The ACC cleared up its bowl future Thursday with the announcement of a seven-game bowl lineup starting in the 2014 season, and running through 2019. These deals needed to be made in order to accommodate the forthcoming College Football Playoff, as well as solve some other issues some bowl games have run into over the last few years. You can read the full release here.
Starting next year, the ACC will have agreements with the Discover Orange Bowl (Miami Gardens, Fla.), the Russell Athletic Bowl (Orlando, Fla.), the Hyundai Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas), the Belk Bowl (Charlotte, N.C.), the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Nashville, Tenn.), the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla.) and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (New York City).
The deal also includes a provision that, in years where the Orange Bowl hosts a Big Ten team to play the ACC champion, the ACC will also get a spot in the Capital One Bowl (Orlando, Fla.).
The ACC champion, if not one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff, will go to the Orange Bowl in years when the Orange Bowl is not hosting one of the CFP semifinals. If the Orange Bowl is hosting a semifinal, the ACC champion (if not in the playoff) will play in one of the other host bowls not hosting a semifinal that year, either the Fiesta Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Still with me? Good. After the College Football Playoff, the Orange Bowl and the Capital One Bowl (if applicable), the Russell Athletic Bowl gets the first pick of ACC teams. After that, the remaining bowls will be pooled together and four ACC teams will go to the Sun Bowl, the Belk Bowl, the Pinstripe Bowl and either the Music City Bowl or the Gator Bowl. For those last two, each game will get an ACC team three times over the span of the contract, and the ACC will essentially "share" its bid to those games with the Big Ten.
The pooling of bowls is meant to create more attractive matchups (think Pitt/West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl last year that never came to be), and make it easier for fans to travel to games. The pool strategy also allows the conference to prevent teams from going to the same bowl game for multiple years in a row (I'll let you make your own BBVA Compass Bowl joke).
According to the release, all of the new bowl deals come with "increased net financial revenues to the conference" (more $$$$$), as well as reduced ticket obligations for the schools. As you may remember last year, Pitt had difficulty selling out its share of BBVA Compass Bowl tickets and had to sell 4,000 of its 10,000-ticket allotment to its opponent, Ole Miss.