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The ACC and the Orange Bowl Committee on Tuesday announced a new 12-year tie-in, effective after the '14 season, that places the ACC football champion in the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 1 at 1:00pm ET. If the ACC winner makes it into the new four-team playoff, a replacement ACC team will play in the Orange Bowl. The conference in a release said that the Orange Bowl will host "at least four semifinal games" in the new playoff format (ACC). In Richmond, Michael Phillips reported ACC Commissioner John Swofford “told ESPN after the announcement ‘it's likely’ Notre Dame could be involved with the Orange Bowl” (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 7/4). In DC, Mark Giannotto noted the Orange Bowl in recent years “had taken place on weeknights after the New Year’s holiday for television purposes, which was inconvenient for fans who had to take extra time off work and pull their children from school to attend.” Swofford on Tuesday called that strategy “a huge mistake.” When Virginia Tech faced Stanford in the Orange Bowl two years ago, the Hokies “managed to sell only 6,500 of their 17,500-ticket allotment.” Virginia Tech in ’09 “sold just more than 3,300 tickets when it played Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl” (WASHINGTON POST, 7/4).
TV TIME: In Virginia, David Teel wrote the Orange Bowl and ACC are “confident enough in their product to negotiate an independent television deal, much like the Big Ten, Pacific 12 and Rose Bowl have long done.” ESPN has “first negotiating rights,” and if Fox and NBC “bid as well, the ACC and its Orange Bowl opponents could be all the richer.” Swofford said, “There may be other (TV) interest as well, as there were some other (networks) interested in the Rose Bowl situation that went to ESPN." He added, "We will move right into that as soon as we are solid on the opponent in the game. There’s no reason not to move forward with it” (DAILYPRESS.com, 7/3). ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel notes the Orange Bowl’s “decision to return to a 1 p.m. New Year’s Day kickoff on Jan. 1, 2015 after some 50 years in prime time provides an interesting twist to the new postseason format.” Multiple bowls for many years have “kicked off in that early-afternoon time slot.” Maisel: “Does that mean that in the years when the Orange Bowl is the site of a national semifinal game, it will have to be played against other bowl games? “ (ESPN.com, 7/5).
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby is “bullish on the conference's growth opportunities,” according to Tim Griffin of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. Bowlsby in an appearance to welcome TCU into the conference discussed his role and the conference's future in a recent Q&A:
Q: You received a very warm welcome here in one of your first public appearances at TCU. How does it feel to be the Big 12's new commissioner?
Bowlsby: I think TCU is a tremendous addition to the league and especially to have a member who's right here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It's exciting. You can feel the enthusiasm in the area.
Q: How will West Virginia's arrival benefit the conference?
Bowlsby: I think the cachet that West Virginia brings with their East Coast influence is significant. It's helped us get into media markets we otherwise probably wouldn't be getting into. And I think because of TCU's prominence in football the last few years, it's helped, too. They are a national brand at this point. And every indication is that it will continue.
Q: Many observers had the Big 12 facing extinction after its losses in recent years. What does it symbolically mean bringing two new teams moving forward?
Bowlsby: It's not the finish line but the starting line for us. We've got a lot of things moving forward. ... It's a day for celebration, but it's also a day to envision the future and think about what the Big 12 can be moving forward. Certainly the addition of TCU and West Virginia are a big part of our future. We're excited what the next years will hold for us. We really have some terrific opportunities in front of us.
Q: What are your thoughts on future Big 12 expansion?
Bowlsby: I like our position now. I like the teams we have. I like the stability of the league. I think we need to be the hardest fraternity to get into. But if there is somebody out there that adds real value to the Big 12, we ought to also think about that.
Q: What are your thoughts on the new college football tournament?
Bowlsby: The seeded four-team playoff will be absolutely terrific. We're going to capture back New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. College football will be preeminent on those two days with six great football games. I'm very excited about what has happened with the BCS, which will be probably known as the national championship series going forward (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 7/5).
The Univ. of Hawaii athletic department has been “attempting to operate in the 21st century with much the same old 20th-century formula,” and its annual deficit “might hit $2.3 million, with the accumulated 11-year net deficit topping $11 million,” according to Ferd Lewis of the Honolulu STAR-ADVERTISER. That estimate is “pending final NCAA disbursements and other yet-to-be-totaled-accounts.” The department has “managed just two finishes in the black in 10 previous years, and both of those involved the football team winning 10 games or more.” Now, with the “additional burden of anteing up approximately $1.2 million in travel subsidies that comes with Mountain West and Big West membership, achieving a healthy bottom line becomes even more difficult.” Lewis suggests to give the department “a bigger chunk of parking, merchandising, signage, etc., and then it might be realistic to expect it to stand on its feet on a regular basis again.” UH is “billed for Aloha Stadium cleanup, but shares in none of the concession revenue and little of the parking profits.” Nor does it “share in the off-the-field signage proceeds or the $2.5 million field naming rights deal despite being the major draw at the facility.” The UH Board of Regents was told that trying "to be competitive and balance the books at UH is akin 'to fighting Manny Pacquiao with one arm tied behind your back.'" Lewis: “It is time to loosen that other arm if we are to expect anything to change” (Honolulu STAR-ADVERTISER, 7/5).