Jacksonville was selected, unanimously, to be the host of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Football game. The two main competitors they beat out were Charlotte and Orlando. Other cities interested were Landover, MD, Atlanta and Baltimore.
This was pretty much a given, since the ACC has been drooling over Florida State-Miami title matchups for years to come. They've already put them in seperate divisions and scrapped the geographical format for the divisions as the SEC, MAC and Big XII have. I mean, why else have them playing the first week of the season?? So no matter what happens....the rematch will still be interesting. And where would you want such a game held?? Either Orlando or Jacksonville....where Canes and Noles fans can get there relatively easy.
The bonus is that if Virginia Tech, NC State, Maryland or Georgia Tech stumble into the game...their fan bases will probably love a little December trip down to Florida. And by no means is this conference a cake walk for the Canes or Noles. But, the ACC would be [quietly] disappointed if it kept seeing V-Tech vs Maryland or NC State vs Georgia Tech in the game. That's not what they are trying to sell ABC...who will televise the ACC title games.
One factor in the reasoning Jacksonville's Alltell Stadium will get the game is the fact that the Gator Bowl is held there....and they've had excellent ties with the ACC. My problem, however, is that most likely whomever loses the ACC Championship Game will then return to Jacksonville for their bowl game as the #2 ACC slot. And if it is Miami or FSU....then they only have to leave Florida maybe 3-4 times all year. Also, the Florida-Florida State game makes cameos in Jacksonville too. So, the Seminoles may get 3 games in Altell Stadium.
Yeah, it was a letdown for me, personally. I was hoping the game would land in Charlotte...at least every now and then...which has a NFL stadium, pretty mild climate, strong ACC footprints, major corporate ties and the geographic center of the conference. Now, it looks as if Charlotte may never get that game....as the ACC has hinted that it wants to fashion the game as an annual event in the same area. Jacksonville gets the 2005 and 2006 title games....and the conference has an option to extend it 2 more years.
I can't complain, totally. It is pretty much a given that Jacksonville will have pretty good weather for the game. Better than any of the non-Florida cities....with the exception of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. They also came at the conference will more money [$6M] and the conference won't have to rent out the stadium. It is a beautiful city with a ton of things to do for tourists.....which the ACC is banking on it being similar to Super Bowl week [which Jacksonville hosts this February].
Since the vote was unanimous...you shouldn't hear any of the member schools moan about the Florida bias. For those who don't know, the non-Carolina schools complain about the ACC Men's basketball tournament being held in either Charlotte or Greensboro on an almost permament basis. Only recently has the ACC switched that up and started to hold games in other markets....with this year's game at the MCI Center in Washington, DC. Of course, with Virginia, Virginia Tech and Maryland now together and all having realistic shots at getting to the football title game....you'd think FedEx Field may get a strong look in 2007.
Hey....but where the game is held is fine. The ACC is now emerging into a power conference in both football as well as basketball. And there is nothing wrong with that. Well.....