1. The Bowls will still have a choice. This just makes good sense. The ACC wouldn’t be much of a partner if it forced teams on bowls. The bowls need ticket money to sustain their existence and lousy matchups will kill a bowl. Plus as attractive as the ACC might be now, there are plenty of other conferences that would gladly swoop in and agree to anything the bowls want.
2. Look for some sort of provision regarding conference record. This is similar to what we had in the Big East. This format allows the bowls to pick a team with a worse conference record than another eligible team as long as they are no more than a game behind the neglected team in the standings. For example, the Charlotte Bowl could not have passed on BC or Georgia Tech (both 5-3 in conference) last year to take NC State (3-5 in conference). However, Orlando selecting Clemson (4-4) over BC would have been acceptable.
3. There will still be backroom dealing. As we know, this is what the ACC does best. The ACC is a good partner and wants to bowls and the teams to be excited about their games. So reviewing last year’s scenarios, I can assure you that the ACC would have done something to get a regional team to Charlotte. If it couldn’t place NC State there, they probably would have positioned Clemson into the game. It just makes sense. The backroom dealing will also be very important with the Gator Bowl-ACC Championship challenges. Despite their success hosting Virginia Tech twice last season, I don’t think there will be many years where the Gator Bowl will want the loser of the ACC Championship game to return three weeks later. With the two divisions it is highly probably that there will always be a desirable team available to “swap” their bowl slot into the Gator Bowl in place of the ACC Championship game loser.
Boise is now the slot for the Eighth place team, so anyone who ends up there won’t have much to complain about. I don’t think this will change BC’s fate, but it will be a little more protection. As I said over the next five years I think you’ll see BC in San Fran and Boise more often than you will see them in Atlanta, Orlando or Jacksonville.