ACC fans can rest assured the runner-up in the conference championship game won't fall as far as Clemson did this season for the next four years.
In the ACC's next bowl cycle, which begins in 2010, the loser of the title game would never drop below the No. 4 bowl, which will be the Brut Sun Bowl -- and that's a bowl that will want the ACC runner-up. A matchup between the Pac-10 and the ACC runner-up would make for a great bowl game, should the loser fall that far.
The other rule change that will be in effect for the next four years is that the ACC has eliminated the clause in the contract that states if a bowl team has already selected the runner-up, it doesn't have to choose it again. This year, according to current contracts, the Gator Bowl didn't have to select Clemson because it already chose the runner-up in 2006.
Both of these adjustments should help smooth out the selection process for the next four years. While it didn't turn out the way a lot of ACC fans would have liked to see this year, the current rules were in place to help protect the championship game loser. Imagine how far Boston College might have fallen the past two seasons had that rule not been in place -- or if Wake Forest had lost in 2006. Next year, though, teams won't be able to bypass the one-loss rule, and the selection order will look like this:
1. Orange Bowl
2. Chick-fil-A Bowl
3. Champs Sports Bowl
4. Brut Sun Bowl
5. Meineke Car Care Bowl
6. Music City Bowl
7. Independence Bowl
8. EagleBank Bowl