HOT SPRINGS, Va. - The Atlantic Coast Conference concluded its three-day Football Kickoff media gathering at The Homestead resort yesterday by unveiling the league's new instant replay policy that begins this season and announcing new bowl affiliations that start in 2006.
ACC commissioner John Swofford admitted that he initially resisted using instant replay but saw how effectively it worked in the Big Ten last season. The ACC is one of 10 leagues that will use instant replay this season.
"In college football, we owe the Big Ten Conference a debt of gratitude," Swofford said. "They stepped out to find a system that worked."
The ACC's system will mirror the one used by the Big Ten, but Swofford is hopeful that the $450,000 his league invested in state-of-the-art technology will give quicker results. While decisions in the Big Ten sometimes took more than two minutes, the ACC hopes to accomplish the same thing in 90 seconds or less.
While there are still glitches to be worked out, such as the one that occurred during a demonstration yesterday when the computer being used crashed, ACC officials are confident that its new system will work smoothly, even if it means going to a backup TiVo on occasion.
"What we all want is to get that critical call right," Swofford said.
Said Tommy Hunt, the league's director of officials: "Replay is like a new car. You love the way it looks and smells, but until you drive it you don't know how it's going to work."
Unlike the NFL, college coaches can't challenge calls. A replay official will be in a locked press box-level booth watching the game and monitoring the television camera angles available for each play.
If the replay official finds that a call has been made incorrectly, he will notify the field officials and the call will be changed.
Among the calls that are considered reviewable are those governed by the sideline, goal line and end line; also, seven different types of passing plays and "other detectable" infractions such as the number of players on the field, clock adjustments, forward progress with respect to first down and fourth-down fumble plays.
Plays that will not be reviewed by the replay official are calls for holding, offside, pass interference, personal fouls, illegal blocks, illegal formations, face-mask violations, taunting or excessive celebrations, false starts, roughing the passer or kicker, and fighting.
In games against teams from conferences not using instant replay, such as the Mountain West, the ACC team will leave it up to its opponent to decide whether replays will be used. Swofford said that the use of replays during bowl games has yet to be determined, but he expects replays implemented during Bowl Championship Series games.
Swofford said his biggest concern about using instant replay was the extra time it would take to finish games, but those fears were allayed in watching the Big Ten last season.
"It was not intrusive," he Swofford. "While it extended games slightly, it was only slight."
While the instant replay will go into effect this season, Swofford announced that new bowl affiliations will begin in 2006. Tie-ins with the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco and the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., will bring to eight the number of spots the 12-team league will secure.
Previous tie-ins with the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla., the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise, Idaho, and the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., also were extended through the 2009 season.
"In most years that will give us a chance to protect our bowl-eligible teams," Swofford said.
ACC instant replay
How it works: Coaches do not challenge calls. An official will monitor TV angles and notify officials on the field when it is necessary to overrule a call.
What is reviewable: Calls governed by the sideline, goal line and end line. Several penalties can also be reviewed.
Opponents: Teams from conferences not using instant replay will decide whether replays will be used.