Notre Dame's relationship with the Orange Bowl came into focus Thursday, with the ACC and Orange Bowl Committee revealing the Irish will earn no more than two bids to the Miami Gardens-based bowl over a 12-year span beginning in 2014, when a four-team playoff will replace the current BCS system.
The ACC will face either Notre Dame, a Big 10 team or an SEC team annually in the Orange Bowl, with the Big 10 and SEC guaranteed three berths for the game. Notre Dame is not guaranteed its maximum two bids.
Per the Orange Bowl's release, the selection process will weigh heavily on choosing the final team, but that may not always be the case if the bowl has to fulfill obligations to the Big 10 and SEC. Notre Dame is not guaranteed access to the Orange Bowl, but the tie-in to a premium bowl is crucial given the school's football independence despite its partial member status in the ACC.
If Notre Dame is not eligible or selected for the Orange Bowl, it will become part of the ACC's non-BCS bowl package and earn a bowl bid through that avenue.
Traditionally played on New Year's Day, the Orange Bowl could be played on New Year's Eve under the 12-year television rights deal agreed upon with ESPN.
"The Orange Bowl qualifies as one of the most prestigious events in college footballs postseason and Notre Dame has played a part in that history, three times playing number-one ranked teams in our five previous appearances, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said. "We are honored to partner with two of the premier conferences, the SEC and the Big Ten, to make certain the ACC will have a top-flight opponent on a regular basis."