Home-site ACC title game on the table, though not likely

Clemson fans enjoy ACC Fanfest in Charlotte before the football championship game in Charlotte at the Bank of America Stadium against Virginia Tech.

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson fans enjoy ACC Fanfest in Charlotte before the football championship game in Charlotte at the Bank of America Stadium against Virginia Tech.

Two teams. 80,000 orange-clad fans. ACC title on the line.

It’s possible, though not probable for the Tigers coming up.

The conference, with its expansive range now north to Boston - south to Miami and soon to west to Louisville, has a home-site ACC Championship Game on the table, along with a more favored idea of keeping it in Charlotte.

No long term deal has been made for the contest, as it was renewed only for this December (7th) in the Queen City.

“We’ll probably have that decision made by this year’s game,” ACC commissioner John Swofford told the David Glenn Show. “We’ve been in Charlotte three years—two of those years were sellouts.”

For the 73,675 capacity Bank of America Stadium, the ACC announced a “tickets distributed” number of 64,778 for the Florida State-Georgia Tech showdown last season. The actual number was much, much lower for what was actually a decent game (21-15 FSU win). Not selling out its allotment, the Seminoles suffered a net loss of nearly $479,000 by winning a title game.

“This past year, was an odd year for our championship game,” said Swofford, “with a couple of schools that could’ve been in Charlotte but weren’t.”

Yes, Clemson was a win over FSU away and UNC would have made it without a postseason ban, but therein lies the problem attendance-wise. With such a sprawling conference now, relying on Virginia Tech, Clemson, etc. to make it each season regionally isn’t exactly a foolproof plan.

The ideal Hokies-Tigers matchup the year before was an announced sellout, while it was more similar to this past season in 2010 with fans braving a cold rain for Virginia Tech-FSU.

“The game has been more successful in Charlotte than anywhere else we have taken it,” Swofford said, noting major failures in Tampa and Jacksonville placements. “Sometimes, we have some discussion about the game being on-campus, which is what the Pac-12 is doing.

“But I think the success of the game in Charlotte probably bodes well for its future in Charlotte.”

The Pac-12 awards the team with the best overall conference record, using a head-to-head tiebreaker if they played and the highest BCS ranking otherwise. In two seasons, the tiebreaker hasn’t been necessary, with Oregon (2011) then Stanford hosting (2012).

The 2011 Oregon-UCLA game, where the Ducks won in a 49-31 romp, was over capacity (59,376), but last year at Stanford, where they edged the Bruins 27-24, it was well below attendance high marks (31,622). That would be hard to imagine at a FSU or Clemson though.

If the same model was used in the ACC over the last four years, the Tigers would have played on the road at Georgia Tech (2009) and Virginia Tech (2011), while the Hokies would have hosted FSU in 2010 and the Seminoles the same last season against Georgia Tech.

So, the benefits? Rewards the top team in the conference and likely ensures full stands. Makes it more like the pre-title game ACC, while still giving a deserving team the chance to win a championship on the road.

The downside? You better be the top team. Gives up the neutral-site, bowl-like element. It’s tough for the fans of the road team tickets-wise.

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