Though we are well over 50 days from the official start of college football season and further yet from the beginning of 2016's postseason, it's just never too early to begin thinking about bowl projections. This most recent set of totally responsible and unquestionably accurate predictions, produced by SB Nation kingpin and KSU alumnus Jason Kirk, has Tech headed to the
Beef O'Brady Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl to face off with the Bulls of USF. If you're going to go 6-6 and make this bowl, you might as well just throw that last game to make it 5-7 and save yourself the pain of playing on the artificially-made (but naturally hideous!) surface at Tropicana Field. In fact, the playing surface was so bad last year that it spawned an entire Twitter discussion over what exactly it looked like. Pond scum? Shrek-flavored Twinkies? Spray on hair? Yes, all of those things and more. The bottom line is to just stay away.
This coming football season could be the first time in the brief history of the current four-team playoff style that we see a single conference send two representatives to the final four, and the ACC is in pretty good position to do just that. Though Tech's home conference is not necessarily the most likely to comprise half of the playoff, the presence of three elite and semi-elite teams in the Atlantic (Clemson, Florida State, and potentially Louisville) means that a school could feasibly go 13-0 while another goes 11-1. I personally don't see FSU as a title contender in 2016, but Jimbo Fisher has shown people up plenty of times with teams that consistently overshoot the already quite lofty expectations in Tallahassee. If the 'Noles can manage to get their field goals off and go 11-1, I think Clemson can easily repeat its 13-0 showing from a season ago. It's unlikely, but it's fun to consider nonetheless.
Speaking of Florida State and Clemson, both schools will look to bolster their respective postseason resumes by playing high-quality competition from the SEC during week one: the Seminoles will face off with Ole Miss while the Tigers take on Auburn. What makes the opening weekend even more compelling for ACC viewers is North Carolina's big kickoff game versus UGA, a third opportunity for the conference to make a statement against three top-tier teams from the ACC. The article above is actually part of a very interesting three-part series from ESPN wherein the staff writers each make their arguments for which marquee ACC/SEC matchup is the most important for the conference as a whole. In my humble opinion, the biggest win would be a Tar Heel victory over Georgia. It's a game that features a historically middling ACC team in UNC versus a consistently top-ranked SEC foe, setting the perfect scene for a statement. Florida State/Ole Miss would come in second for me, followed by Clemson/Auburn.
Which of the ACC's three week one games versus the SEC is the most important? Could they all have equal importance, or lack thereof?