With 3 weeks remaining in the regular season, the ACC bowl picture is starting to take shape. Six teams have already secured their positions in post season (Florida State, Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech, Duke, and Georgia Tech).
Unfortunately for some, their hopes of post season play are gone (Virginia), while North Carolina St. and Wake Forest are not eliminated but have uphill challenges to get to eligibility.
For the rest of the conference however, there is still a lot of promise. In fact, depending on how things shake out down the stretch, the ACC could potentially send 11 teams Bowl Games.
So…how does the ACC get to 11 teams?
Currently, there are four teams that are within one-game of getting bowl eligibility:
- Boston College
All have five wins, with Syracuse playing against BC and Pitt, and BC against MD. So at least 2 teams are guaranteed to get to 6 wins.
Lastly UNC has 4 wins, with a manageable schedule of Pitt, Old Dominion, and Duke remaining.
If UNC beats Pitt and Old Dominion, they become bowl eligible.
If Pitt beats Syracuse and loses to Miami and UNC, they become bowl eligible.
If Syracuse loses to Florida State and Pitt, but beats BC they become bowl eligible.
If Boston College loses to Syracuse but beats NC State or Maryland, they become bowl eligible.
If Maryland loses to Boston College, but beats NC State, they become bowl eligible.
NC State currently has 3 wins with 3 remaining games against BC, East Carolina, and Maryland so they could be spoilers to Maryland. (Considering that Maryland is leaving for the B1G, perhaps all ACC fans should hope that the Wolfpack wins out, and that Boston College beats Maryland.)
Wake The Forest needs to win-out against Duke and Vandy. Not impossible, but not very likely.
Never-the-less, getting 11 bowl eligible teams for the ACC would be a major boon for the conference, but may also result in lot of heartache or havoc within the conference if bowl eligible teams wind up on the outside-looking-in.
In order to get 11 teams in bowls, the ACC will need to have 2 BCS teams and take bowl slots from other conferences.
Best case scenario, the bowl situation could look something like this:
Vizio BCS National Championship Game: Florida State
Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Miami
Russell Athletic Bowl: Georgia Tech
Hyundai Sun Bowl: University of North Carolina
Belk Bowl: Duke
Franklin American Music City Bowl: Virginia Tech
AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Pitt
Military Bowl: Boston College
Beef O’ Brady’s*: Syracuse University
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl**: Maryland
Poinsetta Bowl***: Notre Dame
* The American Conference will be hard-pressed to get 8 bowl eligible teams and barring some other conference arrangement that needed to be fulfilled, would probably love to have Syracuse play in front of the Florida snowbirds and the Quest for Beef will finally be complete.
** BYU is bowl eligible and will therefore play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, so Maryland could (ironically) fill a B1G bowl slot since they may not have 8 eligible teams this year.
*** Notre Dame will be eligible for ACC bowl games starting in 2014, so the ACC is safe from losing any bowl slots to the Irish this year. Army is already eliminated from Bowl contention, so sliding in Notre Dame against MWC#2 makes sense.
Of course, there is still a lot of football left to be played and anything can happen. But if the above scenario, or something comparable, plays out, then it would go a long way to silencing critics of the ACC to have 80% of the conference in the post season, including two BCS teams.