With the exception of two schools, ACC play is behind us. But that’s not a bad thing because nine of the teams (and Notre Dame) will be playing in a bowl game. So with that, let’s talk some bowl projections.
CFB Playoff – Clemson vs Iowa
The only team with a shot at the playoffs needs a win in the championship game to keep their spot. They struggled against their rival, South Carolina, but that won’t keep them out of the playoffs as long as they’re undefeated. They’ll likely be the 1 seed, so they’ll get whoever the playoff committee deems least deserving. For now, let’s say Iowa assuming they win a close one against Michigan State.
Peach Bowl – UNC vs Notre Dame
The loser of the ACC championship presumably gets this spot, but not always. Florida State could jump to this spot, but the recent polls show UNC over FSU, so that’s not likely. On the other side, the Peach bowl opponent could come from a number of conferences, but Notre Dame also has a tie-in. I’m sure the committee would love to have Notre Dame face off against another solid ACC team for the storyline itself.
Russel Athletic – Florida State vs TCU
This is too easy. A Florida team playing in Florida; they’re literally the only choice if they fall this far. A New Year’s Six selection isn’t out of the question, but you have to think the folks in Orlando would love to have FSU in this one. They get the third or fourth pick from the Big 12, so TCU seems like the logical choice here with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and maybe Baylor being ahead of them.
Music City – Louisville vs Georgia
The Cardinals are a natural fit for this bowl. They make sense geographically, and they’re in an SEC state so they fit in well with the bowl tie-in. They could face any number of SEC teams, but let’s pencil in Georgia for the sake of geography.
Belk – Virginia Tech vs Texas A&M
Many sources indicate that the folks in Charlotte want Virginia Tech really bad. It’ll be Beamer’s last game, and they know that means big revenue. Blacksburg isn’t too far away and Hokie fans will travel. This is another SEC tie-in that could go to any number of teams. If Georgia is in Nashville, I think Texas A&M makes sense here being another fanbase that would travel and be nationally recognized.
Sun – Miami vs Washington State
This tends to be the game no one wants, since it’s so outside of the ACC’s geographical footprint. The conference usually sends a nationally recognized program so that they can attract an audience even when their fanbase can’t make the trip. Miami fits the bill with the added bonus that they may already have a new coach. On the other side, the PAC-12 usually does the same in terms of selections, but I think Washington State is the pick here mostly because they’ll be the last 8-4 team chosen, and other teams like Arizona State can’t jump them.
Pinstripe – Pittsburgh vs Indiana
As much as the committee would love a Pitt/Penn State game, the Big 10 simply doesn’t have enough bowl eligible teams to make that happen. Pittsburgh is the the northern most ACC team that’s bowl eligible, so they’ll be the logical choice (unless Duke’s New York fanbase is taken into account). With an almost guaranteed playoff team along with possibly 1 or 2 New Year’s Six selections, the Big 10 certainly won’t be able to fill all their affiliations. Penn State will likely be pulled up to the Tier 1 bowls, leaving only Indiana in the tier 2 meaning they could go to any of those bowls. It’s entirely possible Pitt ends up playing a team from some other conference.
Military – NC State vs Navy
If Virginia Tech isn’t picked up by the Belk bowl, they obviously go here. With the assumption of them in Charlotte, NC State would be an easy pick for the Military. Raleigh isn’t too far from DC, and the fanbase travels well as a whole. Navy is all but guaranteed for this bowl unless a they get taken as a at-large by a bigger bowl. This would literally be a home game for Navy which would mean an almost sell-out crowd.
Independence/Quick Lane – Duke
Tack on the ACC to the list of conferences not able to fill all their bowl slots. The third tier of bowls includes these two, but there’s just one team left. If Notre Dame isn’t in a New Year’s Six, you could drop one of the second tier teams, but it’s tough to see them not in a NY 6 bowl. Duke is the last team left, and will probably fall to one of these last two because of how they finished.
Where will your team be playing in the post season? Post your projections below