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Friday, December 2, 2011
ACC title game in Charlotte for 2012, 2013

By Heather Dinich

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The 2012 and 2013 Dr Pepper ACC championship games will continue to be held here at Bank of America Stadium, commissioner John Swofford announced on Friday. The venue received a unanimous vote from the athletic directors and faculty representatives in the conference.

Saturday's game between No. 5 Virginia Tech and No. 20 Clemson will be the game's second-straight sell-out, and leauge officials have been so pleased with the city that it did not open the bidding for future seasons.

"I think it's pretty telling when all 12 of our schools vote in favor of continuing this relationship without even taking it out to be in consideration," Swofford said. "We've found something that certainly in its first two years has worked extraordinarily well for us, and we want to continue that."

Swofford said the two-year timeline is to keep the ACC title game in sync with the league's bowl contracts.

"Well, I'll tell you why we went two years, is that it'll put us totally in sync with our bowl contracts and whatever happens with the postseason football nationally, whether it's an extension of the BCS or something else," he said. "And that'll put the whole thing in a chronological sync that we thought was a wise way to go as we look toward the future."

There's no doubt the city has been a success so far, but it's also no secret that the ACC championship game is a matchup-sensitive event. When you've got Virginia Tech, Florida State and Clemson fan bases to draw from, filling seats should be easy. Boston College vs. Virginia? Not so much. The Pac-12 has decided to play its championship games on the home campus of the division winner with the best overall conference record. Swofford said the ACC prefers a neutral site.

"I think that's something you take a look at if you don't really find a home," he said of the campus sites. "We prefer a quality neutral site where the game can be consistently successful year in and year out, and hopefully we have found that here in Charlotte. That's been what we've pursued from the very first championship game. And certainly our first two years in Charlotte indicate to us that this may well be that home. So we didn't really seriously consider that in terms of going to campus, but obviously it is something that the Pac-12 is doing on the West Coast, and we'll see how that goes. But from a pure competitive standpoint, we very much prefer a neutral site."

For at least two more years, the ACC will have its top choice.