Title Game headed to Florida

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner <B>John Swofford</b> announced today that Jacksonville, Fla., has been selected to host the ACC football title game in 2005 and 2006, with a two-year option for 2007 and 2008. Click here for details and quotes from Swofford, Florida State Director of Athletics <B>Dave Hart </b>and Seminole football coach <b>Bobby Bowden.</b>

The unanimous decision was made in a Thursday morning conference call of the league's 11 Faculty Representatives following a recommendation from the league's Athletics Directors. The inaugural ACC championship football game will be played in ALLTEL Stadium on Saturday, December 3, 2005. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally by ABC.

The Gator Bowl Association submitted the bid on behalf of the city of Jacksonville and will be the host entity for the championship game for 2005 and 2006. The Association, founded in 1945, is headed by Rick Catlett (President) and is a not-for-profit charitable organization that earmarks 75 percent of all revenue to support local education.

Situated on ten acres adjacent to the St. John's River in the heart of downtown Jacksonville, ALLTEL Stadium is one of the newest, state-of-the-art sports complexes in the world and is the site for the 2005 NFL Super Bowl. Formerly the Gator Bowl, ALLTEL Stadium, with a capacity of 77,497, is the home of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars and the annual Toyota Gator Bowl, the sixth-oldest bowl game having started in 1946.

John Swofford, ACC Commissioner: "We are extremely pleased to be able to bring the ACC football title game to Jacksonville. ALLTEL Stadium and the city of Jacksonville will provide our schools with not only an outstanding facility in which to play, but also an enthusiastic and progressive community that has always embraced college football. Our association with the city of Jacksonville and the Gator Bowl Association have always been very positive to all of the parties involved and we look forward to continuing to build on this relationship."

Dave Hart, Florida State University Director of Athletics: "This is a very exciting day for the Atlantic Coast Conference as well as Florida State University," said FSU Director of Athletics Dave Hart who was one of four ACC athletics directors on the selection committee. "The City of Jacksonville will do a terrific job hosting this prestigious event. The venue, staff, volunteer network and ancillary components are all in place to deliver everything desired in a championship game setting. That can also be said of a number of other cities which presented outstanding bids, including other Florida sites. That speaks volumes about our conference.

"I remember very well stating to a group of reporters in 1995, when asked about various goals and priorities for our athletics department, that I would like to see us greatly enhance the ACC's presence in the state of Florida. I felt we had an obligation in that regard to prioritize that goal and do all we could, in conjunction with our conference office, to work hard toward that end. It is very gratifying today to recount that progress.

"During the past eight years or so, our football team has played regular season ACC games in Orlando and Jacksonville and our conference now has multiple bowl ties in our state. Orlando has hosted the ACC Springfest Olympic Sports Championships at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, St. Petersburg has twice hosted the ACC Baseball Championship and Jacksonville will host the baseball championship next year.

The Ice Palace, in Tampa, will host the 2007 ACC Men's Basketball Championship and Jacksonville will now host the 2005 and 2006 ACC Football Championship game. Most notably, Miami is now a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"ACC presence in the state of Florida has been achieved in resounding fashion. That is very gratifying and cause for much collective pride on the part of everyone associated with our university and our athletics program. We're proud to be associated with the Atlantic Coast Conference."

Bobby Bowden, Florida State Football Coach: "I'm really happy for the folks in Jacksonville and the people in our state," said Bowden. "We had several of our Florida bowls bidding on the championship and I thought they couldn't go wrong with any of them. I've watched the interest in the ACC just grow and grow since we joined. Now you add Miami to the league and play the first few championship games here and I think you'll see the interest in ACC football go through the roof. I was hoping for some sort of guarantee that we could be in it every year."

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton: "Jacksonville couldn't be happier about hosting this game. We have always had a special spot in our hearts for college football, as any Gator Bowl or Florida-Georgia participant can tell you. We will give a warm welcome to the teams and fans, and we look forward to working with the ACC and the Gator Bowl Association to build another great football tradition here on the First Coast."

Rick Catlett, Gator Bowl President: "We are extremely excited about the opportunity to extend the partnership between the Gator Bowl Association and the Atlantic Coast Conference. The awarding of this game is the result of a team effort between the State of Florida, the City of Jacksonville and the hundreds of volunteers that have pledged their support to help make this a truly spectacular event."

Bob White, Chairman of the Gator Bowl ACC Football Championship Game Bid Committee: "On behalf of the Gator Bowl Association, its members and volunteers, we are extremely excited to be able to host the ACC Football Championship Games. To Commissioner Swofford, the ACC athletic administrations and the fans of this great Conference, we look forward to providing a first-class experience in Jacksonville."

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