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ACC Wants Permanent Title Game Host

Web Producer: Lee Baber

Modified: 7/27/2004 1:43:37 PM Send this story to a friend

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The Atlantic Coast Conference is leaning toward finding a permanent home for the league's football championship game instead of moving it annually, commissioner John Swofford said Tuesday.

"The thing we want to make certain of is that it goes to a venue and city that will truly wrap its arms around it and make it something special," Swofford said during his annual football forum at the ACC Football Kickoff.

Swofford's comments came at the close of the three-day preseason event, which was the first for the league since adding Miami and Virginia Tech in last year's contentious expansion process.

Boston College will become the ACC's 12th member next year. That will give the league the number of teams required for the lucrative title game, which is projected to produce $6 million in extra revenue.

The extra game was one of the key components of Swofford's ambitious plan to make the league -- once known as a basketball conference -- the nation's best in football.

The ACC began reviewing proposals last month from seven cities -- Charlotte; Baltimore; Miami; Jacksonville, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington, D.C. -- to host the championship game.

Swofford said he expects the ACC to choose a site by early fall, giving the league and the site about a year to prepare.

He also said the conference possibly could give a two-year contract to the selected city, with the ACC holding a two-year option to extend the deal.

Swofford said the league was very pleased with the proposals, which he described as beyond expectations.

"It's almost a case of simply trying to figure out what is the best decision," he said. "I don't think we can make a bad decision."

Swofford also said the league would review its bowl game tie-ins when several of the contracts expire after next season. The ACC has six bids, including the Bowl Championship Series berth that goes to the league champion.

The league has not added any bowl games despite bringing in the Hurricanes and Hokies, two established football powers. That sets up an intense competition for postseason spots.

"I think we'll have some other opportunities that wouldn't have been there without expansion," Swofford said of finding new bowl affiliations. "I think that comes with the quality depth we'll have."

In addition, the league will use crews of officials for games this season after years of making assignments on an individual basis, said Tommy Hunt, the league's coordinator of football officials.

The league will have eight crews of seven officials each. Hunt said the plan would allow officials to get accustomed to working with a unit, which could improve consistency and performance, right down to the use of hand signals to communicate from different areas of the field.

Officials are not allowed to work games involving their alma mater, so a handful of officials would be used to fill in where needed, Hunt said.

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I thought Atlanta was under consideration. Did I hear wrong, or were they eliminated earlier in the process?

I too would love to see Jax get the game. It seems more central geographically, so maybe that will help.

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