Notre Dame will be a part of the Orange Bowl mix moving forward, but the Irish will be limited to just two appearances over a 12-year period.
The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Orange Bowl Committee announced today that the Discover Orange Bowl will annually feature the ACC Champion against an opponent from the Big Ten Conference, Southeastern Conference or University of Notre Dame as part of the 12-year agreement that begins following the 2014 season. In addition, ESPN will serve as the broadcast partner, and the historic bowl game will either be played in an exclusive prime-time window New Year’s Eve or on New Year’s Day, pending the schedule of the new collegiate postseason playoff games.
The selection of the opponent will be based on the guiding principle of securing the highest-ranked team in the final standings available from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame, but will also utilize criteria that shares the minimum appearance standards as agreed upon by all parties. The standards include at least three guaranteed appearances over the 12 years for both the Big Ten and the SEC and a maximum of two with no minimum for Notre Dame.
“The Orange Bowl qualifies as one of the most prestigious events in college football’s postseason and Notre Dame has played a part in that history, three times playing number-one ranked teams in our five previous appearances,” said Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. “We are honored to partner with two of the premier conferences, the SEC and the Big Ten, to make certain the ACC will have a top-flight opponent on a regular basis.”
As was previously released, the ACC selected the Discover Orange Bowl to be its annual contract bowl partner, serving as the home of the ACC Champion in the new postseason college football arrangement recently announced by the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee. If the ACC Champion is identified as one of the top four teams by the Bowl Championship Series selection committee, then the ACC Champion will participate in the national semifinals and a replacement team from the ACC would participate in the Discover Orange Bowl.
In addition to the partnership between the ACC and the Orange Bowl Committee, it is anticipated that the Orange Bowl will host at least four semifinal games in the new postseason college football structure. In the years that the Orange Bowl serves as a semifinal host, the ACC Champion would then participate in one of the three host bowls that will be established as per the direction of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.