The College Football Playoff is just one season away, and conferences everywhere are working to cement their postseason plans for the new era in college football.
On Thursday, the ACC announced partnerships with seven bowl games for six years of postseason play, beginning after the 2014 regular season and lasting through the 2019-20 postseason.
In all, the ACC will have agreements with the Orange Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Sun Bowl, Belk Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Music City Bowl and Gator Bowl during the six years of the agreement.
The league's partnership with the Orange Bowl -- the ACC will continue to send its champion to South Florida in years that the Orange Bowl does not host a College Football Playoff semifinal -- runs for 12 years. Last season, Florida State defeated Northern Illinois 31-10 -- giving the ACC its first Orange Bowl victory since 2008-09.
According to the official release, additional bowl partnerships for the same time frame are expected in the near future. One reason for an additional game will be Notre Dame's arrival as a partial ACC member in 2014.
"We are extremely pleased to announce relationships with this outstanding collection of future bowl partners," said ACC commissioner John Swofford. "Each of these premier bowls is recognized for its excellence, and they collectively combine to offer our 15-member league more flexibility, improved financials, marquee matchups and attractive destinations."
Beginning in 2014, the ACC's postseason plans will look like this:
1.) If the ACC champion is not selected to the four-team College Football Playoff, that team will play in the Orange Bowl. If the Orange Bowl is hosting one of the CFP semifinal games, the ACC champion will play in a host bowl -- either the Fiesta Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The opponent in the Orange Bowl will be from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame.
2.) The Russell Athletic Bowl (Orlando, Fla) will have the first selection of ACC teams after the Orange Bowl and College Football Playoff. As part of that agreement, an ACC team will play in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando when the Orange Bowl hosts a Big Ten team, presumably against an SEC opponent.
3.) After those 2-3 bowls -- depending on the Orange Bowl participants -- the league will send four teams to the Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas), the Belk Bowl (Charlotte, N.C.), the Pinstripe Bowl (New York) and one team to either the Music City Bowl (Nashville, Tenn.) or the Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla.).