North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner unleashes a pass against Virginia… (Steve Helber / Associated…)
The Atlantic Coast Conference has agreed to a 12-year deal with ESPN for the rights to televise the Orange Bowl, with the conference champion facing either Notre Dame or a team from the Big Ten or Southeastern Conference.
The deal announced Thursday begins with the 2014 season and runs through 2026. ESPN.com has previously reported that the network will pay about $55 million per year for the game.
Under the new deal, the Orange Bowl will be played either Dec. 31 or Jan. 1.
ESPN has similar 12-year deals for the rights to the Sugar Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC) and the Rose Bowl (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten). The champions of each conference will play unless those teams are selected for the four-team playoff that also starts in 2014. In that case, other highly ranked teams from the leagues will play in the game.
Bryn Renner threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter after a goal-line stand preserved North Carolina's lead and the Tar Heels (7-4, 4-3 ACC) ended Virginia's postseason hopes with a 37-13 victory at Charlottesville, Va. The Cavaliers (4-7, 2-5) had won two in a row after a six-game losing streak. ... Texas A&M freshman wide receiver Thomas Johnson has been found safe in Dallas after he disappeared from campus days ago. Johnson's mother, Linda Hanks, says A&M University police told her Thursday the 18-year-old is unharmed. Police said Wednesday that Johnson was last seen leaving his College Station residence about 5 p.m. Monday. Johnson has played in 10 games this season, with 30 catches for 339 yards and a touchdown.