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Tuesday, July 3, 2012
ACC, Orange Bowl have 12-year pact

ESPN.com news services

The Discover Orange Bowl will be played on New Year's Day at 1 p.m. ET and annually feature a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference beginning after 2014, results of a 12-year agreement announced Tuesday by the ACC and the bowl's committee.

The game will feature the champion of the ACC, unless that team is chosen to play in the newly announced four-team playoffs. In that case, a replacement team from the ACC would play in the Orange Bowl. The ACC team playing in the Orange Bowl is likely to face a highly seeded at-large team in the annual game, sources told ESPN's Joe Schad.

"The ACC and Discover Orange Bowl have a terrific relationship and, as we look ahead to the future of postseason college football, this will further an already beneficial partnership for both organizations," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. "The Discover Orange Bowl has a rich history of prestige, is located within the league's footprint and is a great destination for our student-athletes, alumni and fans. In addition to our continued partnership, we are very pleased to be playing annually on New Year's Day."

Sources told Schad that the ACC will negotiate and sell the Orange Bowl TV rights and plans to keep at least 50 percent of the revenue. Whatever network gets the Orange Bowl will get to broadcast it, even when it's a semifinal.

The ACC is guaranteed at least one team in the top six bowl games and could have up to three. 

In addition, the Orange Bowl said it anticipates that it will host at least four semifinal games in the new playoff system. The ACC has sent its champion to the South Florida-based bowl every year since 2006, and this announcement means that relationship will continue when the Bowl Subdivision makes the switch to a four-team playoff in two years.

The Orange Bowl game is expected to be played on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET -- even when it's a national semifinal. The other semifinal would be played on Dec 31 in those years that the Orange Bowl hosts a semi.

"The Orange Bowl is extremely pleased to continue its relationship with the Atlantic Coast Conference," O. Ford Gibson, president and chair of the Orange Bowl Committee, said in the statement. "We are looking forward to entering this new era of postseason collegiate football with a valued partner and its historically successful member institutions."

The ACC becomes the fifth major conference to announce a tie with a bowl that expects to be part of the pool of six games from which two semifinal sites will rotate. The Big 12 and Southeastern Conference are creating the Champions Bowl for their representatives, while the Big Ten and Pac-12 are committed to the Rose Bowl.

Information from ESPN's Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.