Reports are coming out that the new ACC / Orange Bowl deal, which will take effect at the same time college football moves to the new 4-team playoff, is being finalized. In addition to the previously announced ACC representative, the reported opponent pool will consist of either Notre Dame, a B1G, or SEC team.
It is likely that the Orange Bowl will be able to select a solid opponent for the ACC from this pool of teams, but will not get it’s choice until the National Semi-final, Champions Bowl, and Rose Bowl have made their selections. This effectively eliminates the chances of the Orange Bowl getting the SEC or B1G champs, but will be able to get the runners-up from one of those conferences so long as they don’t both place a team in the National Semi-final. The other option would of course be Notre Dame, but there would have to be provisions that they qualify for the game with a certain number of wins. Additionally, there could be some finagling if the Irish had played the ACC champ during the regular season to prevent a rematch.
The net result of this arrangement, if reports hold true, is that the ACC gets the best deal it could have hoped for in light of the formation of the Champions Bowl and the new playoff format. Additionally, it effectively locks out the Big East from the Orange Bowl and leaves the conference without an agreement with a major bowl partner, relegating it to mid-major status. However, recent reports indicate that the new postseason format could be increased to eight bowls, which leaves a glimmer of hope for the Big East to grab a piece of the postseason pie.