ACC Bowls–Conference Matchups
As previously noted, this year’s ACC bowl slate is full, with twelve ACC teams playing in games, including Notre Dame and Florida State’s playoff appearance. But how do these games stack up in terms of conference matchups? Let’s take a closer look:
ACC v AAC (3): NC State v UCF, Houston v Pitt, and Cincinnati v Virginia Tech
In the NC State v UCF game, the #2 AAC team takes on the (at best) #6 ACC team. In the Cincy v Virginia Tech game, the #3 AAC team takes on the (at best) #8 ACC team. Similarly, in the Houston v Pitt game, the #5 AAC team takes on the (at best) #8 ACC team. The AAC’s bowl slate puts its higher rankings teams against lower ranking ACC teams. Certainly by record, anyway. This is a big chance for the AAC to show it is a worthy #6 conference. Not much to lose for the AAC really.
ACC v Big Ten (2): Rutgers v North Carolina & Boston College v Penn State
Only five ACC teams had better records than Boston College. In contrast, eight Big 10 teams had better records than Penn State. On the other hand, five Big 10 teams had better records that Rutgers, while seven ACC schools had better records than North Carolina. If either conference can split, some bragging rights on the line. But not THAT much at stake for the ACC here.
ACC v Big XII (1): Oklahoma v Clemson
Oklahoma disappointed its way to an 8-4 season, while Clemson fans were not too enthused with Clemson’s 9-3 season. However, this is a very even matchup between two schools struggling with expectations that were not met.
ACC v Pac 12 (2): Oregon v Florida State; Duke v Arizona State
If you need analysis of Oregon v Florida State, you’ve been living under a rock. There is more than just bragging rights on the line in this one–a trip to the Championship game awaits the winner. Duke and Arizona State were each 9-3, but the latter played a MUCH tougher schedule and deserves to be ranked ahead of the Blue Devils. The ACC gets pride points with a win in either game, obviously.
ACC v SEC (4): Notre Dame v LSU, Mississippi State v Georgia Tech, Georgia v Louisville; and Miami v South Carolina.
Georgia and Louisville each finished 9-3, with an interesting mix of acceptance and disappointment. Should be a very good game. Likewise, Mississippi State may be the #2 team in the SEC, matching up well with the #2 team in the ACC–Georgia Tech. Miami and USC struggled to 6-6 records, while Notre Dame and LSU were 7-5 and 8-4 each. This slate will give the SEC the opportunity to rebound from the season-ending ACC sweep of rivalry games. But if the ACC can hold its own, it gives more power to the idea that the gap between the two conferences is not as large (if it exists at all).
What do you think? Which conference matchups are you keeping the keenest eye on… SEC (as expected) or something else?