Rep: Champs Sports Bowl Still Deciding

Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan stated Thursday evening that his selection committee is in the process of evaluating teams and will likely not make any final decisions until Sunday morning at the earliest.

Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan stated Thursday evening that his selection committee is in the process of evaluating teams and will likely not make any final decisions until Sunday morning at the earliest.

The Chick-Fil-A Bowl announced Thursday afternoon that it would select the loser of the ACC title game to represent the ACC, putting the Champs Sports Bowl, which has the No. 3 selection, on the clock. Although fans are eagerly waiting to find out where their teams will end up, Hogan indicated that they have not reached a decision.

"Really what the Chick-Fil-A Bowl's announcement means to us is that we know Florida State is no longer available," said Hogan. "At this point it would be between the remaining four teams in NC State, Maryland, Miami, and North Carolina.

"It really doesn't change our timeframe. I think for us it depends on the games this Saturday. Those games will greatly impact both of our picks to a large degree, and it's just depending on who it is on that Big East/Notre Dame side."

The two games that Hogan is referring to are UCONN vs. South Florida and West Virginia vs. Rutgers. If UCONN wins they will earn a BCS invitation, leaving West Virginia available to the Champs Sports Bowl. However, if UCONN loses and West Virginia wins, the Moutaineers will represent the Big East in the BCS.

If both teams win, West Virginia would be 9-3 and nationally ranked, a strong option for the Champs Sports Bowl. Notre Dame is still strongly in the mix at 7-5 and South Florida could be an option should they defeat UCONN and West Virginia earns the BCS bid.

"It could be Notre Dame or West Virginia, and I don't want to rule out South Florida," said Hogan. "I do think that with West Virginia ranked and a shot at nine wins, they could kind of rise to the top. However, obviously Notre Dame remains a strong option and you have South Florida in there."

With the four ACC programs, most believe NC State and Maryland have the edge with 8-4 overall records and five conference wins. Miami is 7-5 overall and 5-3 in league play, and North Carolina is 7-5 and finished 4-4 in the ACC. However, Hogan maintains they are all equal at this point.

"It's really hard to say that you are leaning towards anyone because there are a lot of variables," he said. "When you look at all four teams in our circle that we're looking at, they are all close. That's why you want to see what those matchups will be after looking at the all of their bodies at work... who played who.

"NC State beat North Carolina but lost to Maryland. Maryland beat NC State but lost to Miami. Miami beat North Carolina and Maryland. North Carolina lost to NC State and Miami. Head-to-head it's all close so you're going to look at the overall body of work, then we can see what plays out on Saturday and narrow it down to a team or two and go from there Sunday morning."

Hogan confirmed that all of the schools have been calling, lobbying for their team to be selected. However, his committee will meet on Sunday and make the final choice. They are not looking to hold up the rest of the ACC's selection process but want to make the best possible pick for the Champs Sports Bowl.

"Sure, we have all the head coaches and ADs calling as you would expect," he said. "I just think there's a lot of debate going on about all four ACC teams. When you know the pick Saturday on the other side, it will be much easier.

"The Chick-Fil-A Bowl was able to make their decision because no games really seemed to impact it but that one and they could be comfortable taking either. We're not in that situation because a lot still has to play out.

"We're not looking to hold up the ACC's selection process at all," added Hogan. "That's up to the conference. If they would like us to release a team or two so some other bowls can select we would be more than willing to participate."

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.

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