should intervene for Boston College and the Peach Bowl based on the strength of BC’s record, but NOT intervene for Georgia Tech in Boise based on the exact same tenant based on the Tech’s record?

  8. Mr. O 11/29/2005 at 1:01 PM #


    I don’t think I will have a problem with Swofford protecting BC and then not making GT go to Boise. We all know that Boise is the least preferred destination. For GT, Nashville is a great destination for them with a solid opponent.

    I think it makes sense. UVa and NC State are pretty even, so the only argument is whether or not we get Boise or San Francisco.

  9. Mr. O 11/29/2005 at 1:05 PM #

    In reality, Nashville is the 6th best destination. Heck, it might even be better than the Orlando Bowl. Nonetheless, I think you can definitely make an argument that we aren’t worthy of the 6th best destination based on overall performance of all the teams involved this year.

  10. Cardiac95 11/29/2005 at 1:14 PM #

    I’m assuming that BC was aware when they joined the conference that fan travel/ticket sales were considerations in the bowl selection process….no?

    And we know for a fact that they’ll be receiving the same amount of money from the league no matter where they play.

    So exactly what is the problem here?

  11. Jeff 11/29/2005 at 1:26 PM #

    MrO…just because I subjectively agree with your assessment that Nashville is a better destination than Boise, doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to do based on existing agreements.

    Why is everyone so quick to ignore the ACC’s obligation to its bowl partners? Boise has been kind enough to support the ACC for years with this slot (and they are continuing in the future).

    They WANT Boston College –


    They also would prefer Georgia Tech to NC State.

    I don’t understand the consistency of the rationale to intervene into the Peach Bowl’s business on behalf of BC based on record (negatively impacting other partners like Boise), and then not follow the same precedent of best records” to support the Boise bowl’s desire to have a higher ranked Georgia Tech?

    I would be very cautious about agreeing to support the ACC in the future if I were a 3rd party. In the end, the Bowl in Boise gets screwed the worst of all the parties. They could have had a national interest game that they want with BC.

  12. Jeff 11/29/2005 at 1:28 PM #

    ACC’s Boston College is bowl’s first choice
    Idaho Statesman

    The MPC Computers Bowl apparently is down to two candidates to fill the Atlantic Coast Conference side of its game, opposite Boise State. If Boston College is available with the MPC Bowl’s No. 6 pick, the Eagles will be coming to Boise. If not, North Carolina State is headed here.

    Speculation Monday centered around a deal to place Boston College in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., or Peach Bowl in Atlanta, but the Eagles’ location makes them unattractive to Southern bowls. The deal didn’t happen, with Miami and Clemson available.

    The Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla., and the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., almost certainly will select nearby teams — perhaps Florida State and North Carolina State.

    One thing is for sure, MPC Bowl executive director Gary Beck said. Boston College will not be going to the Music City or Emerald bowls, as many have speculated. “If they’re available, we’re going to pick them,” Beck said. “They can’t say no. We have a contract.”

  13. VaWolf82 11/29/2005 at 2:34 PM #

    Speaking of contracts….there was a great deal of press when the Gator picked State over UVa and UMd in 2002. At that time, the rule was that the bowl selected in order, but could take a team that finished within one game of the next highest team to be selected….thus the Gator could take State at 5-3 over UVa and UMd who both finished at 6-2.

    A quick look through theacc.com didn’t come up with the bowl tie-ins or the rules for the bowls to select teams. Did the rules (ie contract) from 2002 change? If not, then there is no way that Charlotte could pass over BC to take State. Does anyone have a link that discusses what exactly the contract between the ACC and the bowls says.

  14. Bill 11/29/2005 at 2:48 PM #

    I still think BC is headed to Boise. Two things to note (that ultimately mean nothing but are fodder for our continued specualtion): 1. Swofford Jr. works for BC. 2. The Boston writer you quoted (Mark Blaudschun) is almost always wrong. When BC fans read his Peach bowl story, we all said, “this means we are going to Boise.”

  15. Cardiac95 11/29/2005 at 3:37 PM #

    JB’s got it right. Why should any party be allowed to inconsistently tamper with the process on an annual basis?

    If the bowl selection process is THAT broken, then the best thing to do is correct it in the contract language. Make the process clearly defined, get all parties in agreement, & cut out the preferential politics of John Swofford.

    And again….BC knew the deal before they stepped up to the alter. Boo hoo for them if they get stuck in Boise because their fan base won’t step up.

  16. ben from boise 11/29/2005 at 3:57 PM #

    VaWolf –
    Only the BCS, Gator and Peach Bowls have to select their teams based on those rules. The rest of the bowls just get to pick the ACC team they want. This is how BC would make it to the MPC Bowl.
    This is how I see it lining up:
    1 – BCS – VT
    2 – Gator – Miami
    3 – Peach – GT
    4 – Champs – FSU
    5 – Meineke – Clemson
    6 – MPC – Boston College
    Then, NCSU and Virginia to the Emerald and Music City Bowls.

  17. Trout 11/29/2005 at 4:09 PM #


    Can you please send me an email to my work address.


  18. BJD95 11/29/2005 at 4:23 PM #

    Here’s how this meritocratic, free market Democrat would have it:

    1) 16-team playoff; then
    2) the bowls, allowed to do whatever they want, regardless of records

    To me, that gives teams with smaller fanbases and poor travel reputations a CHANCE for meaningful, quality post-season – just make the Top 16. Otherwise, it’s all about selling tickets and making money for the host locations.

    But I do have a problem with the ENTIRE post-season (unless you win the league) set-up being based on this kind of stuff. It’s hard to draw a line between what is appropriate pushing and inapporopriate meddling on Swofford’s behalf. I don’t envy his position whatsoever. But with no pushing at all, you will get results that are going to leave alot of member institutions seriously pissed off, which isn’t necessarily in the league’s best interest (which is Swofford’s job to look after).

  19. Jeff 11/29/2005 at 4:33 PM #

    Ben from Boise, GT has 0% chance of going to Peach Bowl in their hometown to probably play a UGA team that they played last week. Additionally, the Peach has already officially told GT that they are not considering the Yellow Jackets for this year’s game.

    The more I hear, the more I think that we are going to Boise unless something breaks to shuffle the deck.

  20. ben from boise 11/29/2005 at 7:06 PM #

    thanks for the info. so i would assume the Peach would pick Clemson?

  21. choppack 11/29/2005 at 10:34 PM #

    JB – We share similar thoughts here.

    You bring up an excellent point regarding consistency. Funny how it’s only important for BC. (Although, to be fair, I think he says this every year. However, it appears this is the seoncd year is actively pursuing a policy where – guess what – we’re the loser. )

    I also brought up the fact that if the Bowl had their druthers, fans for 4 of the 5 schools would likely be happy w/ their destination and the best match-ups would be had all around if the Bowls where allowed to proceed w/out Johnny Boy’s influence.

    I am also shocked there is not more outrage at what Swofford’s doing – at least in the Wolfpack nation.

  22. James 11/30/2005 at 12:27 AM #

    Thanks for the info.

  23. Jeff 11/30/2005 at 7:13 AM #

    “Thanks for the info. so i would assume the Peach would pick Clemson?”

    In a free market world, you are exactly right. Unfortunately, as the aforelinked indicates, there seems to be a high likelihood that the ACC Offices coerces Boston College into the Peach.

  24. Mr. O 11/30/2005 at 8:14 AM #

    Jeff: Swofford isn’t intervening to help the bowl partners. It appears he is considering intervening to help the ACC teams. It appears that he may try to protect two 8-3 teams in GT and BC.

    The Peach doesn’t want BC and Boise doesn’t want NC State. So neither bowl would get their first choice.

  25. choppack 11/30/2005 at 8:47 AM #

    “Swofford isn’t intervening to help the bowl partners. It appears he is considering intervening to help the ACC teams. It appears that he may try to protect two 8-3 teams in GT and BC.”

    Actually, he’s just helping one – BC. GT is covered- they’re going to Nashville – a destination that you’ve correctly pointed out is highly desireable.

    Did he try to intervene last year when the 8-3 Wahoos were sent to Boise while the 6-5 Tar Heels were allowed to the short drive to Charlotte?

Leave a Reply