- The Washington Times - Friday, August 20, 2004

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Jacksonville will play host to the ACC football championship game when the conference expands to 12 teams next season.

ACC officials yesterday approved a $7.7million bid by Jacksonville that will generate an expected $50million economic impact. FedEx Field and M&T; Stadium were among seven finalists, but sources said ACC officials wanted a domed stadium for any cold weather site.

The deal is for two years with a two-year option. ACC officials are considering a permanent site like the Southeastern Conference has in Atlanta. The two division winners will meet Dec.5, 2005 for the conference title and BCS bowl bid.

“It makes sense,” said Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow. “Jacksonville wanted the championship in the worst way, and they got it.”

ACC commissioner John Swofford said Jacksonville’s bid was the strongest financially, but the overall community presence for past Gator Bowl games involving ACC teams also was a factor.

The Gator Bowl will continue pitting the ACC against the Big East annually. President Rick Catlett said the loser of the ACC championship still would be considered for the Gator Bowl less than one month later.

“Our experience in looking at the SEC championship game at Atlanta is the team that has not been successful can come back [to the same site],” Catlett said. “A team that makes it to the championship game would be in the top 10-15 teams in the country.”

Rick Snider

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