UNC/ACC Bowl Selection Order

The Tar Heels are in play for all of the ACC’s postseason bowl games.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – As No. 11 North Carolina’s win total continues to increase, a detailed look at the ACC’s bowl selection process is in order.

College Football Playoff

The ACC champion will play in the playoff if it is ranked Nos. 1-4 in the College Football Playoff’s final rankings on Dec. 6. The CFP Selection Committee will announce the playoff participants at 2:45pm.

Semifinals: Capital One Orange Bowl (Dec. 31, 4 or 8pm/ESPN; Miami Gardens, Fla.)
Semifinals: Goodyear Cotton Bowl (Dec. 31, 4 or 8pm/ESPN; Arlington, Tex.)
National Championship (Jan. 11, 8:30pm/ESPN; Glendale, Ariz.)

New Year’s Six Bowls

The Capital One Orange Bowl is the ACC’s primary NY6 bowl partner (versus an opponent from the Notre Dame/SEC/Big Ten grouping). Due to the Orange serving as a playoff semifinal host this season, the ACC champion will play in either the Fiesta or Chick-fil-A Peach if its not included in the playoff.

The CFP Selection Committee will determine the game and opponent for the ACC champion. There is no limit on how many teams the committee can select from a particular conference, so it is possible for multiple teams from the same conference to earn a NY6 invite.

Only the champions from the Power 5 conferences (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12) and the highest-ranked champion from the Group of 5 conferences (American Athletic, C-USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt) are guaranteed spots in the NY6 bowls. The remaining NY6 bowl slots will be filled by the highest-ranked teams in the committee’s final rankings.

This is where UNC’s final ranking in the College Football Playoff poll comes into play. If the Tar Heels lose the ACC Championship Game to Clemson, then they will need, at a minimum, a top-12 ranking to secure a NY6 bowl (there is a possibility that the Group of 5 highest-ranked champion and/or Pac 12 champion fall outside of the top-12).

Chick-fil-A Peach (Dec. 31, noon/ESPN; Atlanta, Ga.)
Fiesta (Jan. 1, 1pm/ESPN; Glendale, Ariz.)

First Choice

The Russell Athletic Bowl has the first pick in the ACC bowl order after the College Football playoff and NY6 bowls.

Russell Athletic Bowl (Dec. 29, 5:30pm/ESPN; Orlando, Fla.)

Tier 1 Bowls

All teams in Tier 1 have equal selection status. Teams will be placed according to various factors, including geography.

Belk (Dec. 30, 3:30pm/ESPN; Charlotte, N.C.)
Hyundai Sun (Dec. 26, 2pm/CBS; El Paso, Tex.)
New Era Pinstripe (Dec. 26, 3:30pm/ABC; New York, N.Y.)
Franklin American Mortgage Music City (Dec. 30, 7pm/ESPN; Nashville, Tenn.)
TaxSlayer (Jan. 2, noon/ESPN; Jacksonville, Fla.)

Tier 2 Bowls

All teams in Tier 2 have equal selection status.

Military (Dec. 28, 2:30pm/ESPN; Annapolis, Md.)
Camping World Independence (Dec. 26, 5:45pm/ESPN; Shreveport, La.)
Quick Lane (Dec. 28, 5pm/ESPN2; Detroit, Mich.)

* The “one-win rule” that long defined the ACC’s bowl selection process is no longer in place for the 14 league members. However, that rule does apply to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are eligible for ACC bowl selection, beginning with the Russell Athletic Bowl this season, but they must be within one win of the next available ACC team with the best overall record. For example, an 8-4 Notre Dame team could not be picked over a 10-2 conference member.


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