ACC Quick Slants: Orange Bowl & More
Terry Johnson's ACC Quick Slants - the weekly look at the college football world.
ORANGE BOWL AGREEMENT
Just a few months after its long-term viability was threatened, the ACC reached a profitable 12-year agreement with the Orange Bowl.
When the existing BCS contract expires at the end of the 2014 season, the conference will continue to send its champion to Miami unless the Orange Bowl hosts one of the national semifinal games. If, and that’s BIG if, the league champion qualifies for the four-team playoff, the Orange Bowl has the option to select the best available ACC team rather than the loser of the conference title game.
A closer look at the details will show why this deal is a major victory for the conference.
With a 1 pm kickoff on January 1, the ACC now has a place on the big stage similar to the Rose Bowl and the "Champions Bowl" between the SEC and the Big 12. More importantly, the ACC holds the TV rights for the game, and can shop it to the highest bidder. Having this type of power will bring more revenue to the schools and potentially earn as much the four major conferences.
That ought to kill any discussion about teams leaving for the Big 12.
While the new partnership keeps the ACC on a level playing field with the big boys, it still has its problems. The early afternoon kickoff conflicts with Capital One, Outback and Gator Bowls, which will do nothing to improve the Orange Bowl’s already lackluster ratings. Such a logistical nightmare will not win any recruiting battles, especially in the Southeast.
The biggest problem with the new agreement is that it does not offer the conference champion a shot at a league champ from one of the power conferences. To their credit, ACC officials realized that this was a problem and have held discussions with Notre Dame about an arrangement to play in the game, provided that Irish meet a certain set of standards.
But will a win over one of the nation’s most storied programs get the ACC the type of respect it’s looking for?
2012-13 BOWL SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED
The Football Bowl Association released the official bowl schedule on Tuesday. The ACC has eight bowl invites but could gain a couple more depending on how many teams are eligible.
Fans will enjoy a lineup of games that provides a diverse set of bowl opponents. The conference has three games against the SEC, two against the Big East, and one against the Pac 12. The league champion will play an at-large team in the Orange Bowl unless it qualifies for the BCS Championship game.
With these matchups, the ACC has a golden opportunity to establish itself.
The Independence, Chick-Fil-A, and Music City bowls are especially big because the conference has nothing to lose. If they don’t win, the ACC is essentially no different than the Big Ten, who struggled mightily against the SEC in January.
However, if the ACC should win a few of these games, it would pick up some much-needed victories over the SEC in its own backyard. That won’t quite bridge the gap with the nation’s strongest conference, but it could help win some key recruiting battles on National Signing Day.
MAXWELL AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST
The highly coveted Maxwell Award, presented to the nation’s top all-around player, released its preseason watch list Monday. Eight ACC players made the list. They are:
RB Giovanni Bernard, UNC
QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson
RB Andre Ellington, Clemson
QB Mike Glennon, NC State
QB EJ Manuel, Florida State
QB Bryn Renner, UNC
QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
What will it take for one of these players to become the first Maxwell Award winner since FSU QB Charlie Ward took home the trophy in 1993?
Each candidate’s chances depend on how his team fares during the season. The winner of the Maxwell Award almost always plays on a team that finishes with a strong record (three losses or fewer). With a couple of breaks, Clemson, Florida State or Virginia Tech could end up playing for all the marbles this season, which would put Boyd, Manuel, and Thomas in the thick of the race.
However, don’t dismiss the candidates from The Old North State. Glennon has a chance to make a huge impression in front of a national audience against Tennessee in the season opener, which could propel the Wolfpack to a big season. By the same token, Renner and Bernard will put up even bigger numbers in Larry Fedora’s offense, which could persuade some people to vote for them even though UNC is ineligible for the postseason.
It will be interesting to watch it all unfold.
TO OFFER OR NOT TO OFFER?
The nation’s top recruit and current Clemson commitment Robert Nkemdiche generated plenty of discussion among college football fans over the weekend.
First, he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that his recruitment was a "done deal" if the Tigers offered a scholarship to close friend and teammate Ryan Carter. However, if Clemson didn’t, Nkemdiche would have to take another look at Ole Miss, who has already offered a scholarship to Carter.
When the New York Times followed up with Nkemdiche on Sunday, he said that he would still honor his commitment to the Tigers even if they did not offer a scholarship to Carter.
Whether or not people agree with Nkemdiche’s actions, the question remains – what should Dabo Swinney do?
Unlike going for it on fourth-and-one at midfield, this decision is a no-brainer. Swinney should nip this in the bud and offer Carter a scholarship.
There is absolutely no downside to making this choice. Even if Carter, a three-star prospect according to some scouting services, does not pan out, all Clemson loses is a scholarship.
On the other hand, not offering a scholarship could possibly cost the Tigers a once-in-a-generation type of player.
The only people in the Palmetto State that want to see that happen wear Garnett and Black.
Terry Johnson covers the ACC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. Please contact him via email at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @TPJCollFootball