Take it from an old time college football fan, nothing gets the juices flowing in mid- October like being in the hunt for a bowl invitation.
Fail to secure a bid and the coach could be out the door. Not obtaining the perceived level of bowl bid and the coach can be on the hot seat.
In the BCS era (1998 to present), we have a number of top tier post season contests with "tie-ins" to certain bowl games. Case in point, the ACC Champion goes to the Orange Bowl in Miami, while the SEC Champion goes to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Naturally, if either is invited to play for the BCS title, they pass on the bowl tie in for the Conference Champion.
The unfortunate result of these tie-ins is that conference champions of the ACC and SEC have no chance to play each other in a bowl, unless it is the BCS Title game.
But, the "under-bowls" have addressed the issue by securing certain teams from certain leagues to attend their games each year.
The schedule for bowls tied to the ACC was released recently, let's take a look at the dates, times, tie-ins, and possible opponents.
Name Location Date Time Network Opponent
Orange Bowl Miami Jan. 5 8 pm FOX BCS
Gator Bowl Jacksonville Jan. 1 1 pm CBS BIG 12
Peach Bowl Atlanta Dec. 31 7:30 pm ESPN SEC
Champ Bowl Orlando Dec. 29 8 pm ESPN BIG 10
Eagle Bowl Washington Dec. 29 4:30 pm ESPN Army/Navy
Music City Bowl Nashville Dec. 27 8:15 pm ESPN SEC
Emerald Bowl San Francisco Dec. 26 8 pm ESPN PAC 10
Meineke Bowl Charlotte Dec. 26 4:30 pm ESPN BIG EAST
And to bring you up to date on the bowl equivalent of wife-swapping, the ACC will no longer send a lower level team to the blue carpet of Boise, Idaho because of economic concerns regarding travel costs.
Instead, the ninth and final ACC Bowl tie-in will belong to Mobile, Ala. That is where General Motors will sponsor a January 6 match at 7 pm on ESPN. The opponent for the ACC will be a Conference USA team. We certainly can't wait.
So, what do we decipher from these locations varying from the fascinating San Francisco to the moribund Charlotte?
From the exciting prospect of facing the SEC in "Hotlanta" and "Music City, USA" as well as the startling opportunity to battle the Big 10 in the resort area of Orlando?
We can determine that the ACC, long resentful of the respect its southern neighbors in the SEC receive year after year, will have two opportunities to show the country they are on the same level as the more glamorous league founded 20 years before the coastal boys got their act together in 1953.
How well the Atlantic Coast Conference representatives do in the nine bowl games is anyone's guess at this point but, do not be so quick to discount the possibility of 10 bowl games for the ACC.
How can that be? If the ACC champion is invited to play for the BCS title that opens up a qualifying league team to take the champion's place in the Orange Bowl, and all of the other dominoes fall into place accordingly.
Stay tuned for future developments.