You want the good news or the bad news first, commish?
Okay, we’ll start good, John, if Clemson and FSU win out, back-to-back two-bid BCS bowl seasons is very likely (which is outlined below).
The bad? That, combined with ACC struggles and UNC’s ineligibility (and don’t get me started on if Miami self-imposes another bowl-ban), would leave three conference bowls without a team. Yeah.
On to the ACC bowl projections…
Preseason Bowl Projections
Orange: Florida State
Chick-Fil-A: Virginia Tech
Russell Athletic (Orlando): Clemson
Sun Bowl: NC State
Belk: Georgia Tech
Music City: Virginia
REVISED BOWL PROJECTIONS AFTER TWO MONTHS
Orange – Florida State
The Why: NC State knocked them out of what would’ve been an interesting discussion in the top-5-or-6 for the BCS Championship (which we projected last month before forgetting ‘Noles kryptonite is stored in Raliegh still), but FSU’s last ACC test keeping them from a January trip back to Miami comes Thursday at Virginia Tech. It will be a raucous atmosphere, and cold, but Frank Beamer has to find a Hokies team that hasn’t shown up yet this season to knock off a rolling ‘Noles team.
Sugar – Clemson
The Why: Clemson takes care of business and they are headed for N’awlins. The top-four of Alabama, K-State, Oregon and Notre Dame are all BCS-bound one way or another with strong finishes – auto bids will go to teams from the Big East and Big Ten, and the SEC and the PAC-12 and/or Big 12 will likely get another at-large. That could take up all 10 of the BCS bowl spots, but I think there will be one or two left. Oklahoma, ahead of Clemson by one spot in the BCS, and Texas, another enticing pick, both face daunting fights to the finish, which will trip up each at least once in my projections. Oregon State, two spots ahead of the Tigers in the BCS, plays at Stanford (No. 14) and host Oregon (no. 3) – a loss likely in there. Stanford faces three ranked teams to the finish. Clemson, with one ranked team on the schedule and at home, has by far the easiest schedule in the at-large mix, in addition to a fun offense to watch and a fanbase that travels.
Chick-Fil-A – Miami
The Why: Apparently, Miami is considering another self-imposed bowl ban, which I think is especially ridiculous if they do it pre-ACC title game and are subsequently deemed ineligible for Charlotte. With a lacking group behind Clemson and FSU, they will be attractive for the next best past the BCS, the Chick-Fil-A.
Russell Athletic (Orlando) – Virginia Tech
The Why: The Hokies, at a projected 6-6, would have wins in two of their final three games and still have the Virginia Tech name on the jersey, with some playmakers on offense. Also, I’m not sure how much excitement will be around another trip to Orlando for State fans, another candidate for this spot.
Sun Bowl – Duke
The Why: If Stanford falls to the Sun, the rematch wouldn’t be in play and they drop to the Belk (better for the fans that want to go), but let’s say Stanford goes elsewhere – El Paso isn’t going to get a big draw from Duke or NC State, why not pick the new team on the scene with a fun offense?
Belk – NC State
The Why: And here you are, Wolfpack. A fifth season in six with at least five losses, and shut out of the ACC’s top-two bowls every season (made No. 3 Champs in 2010) under Tom O’Brien.
Music City – N/A
Independence – N/A
Military – N/A
ONE WIN SHORT
- Wake Forest (Winning Saturday at a reeling NC State may be their best shot at getting six right away with a trip to Notre Dame and hosting Vandy to go…the Commodores beat the Deacs 41-7 in Winston-Salem last season)
- Georgia Tech (Have to go on the road to UNC and win this week and beat Duke at home next week)