ACC Bowl Projections

Scott Cunningham

With the regular season complete, it's time to start projecting where we'll go Bowling.

Bowl-Eligible Teams

The ACC has a record 11 teams eligible for Bowls this year. They're as follows, ordered by overall record and then conference record:

Florida State Seminoles (12-0, 8-0)
Clemson Tigers (10-2, 7-1)
Duke Blue Devils (10-2, 6-2)
Miami Hurricanes (9-3, 5-3)
Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4, 5-3)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5, 5-3)
Boston College Eagles (7-5, 4-4)
Maryland Terrapins (7-5, 3-5)
North Carolina Tar Heels (6-6, 4-4)
Syracuse Orange (6-6, 4-4)
Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6, 3-5)

FTRS Projections

Date Bowl & Location Matchup ACC Team Opponent
1/6/2014 BCS National Championship Game (Pasadena, CA) BCS #1 vs BCS #2 Florida State Ohio State
1/3/2014 Orange Bowl (Miami, FL) ACC #1 vs At-Large #1 Clemson Alabama
12/31/2013 Chik-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta, GA) ACC #2 vs SEC #5 Miami Texas A&M
12/28/2013 Russell Athletic (Orlando, FL) ACC #3 vs AAC #2 Virginia Tech Cincinnati
12/31/2013 Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX) ACC #4 vs Pac-12 #4 Duke UCLA
12/28/2013 Belk Bowl (Charlotte, NC) ACC #5 vs AAC #3 North Carolina Houston
12/30/2013 Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) ACC #6 vs SEC #7 Georgia Tech Vanderbilt
12/31/2013 Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA) ACC #7 vs SEC #10 Boston College Mississippi State
12/27/2013 Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD) ACC #8 vs C-USA #5 Maryland North Texas

The above projections neglect Pittsburgh and Syracuse, although they will still likely make it into Bowl games, taking the place of conferences without enough Bowl-eligible teams to fulfill their commitments.

The Reasoning

Florida State -- The obvious thing here is that if the Seminoles beat Duke in Charlotte on Saturday, they'll be headed to the West coast to play in the BCS MNC game. I say they'll play OSU on the assumption that the Buckeyes beat Michigan State -- and if they don't, it'll be Auburn playing in Pasadena.

Clemson -- Still BCS-eligible, the Orange Bowl will select the ACC's second-best team, and will have the first At-Large selection to match them against. The obvious choice is Alabama.

Miami -- It's hard to argue they're the ACC's third-best team (after Clemson, it becomes something of a 5-team crapshoot), but it's also hard to argue that they wouldn't be the ACC's third-best draw crowd-wise. They'll take on the fifth-choice team from the SEC, which is either Texas A&M or georgia. My guess is that Johnny Football and his squad are a better matchup than the crippled bulldogs.

Virginia Tech -- Another notoriously well-traveling team, and one who is viewed as more competitive than Duke, regardless of records or head-to-head matchups. They'll take on the AAC's #2 Cincinnati, who is really the third selection behind UCF (who will be a BCS at-large team) and Louisville.

Duke -- The ACC runner-up couldn't really fall farther than this, perhaps even by rule of the contracts. My guess is that Duke plays UCLA here, which will only be undone if Oregon is picked as an at-large team (which is actually very possible).

North Carolina -- If it were any other Bowl, I'd be taking Georgia Tech as the ACC's #5 team. However, this one's in Charlotte, where they'll take the only other Bowl-eligible North Carolina-based team. They'll take the AAC's #3 team, which I'm guessing is Houston.

Georgia Tech -- Tech falls to the ACC #6 slot with North Carolina jumping up, and gets slotted in the Music City Bowl (which I'm not sure any of us are unhappy about). I think they take on Vanderbilt, unless the SEC gets three teams in BCS games, in which case it'll be Ole Miss.

Boston College -- One of the surprise teams in the ACC this year, the Eagles take slot number 7, if only because between them and Maryland, BC won't be defecting to another conference after this year. Could go either way though. They'll take on the last bowl-eligible SEC team, Mississippi State.

Maryland -- Winners of 3 ACC games...somehow...the Terrapins get the last of the ACC's bowl tie-ins. They take on the #5 Conference USA team, which is either North Texas or UTSA. (Pick your poison, bowl reps!)

Pittsburgh -- My guess is that the Panthers are the ACC's #10 choice. I could see them in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium (the Big XII doesn't have enough Bowl-eligible teams to fill the slot), though the alternate there is Notre Dame. The other slot there could be the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, where the B1G will be unable to to fill their slot.

Syracuse -- Another Bowl that will likely be looking to fill a slot is the Beef O' Brady's Bowl, as the AAC will not fill its slot after SMU loses to UCF this weekend. (That's right, I'm calling my shot now.) Syracuse could find themselves there, or in the Poinsettia Bowl, where a 3-win Army team will not fulfill its obligations.

How do you feel about the potential of the Music City Bowl, Tech fans? Who do you see us playing against? Do the rest of these projections make sense to you?

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