GREENSBORO, N.C. — GREENSBORO, N.C. - Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said yesterday the league is close to announcing the site of its first postseason championship football game, to be played after the 2005 season.
Swofford said that the announcement about the championship game could be made prior to the start of the 2004 season. Among the sites that have been mentioned prominently are Jacksonville and Orlando, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C.
The league is waiting for Boston College to join next season in order to meet the criteria for holding a championship game. Under current NCAA rules, a league must have two divisions with a total of at least 12 teams competing.
Swofford said the league 'is moving toward finding a home" site for the first four years of the contract.
Though the championship game is still more than a year away, excitement is building for the coming season.
The ACC will kick off its first year as an 11-team league with new-member Miami playing longtime rival and fellow perennial national championship contender Florida State at the Orange Bowl on Sept. 6. "It's an unbelievable way to start our season," said Swofford.
Swofford said the league is contracted to have a nationally televised Labor Day game through 2010, with Florida State and Miami in the spotlight again in 2005.
Virginia Tech, the other former Big East team that joins the ACC this season, will start in 2004 against defending national co-champion Southern California at Washington's FedEx Field on Aug. 28.
Tommy Hunt, the league's head of football officiating, said the ACC will join the other major conferences in using regular eight-man crews for its games rather than assigning officials individually to games.
Hunt also announced several rule changes, including a more stringent interpretation of excessive celebration and the announcing of jersey numbers of players committing infractions.