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League looks to Orlando for 5th bowl


© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 25, 2001

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. -- Commissioner John Swofford has no trepidations about Orlando successfully supporting two bowl games, the established Citrus Bowl and the Sunshine Football Classic, which is expected to be added.

"Some communities can handle that and some couldn't," he said Tuesday morning as the league's football kickoff media session ended. "You couldn't do that just anywhere. But Orlando's a place that can be done. ... It's a destination point and not every city is a destination point."

The Sunshine Classic, formerly Bowl, is expected to be played Dec. 21 and will match an ACC team against a Big Ten, Big East or Big 12 team. While at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, the game paired the ACC against the Big Ten.

"The NCAA has approved the certification transfer to Orlando, but there needs to be some T's to be crossed and some I's to be dotted," he said. "I am very optimistic that situation will be resolved in a very positive way for our league and will give us a situation that's a better situation than we had."

Look for a five-year deal, which would mirror the duration of the existing Bowl Championship Series contracts with ABC and the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose bowls.

If it doesn't materialize, the ACC will have just four bowl tie-ins this season: the Bowl Championship Series, the Gator, the Peach and the Seattle Bowl.

A REASON TO EXPAND: No one is seriously looking at expansion, but some of the latest changes to the BCS formula, namely extra points for quality wins, might provide a stimulus to explore that option again.

More teams -- especially if one were powerhouse Miami -- would give ACC teams more chances to reap quality points.

"There's logic in that thinking," Swofford said. "Whether that ends up being related to our discussion of expansion, I don't know."

Yet when the landscape of college football changes, Swofford said the league has pledged to react accordingly and "this is part of the landscape." Stay tuned.

NEVER ON FRIDAY, BUT WHAT ABOUT TUESDAY OR. . .: Swofford reaffirmed the league's stance not to take advantage of a new rule permitting televised Friday night games, in deference to high school football. But with games on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, can Mondays and Wednesdays be far behind as schools and leagues chase the almighty dollar?

"I don't know. I hope not," Swofford said. "You have to respect tradition but you also show some creativity, too."

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