As part of a 12-year agreement announced on Thursday by the ACC and the Orange Bowl Committee, Notre Dame will be part of the pool of teams eligible to play the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl. But the Irish can only make two appearances in that 12-year span.
The team picked will be the highest-ranked team eligible from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame. That said, the selection will be restricted by the "appearance standards" agreed upon by everyone involved: The Big Ten and SEC are guaranteed at least three appearances, while Notre Dame gets a maximum of two. On years in which the Irish don't qualify for the four-team playoff or the Orange Bowl, they will be part of the ACC's regular bowl tie-ins as part of their agreement to play five ACC teams every year beginning in 2014.
The Orange Bowl will be played in prime time on either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day each year, and will be broadcast by ESPN.
"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," said Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick in a statement. "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."