In conjunction with the new College Football Playoff, the Orange Bowl and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) have extended their relationship with a 12-year agreement that begins this year and concludes after the 2025 season, ensuring that the Orange Bowl continues to serve as the “Home of the ACC Champion.”
If the ACC Champion is identified as one of the top four teams by the new College Football Playoff selection committee, then the ACC Champion will participate in the national semifinals and a replacement team from the ACC would participate in the Capital One Orange Bowl. The ACC representative annually will face a highly ranked team from the Big Ten Conference, the Southeastern Conference or Notre Dame.
The new post-season format begins this season and will continue at least 12 years, through the 2025-26 season. The semifinals will be rotated among six bowl games and will be played either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
The championship game, to be managed by the 11 conferences and rotated among neutral sites every year, will be on a Monday at least six days after the last semifinal game. The College Football Playoff selection committee will rank the teams for the playoff.
In addition to the partnership between the ACC and the Orange Bowl, the Orange Bowl will host four semifinal games in the new 12-year arrangement, beginning Dec. 31, 2015 and every three years after. In the years the Orange Bowl serves as a semifinal host, the ACC Champion, if not in the College Football Playoff, would then participate in either the Chick-Fil-A Peach or Fiesta Bowls.
The Orange Bowl has been the “Home of the ACC Champion” since 2006. The Orange Bowl previously had similar agreements with other conferences, namely the Big Eight and Big East Conferences, but its agreement with the ACC is the first exclusive agreement between the Orange Bowl and a NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly I-A) conference since 1995.
Current ACC schools have made a total of 41 appearances in the Orange Bowl, including a Clemson-Miami match-up in 1951, a Miami-Florida State game in 2004 and a Wake Forest-Louisville game in 2007. The 1951 contest came prior to the ACC’s inception in 1953; the 2004 game came a year before Miami’s acceptance into the league; and the 2007 matchup featured the Cardinals who join the ACC this year.
Among the 20 national champions or national championship games hosted by the Orange Bowl, current ACC teams have played in nine Classics, winning five. Clemson won its only national title at the 1982 Orange Bowl, Miami won three of its five crowns at the 1984, ’88 and ’92 Orange Bowls and Florida State earned the first of its two national championships at the 1994 Orange Bowl.
For the fifth straight year, the ACC champion was decided at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. in the Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game. Featuring the winners of the ACC's Atlantic and Coastal divisions, the winner is annually guaranteed an automatic berth in the Orange Bowl, unless that team is selected for the College Football Playoff. First played in 2005, the ACC title game has been played in Jacksonville, Fla., Tampa, Fla., and now Charlotte.
Florida State (2006), Wake Forest (2007), Virginia Tech (2008, '09, '11), Georgia Tech (2010) and Clemson (2012) each played in the Orange Bowl following a win at the Dr Pepper ACC Championship, while Florida State's victory over Duke in 2013 catapulted it to capturing the final BCS National Championship.