A quick look at the ACC’s record in BCS bowls is not impressive. It’s bad. The league has a 2-10 record with wins coming from Florida State and Virginia Tech.
The ACC, though, is better than its record indicates if you measure the conference’s performance during the regular season like the BCS officials do. Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS, said the ACC has solidly earned its automatic berth in the BCS and there has never been any hesitancy on the part of Orange Bowl officials to continue their partnership. Instead, the data from the 2004-2007 regular seasons shows the league fared no worse than fifth among the 11 conferences in the major rankings used by the BCS to determine which conferences earn automatic qualifying status.
“The ACC and the Big East are solid,” Hancock said in a recent interview. “A lot of people when they talk about conferences don’t remember that the top to bottom conference rankings is one of the three thresholds, and those conferences are solid. I know the Orange Bowl is tickled with their ACC relationship.”
There are two ways to earn annual automatic qualification: (1) have a contract with a bowl, or (2) earn it on the field by meeting the thresholds which you’ll see in the charts below. In order to meet the thresholds, conferences must finish among the top six in the first two rankings and top 50 percent in the third. The five conferences earned it because they have contracts with bowls. Maybe not coincidentally, they also met the thresholds. And met them easily.
Here’s how the ACC fared against the other conferences in the most recent BCS evaluations: