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New deal limits Notre Dame's Orange Bowl berths

Notre Dame will be allowed a maximum of two appearances in the Orange Bowl over a 12-year period starting in 2014, the Atlantic Coast Conference and Orange Bowl committee announced Thursday.

The Irish agreed to join the ACC in all sports except football and hockey on Sept. 12 with part of the deal between the university and the conference giving Notre Dame access to the Orange Bowl and other ACC-affiliated bowl games when the four-team college football playoffs begin in two years.

"The Orange Bowl qualifies as one of the most prestigious events in college football's postseason and Notre Dame has played a part in that history, three times playing No. 1-ranked teams in our five previous appearances," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a news release. "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."

The ACC champion will play an opponent from the Big Ten, Southeastern Conference or Notre Dame each year with the conference's opponent based on the highest-ranked team available from the conferences or Notre Dame.

A Big Ten and SEC team is guaranteed a spot in the Orange Bowl at least three times for the length of the deal, while there is no minimum appearance promised to Notre Dame. If the Irish do not reach the playoffs or qualify for the Orange Bowl, they will be part of the ACC's bowl lineup.

"We are pleased to have finalized our long-term partnership which brings tremendous exposure and value to the ACC and our member institutions," ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. "The Discover Orange Bowl has a rich history of prestige and featuring our teams against opponents from the Big Ten, SEC and potentially Notre Dame provides attractive matchups year in and year out."

The Orange Bowl will be televised by ESPN and played on either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, depending on the playoff games' schedule.

The Orange Bowl will be the host bowl for at least four semifinal games in the new playoff structure, and in the year's it is a semifinal game, the ACC champion will play in one of three host bowls that will be established by the BCS presidential oversight committee.

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