The ACC just unveiled its bowl lineup for the next four years. Many of these tie-ins have trickled out in the last few months, and this merely finalizes things.
In are the Sun and Independence bowls. Out is the Gator Bowl. Sort of out is the Emerald Bowl. Up is the Champs Sports and Meineke Car Care bowls. Down a tick is the Music City Bowl.
The full rundown:
1. BCS (Orange Bowl if league champion isn’t in BCS title game)
2. Chick-Fil-A (vs. SEC)
3. Champs Sports (vs. Big East/Notre Dame)
4. Sun (vs. Pac-10)
5. Meineke Car Care Bowl (vs. Big East)
6. Music City
7. Independence (vs. Mountain West)
8. EagleBank (vs. Army/Navy/Big 12/Conference USA)
9. Emerald (ACC is secondary option if Pac-10/WAC/Army/Navy fail to qualify)
Losing the Gator Bowl is the biggest development, and it certainly doesn’t help the conference to lose the New Year’s Day appearance.
Also of note: It appears the Sun Bowl is obligated to take the ACC title game loser if available. Perhaps Boston College fans should start looking at fares to El Paso before each season, just in case.
As a point of comparison, here’s this year’s bowl lineup (with other connected games of the last four seasons also included):
4. Champs Sports
5. Music City
6. Meineke Car Care
8. EagleBank (Humanitarian from 2006-08)
9. GMAC (EagleBank in 2008)
Clearly, there was a geographical thrust involved. Only one of the eight guaranteed berths is west of the Mississippi (Sun Bowl), and that isn’t as far away from the conference’s epicenter as Boise and San Francisco.