ESPN.com has a fairly comprehensive look at the ACC bowl picture as it transitions from a 12-team conference to a 15-team conference (including Notre Dame). The article notes the possibility that the “league might increase its bowl affiliations to nine or 10” and change some of the bowls. So let’s take a closer look at some of the bowls being discusssed.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl. As you know, this bowl game is played in New York City. With the Big East transitioning to the American, the inclusion of the ACC in the Big East’s slot makes sense. There is also scuttlebutt on the Internet about the B1G taking over for the Big XII with a bowl tie in for that game. Such a decision makes complete sense. Just look at the schools that could potentially face each other in that game:
All six schools have significant proximity to the NYC market. Plus, one could envision these schools not being selected for better bowls. And Penn State will be grappling with its sanctions. There are numerous combinations of schools that would lead to interesting matchups. It really is a slam dunk, no brainer, grand slam, whatever you want to call it for the bowl and both conferences. And if Notre Dame is part of the mix? Consider it done.
Gator Bowl. Until 2009, this bowl game involved the ACC. Seems like a natural fit given its location in Jacksonville and the ACC’s two Florida-based schools. Not to mention Georgia Tech and Clemson being relatively close.
Belk Bowl. This Charlotte-based bowl is currently an ACC-Big East event. There is apparently talk of switching to an ACC-SEC matchup. As with the Pinstripe Bowl, it is hard to disagree with that logic. Again, look at the teams in the region:
Once again, you have teams that are likely to qualify in the region. Also, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Auburn, and the Mississippi schools are nearby. Another nice fit.
In fact, between these three bowls alone, every single ACC team would have a regional bowl tie-in.
What do you think, are there are any other bowls that the ACC should try to get tie-ins with?