It's official - all ACC football fans can rejoice (or at least stop complaining). Their conference will not be relegated to non-AQ status. The
Fed Ex Discover Orange Bowl has signed a 12 year agreement with the ACC to host their champion every year on January 1st. If the conference champ is in the top 4 at the end of the year to qualify for the new playoff, a replacement team from the ACC would be selected.
The two best things about this deal? The first is the game will be played at 1pm on New Years Day. Between the Orange Bowl in the afternoon, the Rose Bowl locked in at 5pm, and we can only assume the newly founded Champions Bowl in prime-time, they finally are re-establishing the sanctity of the best bowl games. There have been rumblings out there, but I really hope they bring back one great bowl game on December 31st. It was always the perfect tease for the awesomeness coming all day long on January 1st.
The other great aspect of this agreement is the ACC will market the tv rights, presumably creating a financial windfall for all conference members to share. The annual opponent is still up for grabs, and as the Big East is soon to be a former AQ conference swaying in the wind, I'm all for having a permanent at-large selection opposite the ACC champ (or runner-up).
Now, if only Miami can finally make it back again sometime soon. Hell, I'd be happy with a trip to Charlotte first. Ah, lowered expectations...