Long story short, ND only gets two appearances MAX in the Orange Bowl in the next 12 years, with no guaranteed minimum. Apparently the ACC wants to reduce the amount of potential ND vs ACC rematches down the road.
What strikes me as odd though is that this seems to be a very “all or nothing” type of deal that Swarbrick has made. Basically, we aren’t shut out of other top-tier/old BCS bowls, but we will have no locked in guarantee like the other conferences. With the old BCS bowls now rotating as semi-final locations, and ND having no at-large guarantee like they do now, it seems rather odd that our relationship with the Orange Bowl is 2 appearances at best in 12 years.
It seems like a very un-Swarbrick-like move. This leads me to believe there are a few other possibilities:
1) We are putting together a deal with the Fiesta Bowl. With the Rose, Sugar, and Orange all getting locked in with conference tie-ins, they seem to be the logical player looking for a dance partner. ND would be a huge get.
2) With the Cotton Bowl getting shut out of the Champions Bowl deal (Sugar won that), there could be a huge push to try to make a splash to increase the prestige of the bowl game. We have some history with the Cotton Bowl and locking in ND into a contract would easily propel that bowl up a notch. That, and I believe Jerry Jones would fall in love with the possible ND money at his house.
3) Notre Dame is going to do a complete about-face in regards to access. It’s “playoffs or nothing” for the most part. Another bowl lets us in? Great. Otherwise, we only “deserve” the lesser ACC bids in the second tier of bowls and below. There’s some precedent for this too. Notre Dame self-banned themselves for bowls and just won without them, although the changing landscape eventually forced them back in. Out of all three options, this seems the least likely.
In the end I trust Jack on this. Any other possible options that I left out (besides conference membership because LOLNO)?