I never would have believed someone if they said after week 10 of the season, the ACC would have only three bowl eligible teams. I would have been even more shocked if they told me that Duke would be one of those teams. But as of now, the ACC has only three teams that are bowl eligible. That should improve — with the remaining schedule, I see at least six teams from the ACC ending up bowl eligible, with the possibility of as many as eight. In my opinion only seven will reach bowl eligibility.
Since the ACC is one of the “power” conferences, the winner of the conference championship game gets an automatic bid to the FedEx Orange Bowl in Miami, unless they finish as No. 1 or 2 and play for the BCS National Championship. Here are my predictions of which teams become bowl eligible, and where they’ll end up. My list goes in order of how I see teams finishing in the conference.
Florida State: I see Florida State entering the ACC Championship game at with a 10-2 or 11-1 record, depending on the outcome of their only remaining challenge — a home game against Florida on November 24th. If the Seminoles win the ACC Championship Game, they punch their ticket to South Beach, and an appearance in the FedEx Orange Bowl against another BCS team. If they are upset in the ACC Championship Game, I would put them in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
My Pick: Florida State in the Orange Bowl
Clemson: Having lost head-to-head to Florida State, the only way Clemson can make the ACC Championship Game is for Florida State to lose a Conference game and Clemson to win out. That being said, if Clemson can beat a badly bruised South Carolina team the last week of the season and finish with an 11-1 record, they would be a likely candidate for an at-large BCS bid.
My pick: Clemson in the Allstate Sugar Bowl
Miami: The Hurricanes have the potential to go to a number of bowl games, depending on how they finish the season. I think that the Hurricanes will win at least two of their last three games, and end up with a 7-5 record. The game against Duke the last week of the season may be for the Coastal Division title.
My pick: Miami in the Chick-fil-A Bowl
Duke: Duke has the potential to end the season at 5-3 in the conference, even after their loss to Clemson. The Blue Devils can lose all of their remaining games, and they are still bowl eligible and going to a bowl game for the first time in 17 years. If they can beat Miami the final game of the season, they could would be the Coastal Division Champions, and earn a bid to the ACC Championship Game.
My pick: Duke in the Hyundai Sun Bowl
North Carolina State: In order to make it to a bowl, the Wolfpack will need to win at least one more game. With Boston College on the schedule for the last week of the season, I can’t imagine them not pulling out at least one win.
My pick: North Carolina State in the Russell Athletic Bowl
Wake Forest: Wake will need to win one of the last three games in order to get to a bowl. I see Wake winning at least one more game and working their way into a bowl. The last game of the season vs. Vanderbilt may be a “win or go home” game for the Demon Deacons, but even if they get a bowl bid, it will be a game close to home.
My pick: Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl
Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech is in a position they haven’t been in for some time. Ten weeks into the season, the Hokies have to win two of their last three games, just to become bowl eligible. I do see the Hokies winning two more, putting them at 6-6, squeaking into bowl eligibility. Their match-up against Virginia the last week of the season could very well be a “win or go home” game.
My pick: Virginia Tech in the Advocare v100 Independence Bowl
- Virginia Tech: the end of a streak or the beginning of a turnaround? (bowlbound.wordpress.com)
- Taking aim at the Bowl Season (newsobserver.com)
- Parity hurting ACC’s hunt for bowl-worthy teams (newsobserver.com)
- 2012 bowl projections: Six ACC teams could be headed to postseason (boston.sbnation.com)
- ACC rule could affect Miami Hurricanes’ bowl status (miamiherald.com)