The ACC added a couple of extra bowls for 2020, which brings their total number of bowl tie-ins to 10. One of the new bowls is in a desirable location, the other is in Boston.
The two new bowls are San Deigo’s Holiday Bowl and an an as-of-yet-unnamed bowl that will be played in Fenway Park. (Insert joke about Boston playing second fiddle to NYC here. The good folks in beantown are certainly not doing anything to dispel that image given that the Yankee Stadium Pinstripe Bowl has been around since 2010.)
The Fenway Park Bowl (I’ll give a shoutout in the next article to the poster who comes up with the catchiest name), will likely be the coldest bowl played outside of Boise Idaho and almost certainly the coldest bowl played by a Power Five team. It will also reportedly pit the ACC vs the American Athletic Conference (AAC). That’s a lot of A’s and C’s. This bowl would have been perfect place to slot perennially mediocre (even more-so than Pitt!) Boston College against regional rival Uconn (Ideally every year…) except that Uconn decided to take its football and go somewhere else this offseason. (They joined the Big East in all sports except football…because Big East football no longer exists).
Meanwhile the Holiday Bowl, which was formerly known as “Rose Bowl Lite” (Big 10 vs PAC 12) has switched over to the ACC. I guess the rationale was that the “Atlantic” Coast Conference could get some exposure on the West Coast, but more likely its because the PAC-12 house routinely gotten housed by its Big 10 Opponents. Note the Big 10’s 10-3 record in this bowl. The Pac 12 meanwhile has gone 7-17 in its own backyard. I guess the Holiday Bowl people are thinking the ACC offers just a tad bit more parity.
On the bright side, there is a $2.8 M payout, and San Diego is a nice, sunny destination for Pitt fans, should Pitt ever qualify. But it’s an expensive trip and it’s a looong way away. Still better than El-Paso though, any way you slice it.
For the sake of journalistic integrity, the rest of the ACC Bowl Tie Ins for 2020 are listed below. Source is ACC.com. My comments in italics
ACC Bowls, 2020-2025
- Capital One Orange Bowl (Miami Gardens, Florida)
The ACC and its bowl partners will make team selections based on several factors, including geographic proximity, avoiding repeat appearances and matchups, and regular-season won-loss records.
- Belk Bowl (Charlotte, North Carolina) – Used to be the Meinke Car Car Bowl and also the Continental Tire Bowl. Pitt has played once in this bowl and it was their last known win against UNC, under the venerable Dave Wannstedt
December 26, 2009 Meineke Car Care Bowl No. 17 Pittsburgh 19 North Carolina 17 50,389
- Camping World Bowl (Orlando, Florida) – The only bowl with more sponsors in the last 30 years than Pitt head coaches. Formerly known as the Blockbuster, Micron PC, Tangerine, Champs Sports, Russell Athletic Bowl. Pitt played in it once (2001) and has a sparkling 1.000 winning percentage. *Sigh* those were the days.
12 December 20, 2001 Tangerine Bowl Pittsburgh 34 NC State 19 28,562
- Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (Annapolis, Maryland). I don’t want to talk about it.
- Hyundai Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas) – I don’t want to talk about it. Again.
- New Era Pinstripe Bowl (New York City). My brother went to Northwestern and lives in New York. Even though we froze our asses off, we had a very nice time getting drunk together after this bowl. Other than that, I don’t want to talk about it.
- Outback Bowl (Tampa, Florida) – if the ACC’s opponent in the Capital One Orange Bowl is from the Big Ten – This is a backup bowl for the ACC. In the last 20 years exactly zero ACC teams have played in this bowl. Other than that, I don’t want to talk about it.
- San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl (San Diego, California) – See above.
- TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Florida). Used to be known as the Gator Bowl. Wish it still was. Pitt is 2-1 in this bowl and last played in it in 1980. We should also note that in 1977 #10 Pitt shellac’d #11 Clemson 34 – 3. My how times have changed…
- Bowl game (Boston, Massachusetts) – managed by ESPN Events and Fenway Sports Management. A picture says a thousand words…
ESPN Events and the following bowls will collaborate on the selection of one ACC team.
- Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Florida). Still the best name in the bowl business.
- Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, Alabama). I’m not familiar with this one. Are you?
- SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dallas, Texas). Better than no bowl at all I guess.
In all, the ACC will annually have 10 guaranteed bowl berths in 2020-25.
Hail to Pitt