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ACC Bowl Tie-Ins, Selection Process


ACC bowl tie-ins, as well selection criteria for each of the conference’s college football bowl games. 


After a disappointing 4-6 record in postseason last year, the ACC will look to improve in the 2016-17 postseason where they could have upwards of 10 bowl appearances.

As with every Power 5 conference under the new College Football Playoff postseason structure, the ACC is guaranteed a place in one of the New Year’s Six bowl games. As this year’s Orange Bowl is not a CFP semifinal game, the ACC Champion will automatically have a tie-in to the game unless selected for the playoff. Should a champion make it into the playoffs, the next highest ranked team would take its place in the Orange Bowl.

Like many conferences, the ACC has a selection hierarchy when it comes to filling it remaining bowl game partners. However, the ACC’s system is not a true one-through-ten type of hierarchy. If the conference faces a Big Ten opponent in the Orange Bowl, then the Citrus Bowl will have the first pick of the remaining ACC teams. And if the Big Ten fills the Citrus Bowl instead of the Orange Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl gets the first pick of the remaining bowl eligible teams.

The remaining ACC-affiliated bowl games are split among two different tiers. Tier One is comprised of the Belk Bowl, Sun Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl and either the TaxSlayer or Music City Bowl. Each of these four games has equal selection status, meaning who is selected for any particular bowl comes down to geography and past participation in a given game. For example, the Sun Bowl takes place in El Paso, TX, and under the current structure two of the ACC’s more southern teams (Duke and Miami) would represent the conference in that game. Similarly, the Belk Bell—located in Charlotte—has featured NC State and Louisville.

The Military Bowl, Independence Bowl and Quick Lane Bow and St. Petersburg make up the second tier of ACC bowls. Unlike the first tier, these bowls are ranked in order of selection status, with the Military Bowl having the first choice and the St. Petersburg Bowl last of the Tier Two games. The ACC can also be tapped to fill a slot in the Birmingham Bowl if they have an excess of bowl-eligible teams and the SEC/AAC can’t each provide a team.

Included in the ACC’s selection process is an interesting rule regarding conference affiliate Notre Dame. While not a full conference member when it comes to football, Notre Dame can be selected for an ACC Bowl instead of a full conference member. However for this to happen, the Fighting Irish have to have one more win than the best available ACC team.

Below is the full schedule of bowl games with ACC tie-ins. For the purposes of this article “ACC No. 1” the selection place that comes after that ACC champ has been placed in the Orange Bowl or Playoff.

ACC Bowl Tie-Ins

St. Petersburg Bowl

Date: Monday, December 26
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
2015 Game: Marshall 16, Connecticut 10

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 9 vs. CUSA/AAC. Filled by MAC/Sun Belt if not enough ACC teams

Quick Lane Bowl

Date: Monday, December 26
Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
2015 Game: Minnesota 21, Central Michigan 14

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 8 vs. Big Ten.

Camping World Independence Bowl

Date: Monday, December 25
Location: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
2015 Game: Virginia Tech 55, Tulsa 52

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 7 vs. SEC

Military Bowl

Date: Tuesday, December 27
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
2015 Game: Navy 44, Pittsburgh 28

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 6 vs. AAC

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Date: Wednesday, December 28
Location: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
2015 Game: Duke 44, Indiana 41

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 2-5 vs. Big Ten

Russell Athletic Bowl

Date: Wednesday, December 28
Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
2015 Game: Baylor 49, North Carolina 38

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 1 vs. Big 12, unless Big Ten is selected to participate in Orange Bowl, in which case ACC No. 1 goes to Citrus Bowl and ACC No. 2 goes to Russell Athletic Bowl.

Belk Bowl

Date: Thursday, December 29
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
2015 Game: Mississippi State 51, NC State 28

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 2-5 vs. SEC

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Date: Friday, December 30
Location: Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX
2015 Game: Washington State 20, Miami 14

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 2-5 vs. Pac-12

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Date: Friday, December 30
Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
2015 Game: Louisville 27, Texas A&M 21

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 2-5 vs. SEC, if Big Ten is selected for TaxSlayer Bowl. This ACC slot goes to TaxSlayer Bowl if Big Ten is selected for Music City Bowl

Capital One Orange Bowl

Date: Friday, December 30
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
2015 Game: Clemson 37, Oklahoma 17 (CFP Semifinal)

Selection Criteria: ACC Champ vs. highest ranked non-champ from SEC, Big Ten, Notre Dame, unless ACC Champ is selected for CFP, in which case ACC No. 1 takes its place.

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl

Date: Saturday, December 31
Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
2015 Game: Michigan 41, Florida 7

Selection Criteria: If ACC Champ plays against a Big Ten opponent in the Orange Bowl, ACC No. 1 plays SEC in Citrus Bowl. If ACC Champ is selected to CFP, and ACC 1 plays Big Ten in the Orange Bowl, ACC No. 2 goes to Citrus Bowl. If the Big Ten is not selected for Orange Bowl, the ACC is replaced by a Big Ten team in the Citrus Bowl.

TaxSlayer Bowl

Date: Saturday, December 31
Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
2015 Game: Georgia 24, Penn State 17

Selection Criteria: ACC No. 2-5 vs. SEC, if Big Ten is selected for Music City Bowl. This ACC slot goes to Music City Bowl if Big Ten is selected for TaxSlayer Bowl.

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