The BCS eliminated automatic qualifiers with the creation of the new four-team playoff format, at least in name. On Tuesday, the ACC joined the SEC, Big 12, Pac-12, and Big Ten with a bowl agreement for their conference champion.
The ACC and Orange Bowl Committee announced a 12-year agreement sending the conference champion to the Orange Bowl, which will be held on New Years Day at 1:00 p.m. beginning after the 2014 season.
According to the official release, it is "anticipated" by the committee that the Orange Bowl will host at least four semifinal games in the new semifinal rotation beginning after 2014. In years the Orange Bowl is hosting a national semifinal, the ACC Champion would then play in "one of the three host bowls that will be established as per the direction of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee."
[READ MORE: Dennis Dodd on the hidden meaning of the ACC-Orange Bowl partnership]
If the ACC Champion is is selected as one of the four teams for the semifinals, but the Orange Bowl is not a semifinal host; a replacement team from the ACC would participate in the Orange Bowl on New Years Day.
"The ACC and Discover Orange Bowl have a terrific relationship and, as we look ahead to the future of postseason college football, this will further an already beneficial partnership for both organizations," said ACC commissioner John Swofford. "The Discover Orange Bowl has a rich history of prestige, is located within the league's footprint and is a great destination for our student-athletes, alumni and fans. In addition to our continued partnership, we are very pleased to be playing annually on New Year's Day."
The ACC, previously tied to the Orange Bowl in the old agreement, once again enters basically the same position they were in as an automatic qualifier. If the conference champion is ranked high enough nationally to be selected to compete for the title, the ACC can slot in a second team into an elite bowl.
The announcement included no details on opponent or broadcast partner for the game, explaining they would be "forthcoming."
The relationship is modeled similarly to the Pac-12 and Big Ten's agreement with the Rose Bowl, as well as the SEC and Big 12's agreement with the Champions Bowl. With six bowls rotating the semifinal hosting duties, the old version of the BCS has now expanded to a two-day, 12-team football showcase for fans on New Years Eve and New Years Day.
This is just another piece of bad news for the "have-not's," who Dennis Dodd said traded access for money in the new four-team playoff format. The teams from the current non-AQ conferences will face the battle reaching the four-team playoff as they did in the old BCS format. The only difference is the paycheck they receive thanks to the new media rights.
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