Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ex-Emerald Bowl the ACC's emergency ninth bid

GREENSBORO -- The ACC is beginning a new four-year cycle of bowl partners, with the Hyundai Sun Bowl and Advocare V100 Independence Bowl replacing two West Coast bowls that didn't have much appeal for the ACC.

All told, the ACC has eight bowl slots, not including a potential berth in the BCS Championship Game. But as any N.C. State fan can tell you, sometimes nine teams are bowl-eligible. What's the plan then?

ACC associate commissioner Michael Kelly said Sunday that the league also has a conditional arrangement with San Francisco's Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, previously known as the Emerald Bowl and a former ACC bowl partner, but could also find itself with an orphan team again, as it did with the Wolfpack two years ago.

If the Pac-10 or WAC were unable to provide eligible teams for that bowl, the ACC would be able to send a ninth team west.

"We're kind of secondary," Kelly said. "If those conditions didn't exist, then we would be in sort of that free-agent market again."

When the Wolfpack squeaked into bowl contention with a 6-6 record in 2008, Kelly spent a long weekend paging through the rule book and working the phones before finding N.C. State a home in the Bowl in Birmingham, Ala.

ACC commissioner John Swofford did note that of the ACC's eight bowl games, all on ESPN or ESPN2, there's only one overlap: the second half of Charlotte's Meineke Car Care Bowl and the first half of the Sun Bowl. The new tie-ins increase the league's bowl revenue by 30 percent, Swofford said.

-- Luke DeCock