Rep: Bowls Could Start Announcing Soon

According to John Folmer, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Sun Bowl, Atlantic Coast Conference teams could start learning their bowl destinations in the next couple of days.

With Florida State (9-3, 6-2) and Virginia Tech (10-2, 8-0) advancing to the ACC Title game, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl could release all other teams to the remaining bowls because the Chick-Fil-A Bowl would be pleased with taking the loser of the title game. Virginia Tech always travels well and is obligated to play in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl should they lose, and and a Florida State matchup with a SEC program could also be enticing.

"I certainly think that will be the case," said Folmer. "I think you may hear by Tuesday from bowls like us at the Sun Bowl or the Champs if the Chick-Fil-A Bowl goes ahead and makes that decision. There will certainly be at trickle-down effect. They probably won't have to worry about the title game loser and be excited about those two teams."

The ACC has tie-ins to the Discover Orange Bowl (#1 selection - BCS), Chick-Fil-A Bowl (#2), Champs Sports Bowl (#3), Meineke Car Care Bowl (#5), Music City Bowl (#6), and Eagle Bank Bowl (#8). The conference is no longer affiliated with the Emerald Bowl and Gator Bowl, and those have been replaced by the Independence Bowl (#7) and the Hyundai Sun Bowl (#4). Also, if there are not enough eligible Pac-10 teams, the ACC has a conditional spot in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

With the winner of the title game going to the Orange Bowl and the loser likely to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Champs Sports has the next selection.

"We are going to look at a lot of factors," stated Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan. "We place a huge emphasis on overall record, head-to-head wins, standings in the final polls... all of that matters a great deal to us.

"If there are several reasons that makes things equal,then you let other things factor in whether it is Television, the last time we hosted a team... but those are secondary factors to us."

Assuming the Chick-Fil-A Bowl scenario mentioned above, it's likely that the Champs Sports Bowl will focus in on Miami (7-5, 5-3), NC State (8-4, 5-3), and potentially Maryland (8-4, 5-3).

NC State has attended the bowl in the past and was well-represented by Wolfpack fans.

"I like Tom [O'Brien] a lot," said Hogan. "I think Tom has done a great job. I like the school and the fans... they were great for us when we had them down here when the Champs Sports Bowl was a different name.

"They blew us up. They did a very good job and we know that NC State travels well. We've got a lot of respect for NC State. I think with some of the quality wins they've had this year... they've had quality losses like Virginia Tech. They are in our picture."

The question for the Champs Sports Bowl is the other side of the matchup. The bowl is projected to take a Big East team, but with Notre Dame being 7-5 the bowl now has the option of selecting the Fighting Irish, which is certainly possible.

"We have the first option at Notre Dame if they aren't in the BCS," said Hogan. "We have that one time. They need to have a winning team for us to consider them and we do have some clauses in place.

"I've been asked many times about Notre Dame. We view them as just another team and they need to be a winning team. We've worked hard to get our picks up to where we're taking high-win teams."

Folmer and the Sun Bowl, who also could select Notre Dame if the Champs Sports Bowl passes on them, believes that is where the Fighting Irish will end up.

"We have a Pac 10 tie-in to matchup against the ACC, but we don't know if they are going to make it," said Folmer. "There's another week of football to be played out there and I don't know if they are going to make it with Southern Cal out of the loop.

"Southern Cal getting beat by Notre Dame hurts us because it can send Notre Dame to the Champs now that they have seven wins and in all probability that's what they are going to land."

The Sun Bowl, in its first year contractually tied to the ACC, selects after the Champs Sports Bowl. Both bowls are interested in NC State and Miami. Folmer believes the firing of Randy Shannon in Coral Gables isn't necessarily a good thing for Miami's bowl chances.

"That's not a good situation because it brings into play a lot of unknowns, at least that's how we view coaching firings," said Folmer. "We've had that happen and it's not a good situation. It's just not good. The players aren't happy. You've got disgruntled fans and disgruntled players and that can impact in a negative way."

Played in El Paso, Texas, the Sun Bowl has a strong history and tradition. Through the years, the Sun Bowl has hosted some of the greats of the game – Tony Dorsett, Barry Sanders, Don Maynard, James Lofton and more recently Carson Palmer, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jonathan Stewart, Chase Daniel, Matt Moore and Joey Harrington.

Folmer and his staff are looking for a strong matchup.

"It's not as important to us to have a lot of fans go, and we pay out roughly two million per team," he said. "We have a great relationship with CBS... we're the second-oldest property they own with the oldest being The Masters, so it is certainly a good situation for us."

With Notre Dame likely off the board and the Pac 10 probably not filling its slot, where will the Sun Bowl look for the ACC's opponent?

"Should that happen we will have some options," said Folmer. "We can go Independent or pursue other eligible teams. We can go to the Southeastern Conference should they not get two [BCS teams], but we're not sure how all of that will play out just yet."

One thing is certain, the Sun Bowl is very interested in NC State.

"Coach O'Brien has done a heckuva job turning that around, and I know they are very attractive to us," said Folmer. "We've seen them play, and their fans are great. To be honest with you, we didn't think we'd have a shot at them because we believed they would defeat Maryland.

"Looking at who they are, the story behind them, and the year they've had, you can say they are certainly very high on our list, especially with what's going on at Miami."

The Car Care Bowl selects after the Sun Bowl and at that point other teams like Clemson and North Carolina come into play and it is really hard to project that far down the line at this point. However, it is encouraging to know for a bunch of ACC fans that they may not have to wait another week to find out where they will be viewing their favorite team over the holidays.

"I believe we'll be doing something over the next couple of days," said Folmer. "It may be by Tuesday that us and the Champs Sports will do something. At that point there will be that trickle-down effect, and that is all assuming the Chick-Fil-A Bowl releases teams, which I believe will likely be the case."

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