Big East and the Orange Bowl

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Ever since the ACC announced its bowl partnership with the Orange Bowl, the most frequently asked question on this blog has been this: Does the Big East have any shot at getting an automatic spot into the Orange Bowl, too?

So I took your question to ACC commissioner John Swofford during ACC media day on Sunday, specifically asking whether there have been discussions with the Big East about forming an Orange Bowl partnership.

"Not specifically the Big East, no," he said Sunday. "We’ve had some discussions that could bring in a very broad group as a possibility."

Earlier during his news conference, he was asked about Notre Dame, widely considered the favorite to secure a tie-in. Swofford said there were "several different scenarios on the opposite side of the Orange Bowl. It could be a larger group, it could be a smaller group. We hope to have an announcement in the not too distant future. It’s a very attractive slot."

Those two comments do not bode well for Big East fans, wondering whether their conference champion will have an automatic place in one of the six high-level bowl games that will be a part of the new postseason format. Right now, the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC all have a home for their conference champions. The Big East does not.

We can debate the fairness another time. But you should know I am not the only one wondering why the ACC deserves said tie-in. Swofford was asked why the ACC belongs at the table with the aforementioned conferences, especially with a 2-13 record in BCS games.

"I’m obviously not the only one who believes that or we wouldn't have our place at the table with the new format and with the Orange Bowl," he said. "We just need to take advantage of the opportunities and win games. You’re not going to win all of them, but if you win your share of them, it’s not even a point of conversation."

One other Big East related note. Swofford was asked about Pitt and Syracuse joining up for the 2013 season. He said the ACC had no involvement in expediting their departures from the Big East a year early. Swofford also added the ACC will not help with the $7.5 million buyout each school must pay the Big East.

I leave you with some keen observations from Pitt beat writer Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a fellow Big East writer in ACC land for the next few days. Well, he won't be a Big East writer for long. Anyhow, scroll to the bottom. Methinks Zeise makes some great points.