New Playoff Format provides “opportunity” for ACC.

After the new playoff format this past week was announced I decided to wait a few days before posting my thoughts on this. Back in May I wrote that the playoff format would shape the future of college football and how it could affect the ACC.

If the ACC was somehow left out of the playoff scenario, however unlikely; that would have been a very damaging result for the conference. This didn’t happen and in fact the resulting format is something ACC fans should be pleased with. SouthernPigskin a well regarded Southern Sports Blog also feels the ACC came out of the playoff format in a very good position. I’ll be echoing some of the same sentiments.

First and foremost the ACC is a secured conference in the new format along with the Big 12, Big 10, Pac 12 and SEC. This is very significant. From the DailyPress…

“If the ACC champion does not qualify for the playoff in a year the Orange Bowl hosts a semifinal, the ACC team will be guaranteed a spot in another BCS game. “

Now it’s debatable whether the ACC could have worked their champion into the Chick Fil A as opposed to the Orange, but I’m fairly indifferent on this for two reasons. With the major bowls moving back to Dec 31, Jan 1 attendance and interest in these games will go right back up to levels not seen in over a decade and I believe the Chick Fil A will be part of the 6 playoff bowls. I’ll get to that in a bit.

What about the money? Do the Big 5 conferences get guaranteed money? It certainly seems that way.

“I think it’ll be adjusted modestly, but the five conferences are still going to get the lion’s share, it’s just how big of a lion are we talking about,” said Gary Ransdell, president of Western Kentucky University and a member of the Presidential Oversight Committee.

The guaranteed money is speculated to be roughly 60-70 percent of a possible $400-$500 Million TV deal. The other part of this that should benefit members is that ACC Commissioner John Swofford is on the committee to work out the revenue splitting details.  Obviously it’s the best interest of the ACC that the guaranteed money is in the 60-70 percent range rather than something significantly lower. Given that Al.Com said this about Swofford…

Swofford reclaimed national respect with his consistency and leadership throughout the negoti­ations. I’d say the odds are reasonable that the higher guaranteed money model is approved.

Are there any other possible positives for the ACC in the playoff format?

We know the top 4 of 6 Bowls, the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, and Rose. It looks the Cotton Bowl will be a strong contender, but the sixth bowl stands a good chance of being the Chick Fil A bowl in Atlanta, Ga. With the college football Hall of Fame moving to Atlanta in 2013, the fact the Chick Fil A bowl group has run the most successful non BCS Bowl the last 15 years with their tie ins to the SEC and ACC, and also with their highly successful pre-season kick-off games it would seem the Atlanta based bowl has a great resume to be bowl number 6. You don’t think the SEC and ACC wouldn’t want a game in the heart of their geographic footprint?

Even if the selection committee is assigning teams, USC and Oklahoma aren’t playing in the Chick Fil A bowl, while Florida State and Alabama play in the Fiesta Bowl. That just doesn’t make any sense. I understand there are those that argue that Big 10 doesn’t want a anoyher bowl in the Southeast. Um… almost every bowl being played right now is in the Southern United States. Your only other choices are bowl games in Florida and more out West. A Big 10 city is going to have to put together quite a presentation to get a bowl game over an existing bowl destination.

Just let the national title game be in Detroit or Indianapolis every once in awhile, case closed.

Lastly with 12 potential bowl spots, 5 which are guaranteed that leaves 7 available bowl positions to fill. Look back at the history of the Chick Fil A bowl which in recent years has featured the ACC’s 2nd place team. The majority of ACC teams were ranked in the top 15. Even during this down cycle in football, the ACC would have been close to having 2 of the  12 major bowl teams.

At the end of the day what does this all mean? It means the ACC has more opportunities than ever to get into higher profile bowl games against higher caliber opponents. It means that access to the national title is better than it’s ever been, and please if someone tries the SOS argument, I’ve already addressed that.  

All the tools are in place for the ACC to enhance their football brand, but the individual ACC football teams must get better. This is an absolute fact. I think the ACC has represented the conference’s football interests well in the playoff discussions, but the conference members now must win more games overall, they must win more OOC games, and they must produce at least a couple of top 10 teams a year.

It’s not one’s schools responsibility either, the conference as whole needs to do this. If they can, the bowl\playoff format going forward is setup nicely. Like I’ve said before it’s all about winning. It’s almost always about winning.

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