Been told there has been a push for Duke to Pinstripe, could be a flip with BC to Sun; would not change other two Tier I slots— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) December 4, 2014
Like I said, those Tier I bowls will work together and make final call on Sunday— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) December 4, 2014
As a refresher, because this is not straight-forward, the ACC has 12 bowl-eligible teams, including Notre Dame, and bowl tie-ins with the Orange Bowl and nine other games. The conference also has a conditional tie-in with the Orlando-based Citrus Bowl, where, in years where the ACC faces the Big Ten in the Orange, the ACC assumes the Big Ten's spot in the Citrus Bowl. Right now, Michigan State is in line for the Orange Bowl, which opens up a slot in the Citrus for the ACC.
The ACC has decided to break its non-playoff bowl games into three tiers, if you will. The Citrus and Russell Athletic Bowls at the top, the so-called "Tier I" bowls in the middle, consisting of the Belk, Pinstripe, Sun and either the Music City or the Taxslayer nee Gator in the middle, and "Tier II"—the Military, Independence, Quick Lane and BITCOIN—at the bottom.
Since Florida State and Georgia Tech appear locked into a New Year's Six bowl game, that leaves three teams—Clemson (9-3), Louisville (9-3) and Duke (9-3)—eligible for the two Orlando-based bowls. It's assumed that Clemson will slot in for the Citrus Bowl (so long as the Big Ten makes the Orange Bowl...Roll Tide) and Louisville will head back to the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Programs that fell short of a winning record—6-6 Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech—are supposedly ineligible for the "Tier I" games, which leaves the program that the RAB doesn't select, Louisville (9-3) or Duke (9-3), Notre Dame (7-5), Boston College (7-5) and N.C. State (7-5) to roshambo for those four "Tier I" bowl games.
As the week has progressed, the word on the street was that Notre Dame would head to Nashville, BC to the Bronx, Duke to El Paso and N.C. State to Charlotte. Nice and neat. However, the News & Observer's Joe Giglio's* tweet above seems to suggest that there's some movement to swap out Duke for Boston College, sending the Blue Devils to New York and BC west to El Paso. I don't know. Sounds kinda lame.
When Giglio says that the other two Tier I slots would remain unchanged, he means Notre Dame to the Music City Bowl and N.C. State to the Belk.
There's a strong possibility that the ACC's opponent in the Sun Bowl will be Arizona State, which would likely preclude Notre Dame from heading west for a rematch against ASU.
Of course, nothing will be finalized until the final College Football Playoff rankings are revealed on Sunday, and this will probably take a few more twists and turns before the dust settles. Just don't go getting your heart set on the Pinstripe Bowl quite yet.
* Joe's done a bang-up job of making sense of this mess all week. Give him a follow @jwgiglo.