Somehow the final month of the regular season has already arrived. A quick recap of what’s going on at the top; Alabama is still really good, “Famous Jameis” has provided the perfect sequal to “Johnny Football”, and the quest for the top two spots in the BCS is still as unpredictable as ever. The only good thing about the eminent conclusion of the college football season is that it means bowl season is right around the corner. In the Atlantic Coast Conference, six teams have already done enough to qualify for post season play, but where they ultimately end up will be determined over the next several weeks. Here’s a look at how each team’s season is playing out and the remaining games on their schedule that will dictate each team’s bowl season fate.
No. 2 Florida State (8-0, 6-0)
The Seminoles are 8-0 and currently sit at No. 2 in the latest BCS Standings. Florida State have dismantled their top two conference foes (Clemson and Miami) by a combined score of 92-28 and are everyone’s favorite to claim their second consecutive ACC Championship in Charlotte at season’s end. They will officially book their ticket to the ACC Championship game this weekend should they take care of business against Wake Forest on the road. FSU nation is partying like it’s 1999 with hopes of an undefeated season and trip to Pasadena are on everyone’s holiday wish list in Tallahassee.
No. 7 Clemson (8-1, 6-1)
With Florida State having all but wrapped up the Atlantic Division of the ACC, remaining games against Georgia Tech and South Carolina will likely go a long way in determining if Clemson can secure a BCS Bowl appearance as an at-large selection. Should the Tigers slip up to either team, it will all but guarantee that Dabo Swinney’s group will slide to one of the other ACC tie-in bowl games. Clemson will get Georgia Tech next Thursday night in Death Valley, before looking to end a four year losing streak to the No.12 Gamecocks in Columbia in their season finale on November 30th.
No. 11 Miami (7-1, 3-1)
Despite their 41-14 loss to FSU this past weekend, as well as the news that star running back Duke Johnson is lost for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle; all is not lost in Coral Gables. The Hurricanes have already secured bowl eligibility and still sit atop the ACC Coastal Division standings with the inside track to the ACC Championship and a BCS Bowl appearance all still in play. Miami will need to bounce back in a hurry this weekend when they host Virginia Tech in a crucial divisional contest that will go a long way in determining who will be representing the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship come December.
Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2)
Two weeks ago, the Hokies were 6-1 and were ranked as high as No. 14 in the AP Poll. However they are now in the midst of a two game losing streak following dropped games against Duke and Boston College. The offense has been anemic in the two losses, culminating in eight turnovers over the course of the last two weeks. Despite the offenses poor play, the Hokies defense is still one of the elite units in all of college football and means the Hokies should be in contention in all three (@Miami, Maryland, @Virginia) of their remaining games. How Virginia Tech fares in their road game against Miami this weekend will provide a better outlook on what type of bowl games the Hokies will be in contention for.
Duke (6-2, 2-2)
It’s a great time to be a Duke Blue Devil, and not just because of the arrival of basketball season. The Duke football program is bowl eligible for consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. Head Coach David Cutcliffe has done a remarkable job during his tenure in Durham and the Blue Devils 13-10 win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg two weekends ago was the programs first road win against a ranked opponent since 1971. Duke will look to stake their claim as North Carolina’s best while also improving their bowl outlook when they finish the season with key in-state games against NC State, Wake Forest, and North Carolina in the month of November.
Georgia Tech (6-3, 5-2)
Paul Johnson has the Yellow Jackets program bowl eligible for the 17th consecutive season following three straight wins against ACC opponents. In their last three outings against Syracuse, Virginia, and Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech’s vaunted spread option rushing attack averaged 355 yards rushing per contest. Georgia Tech will try and improve their bowl appeal by playing spoiler when they travel to Death Valley to take on Clemson next Thursday in their last conference game of the campaign.