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The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: Boston College

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For Boston College, the over-under was set at 7.5 regular season wins.  Ultimately, B.C. started out by out-scoring its opponents 100-3, and held tight with Florida State until suffering a QB injury.  After beating Northern Illinois, the Eagles would lose out.  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for Boston College at 5.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016, courtesy of a great college football website:

9/3 Sat vs. *Georgia Tech
9/10 Sat vs. Massachusetts @ Foxboro, MA
9/17 Sat @ *Virginia Tech
9/24 Sat vs. Wagner
10/1 Sat vs. Buffalo
10/7 Fri vs. *Clemson
10/22 Sat vs. *Syracuse
10/29 Sat @ *North Carolina State
11/5 Sat vs. *Louisville
11/11 Fri @ *Florida State
11/19 Sat vs. Connecticut
11/26 Sat @ *Wake Forest

Very likely wins: UMass, Wagner, Buffalo, UConn (wow, weak OOC schedule this year for the Eagles)

Very likely losses: FSU, Clemson, @ Virginia Tech

Verdict: Unlike Syracuse, Boston College appears to be eschewing the over-scheduling curse.  Gone is Southern Cal–enter a Mac-tastic opponent in Buffalo, local foes UConn and UMass, and an FCS-tilt against Wagner.  This is a legitimate chance at 4 wins.  The conference slate it typically tough, with trips to Wake Forest and NC State making things a challenge.  But if B.C. can upset Georgia Tech week one at home, the Eagles will be well-positioned to go 2-6 in conference, yet find themselves a bowl bid even without a single upset.  This is what a rebuilding program MUST DO to regain relevance.  The Confidential sets the over-under at 5.5 wins.

What do you think?  Will BC go over or under 5.5 regular season wins?

The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: Miami

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For Miami, the over-under was set at 6.5 regular season wins.  Ultimately, Miami ended up with 8 regular season wins.  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for Miami at 8.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016, courtesy of a great college football website:

9/3 Sat vs. Florida A&M
9/10 Sat vs. Florida Atlantic
9/17 Sat @ Appalachian State
10/1 Sat @ *Georgia Tech
10/8 Sat vs. *Florida State
10/15 Sat vs. *North Carolina
10/20 Thu @ *Virginia Tech
10/29 Sat @ Notre Dame
11/5 Sat vs. *Pittsburgh
11/12 Sat @ *Virginia
11/19 Sat @ *North Carolina State
11/26 Sat vs. *Duke

Very likely wins: Florida Atlantic, @ App State

Very likely losses: Notre Dame, Florida State

Verdict: Miami had a good season last year relative to outsider expectations, but it was not enough to save Al Golden’s job.  Moreover, the team seemed to improve without him.  Enter the Mark Richt era.  Some new coaches immediately improve teams, others take a season to adjust.  Who knows with Miami?  It is difficult to see many “very likely wins,” as even a trip to Appalachian State can be dangerous.  The lighter conference foes on the schedule (Virginia, NC State, Georgia Tech) are all road games.  But there is not a game on the schedule that cannot be won–even FSU and Notre Dame–either.  This becomes a crap shoot.  Improvement is expected, but it might not yet result in more wins.  Or it might.  The Confidential goes with an over-under of 8.5 regular season wins.

What do you think?  Will Pitt go over or under 8.5 regular season wins?

The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: Pitt

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For Pitt, the over-under was set at 6.5 regular season wins.  Ultimately, Pitt ended up with 8 regular season wins.  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for Pitt at 7.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016:

  • 9/3/16: Villanova
  • 9/10/16: Penn State
  • 9/17/16: @ Oklahoma State
  • 9/24/16: @ North Carolina
  • 10/1/16: Marshall
  • 10/8/16: Georgia Tech
  • 10/15/16: @ Virginia
  • 10/27/16: Virginia Tech
  • 11/5/16: @ Miami
  • 11/12/16: @ Clemson
  • 11/19/16: Duke
  • 11/26/16: Syracuse

Very likely wins: Villanova, Marshall, Syracuse

Very likely losses: @ Oklahoma State, @ Clemson

Verdict: Pitt had a very good season last year, but the schedule is tougher in 2016.  Villanova will be a feisty FCS opponent (ask Syracuse), while Penn State returns to the schedule the following week creating a chance for a “look ahead” situation.  But you have to beat your FCS opponent and your non-P5 opponent (Marshall).  Meanwhile, Syracuse has not beaten Pitt in Pitt since… 2001… so that’s three wins.  Road trips to Oklahoma State and Clemson should be losses.  That leaves 7 middle-ground games.  Trips to Virginia, Miami,and North Carolina are far from certain losses, obviously.  Home games against Duke, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech are all winnable, obviously.  Would losses in any of them be shocking though?  Nope.  With a tough OOC, we’ll leave Pitt where it was last year–straddling the 7-8 win mark.

What do you think?  Will Pitt go over or under 7.5 regular season wins?

The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: Louisville

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For Louisville, the over-under was set at 9.5 regular season wins.  Ultimately, Louisville ended up with 7 regular season wins, with the losses to Houston and Pittsburgh being relative “surprises.”  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for Louisville at 7.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016:

  • 9/1/16: Charlotte
  • 9/9/16: @ Syracuse
  • 9/17/16: Florida State
  • 9/24/16: @ Marshall
  • 10/1/16: @ Clemson
  • 10/14/16: Duke
  • 10/22/16: NC State
  • 10/29/16: @ Virginia
  • 11/5/16: @ Boston College
  • 11/12/16: Wake Forest
  • 11/17/16: @ Houston
  • 11/26/16: Kentucky

Very likely wins: Charlotte, Wake Forest, Kentucky

Very likely losses: Florida State, @ Clemson

Verdict: With OOC trips to Marshall and Houston, Louisville has scheduled outside of the P5 conferences, but challenged itself significantly.  Throw in trips to Syracuse, Boston College, and Virginia, and three “very likely home wins” become three very challenging road conference games.  Duke and NC State will not be pushovers from the home slate either.  A sweep of all seven of those games is not impossible, but realistically not likely either.  In fact, it is certainly plausible for two or three of those games to be losses.  All in all, this is looking like a tough year for Louisville compared to the expectations of the fan base.  It is hard to envision wins over Florida State and Clemson.  Even assuming significant success beyond those two games, that does not give much cushion in an improving conference.  The over/under, therefore, is set at 7.5 wins.

What do you think?  Will Louisville go over or under 7.5 regular season wins?

Syracuse Dome Upgrades–Nearby Football Stadiums & Capacity

With Syracuse University pondering renovations to the Dome that may or may not involve a season of sports requiring relocation, it is interesting to consider the closest football venues and capacity.  As someone who attended a “home game” off-campus (Ithaca against Boston College) while the Dome was being constructed, it is certainly possible for CNYers to attend such games.  In any event, here are the capacities/distances of the nearby stadiums in New York:

  • Ralph Wilson Stadium–the Buffalo Bills’ stadium in Orchard Park seats approximately 72,000 (71,870)–2.5 hours from Syracuse;
  • Yankee Stadium–the New York Yankees’ baseball field in the Bronx converts to football and seats approximately 50,000–4.1 hours from Syracuse;
  • Mitchie Stadium–Army’s stadium at West Point seats 40,000–3.5 hours from Syracuse
  • UB Stadium–Buffalo’s stadium in Amherst, NY seats approximately 30,000 (29,031)–2.3 hours from Syracuse
  • Schoellkopf Field–Cornell’s stadium in Ithaca, NY seats approximately 25,000 (25,597)–1.1 hours from Syracuse

Given Syracuse’s attendance issues, it would not be ridiculous to think that Schoellkopf field would be appropriate for home games involving an FCS opponent and an OOC opponent from the MAC.

Mitchie Field is seldom discussed because it is farther away than the Buffalo area, but it is closer to New York City, without actually having to get into the city.  Playing Wake Forest or a lesser tier OOC school might be a good way to get exposure to Syracuse fans living in the corridor from Albany down.

There is no real reason to use UB’s stadium, other than just having no choice.  For an extra 4,000 seats, doubling the distance from CNY negates same.

The pro stadiums have a lot of intrigue relative to big-name opponents.  While some talk of Syracuse playing Pitt in Buffalo, that would essentially invite Panthers’ fans to attend.  It is unclear why such a Pitt-friendly venue would be chosen.  Better to play Pitt at Yankee Stadium and Boston College in Ralph Wilson stadium to allow Syracuse to have the maximum edge.  Unless the pro stadiums will charge less for fans in the stadium, providing a financial incentive, these “home games” could quickly become “road games.”

One other option, of course, is to do a traveling season that includes exposure outside of New York and hits recruiting areas.  If Jim Harbaugh can set up spring break practices in Florida, is there any reason why Syracuse could not play a “home game” in the Beltway to get some exposure there?  Or even in the Carolinas?  If New Jersey can be a site for a “home game” against Notre Dame, it is not much more of a leap to have a few home games through the ACC’s borders to get further exposure.  Syracuse versus Wake Forest in Jacksonville in front of 15,000 fans might have more value than having 18,000 people show up at a New York stadium.  Heck, given some attendance at Miami games, the Hurricanes would probably be jealous to see Syracuse-Wake Forest pull in 15,000 fans… ha ha ha.

The Confidential would do something like this for 2017 (which has a trip to LSU and a home game against CMU, as well as home games against Wake Forest, BC, Clemson, and Pitt):

  • FCS opponent–Schoellkopf Field
  • MAC opponent: Central Michigan–Schoellkopf Field
  • Wake Forest: Florida venue–Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, or Miami
  • BC: Schoellkopf Field (need to exorcise the demons of that last loss in Ithaca)
  • Clemson–Ralph Wilson Stadium
  • Pitt–Yankee Stadium

It probably makes sense to use the construction year to schedule a road OOC game with the home game to follow.  For example, a road game against Army or U.B. in 2017, with a home game to follow in some other year would allow another New York game.  Games against Temple (Pennsylvania), Ohio MAC schools (Ohio), Florida G5 schools (Florida), and other G5 schools could provide exposure elsewhere in exchange for a future home game in the newly renovated Dome.

In any event, there are lot of options.  What would be your ideal blend of six home games if the Dome was shut down for a year for renovations?

 

 

The Top 44 Football Players in Syracuse Football History

The legend of the number 44 and Syracuse is well-known to any fan that watches an ESPN game featuring Syracuse.  If you need more, see here.  In any event, with 44 such a crucial number for Orange fans, it only stands to reason that all lists involving Syracuse should be the “Top 44.”  And so it is.  Here are the top 44 Syracuse Orange football players–based on their college, rather than professional, accomplishments:

  1. Ernie Davis–the sole Heisman Trophy winner at Syracuse and the first African-American to win the award, as well as the second legendary #44.  Oh, and he was part of the 1959 National Championship team.
  2. Jim Brown–almost a #1 based on his dominance and status as the first legendary #44.
  3. Floyd Little–the third of the trio of #44 backs that dominated the 1950’s and 1960’s, Floyd Little cements his status by being a constant contributor to the program decades later.
  4. Don McPherson–of all the QBs in Syracuse history, McPherson was the one that went 11-0-1 and had Syracuse finish in the top 5.  That had not happened since the top 3 were on the field and has not happened since (1987 to present).
  5. Tim Green–this local phenom helped restore Syracuse by deciding to stay home and wear the Orange.  The Syracuse defense under Coach Dick MacPherson was stout and it began with Green and company.  45.5 sacks is still atop the Syracuse list.
  6. Donovan McNabb–two BCS bowl appearances and four years at starting QB have McNabb way up the list.  Next to McPherson, Syracuse accomplished much under McNabb, including some HUGE wins.
  7. Joe Morris–the Syracuse leaderboard still has Joe Morris at #1…. above all the legendary #44’s and others.
  8. Marvin Graves–2nd in all-time passing yardage and led Syracuse to consecutive 10-2 seasons.  A very, very good QB that gets overshadowed by McPherson and McNabb.
  9. Marvin Harrison–while Art Monk had a notable pro career rivaling Harrison and played in less pass-happy times, one cannot deny Harrison’s numbers atop of the Syracuse record charts.
  10. Dwight Freeney–while Green was tough, Freeney’s speed is unlike anything ever seen before or after.  He could dominate games and did.
  11. Walter Reyes
  12. Larry Czonka
  13. Art Monk
  14. Markus Paul
  15. Dan Conley
  16. Ted Gregory
  17. Ryan Nassib
  18. Donovin Darius
  19. Darryl Johnston
  20. Kevin Abrams
  21. Bill Hurley
  22. Jim Collins
  23. Anthony Smith
  24. Alec Lemon
  25. Tommy Myers
  26. Arthur Jones
  27. Chandler Jones
  28. Rob Moore
  29. Shelby Hill
  30. Qadry Ismail
  31. Quinton Spotwood
  32. Jim Ridlon
  33. Keith Bullock
  34. John Mackey
  35. Scott Schewedes
  36. David Bavaro
  37. Rob Drummond
  38. Kevin Mitchell
  39. Tony Romano
  40. Jim Ringo
  41. Terry Wooden
  42. Kevin Johnson
  43. Joe Alexander
  44. Vic Hanson

Obviously, there are more than one way to list 44 players…. so what do you think?  Did we miss anyone deserving–especially old and recent… seemed like a bias towards the early Carrier Dome era (1980-2000)?  Could have spent additional hours on this–making sure nobody was missed.  How about the rankings?   Is your top 10 different?

 

ACC Recruiting Recap

With another football letter of intent signing day passing by yesterday, the analysis begins.  The major outlets take their subjective weight given to players and look at how those players accumulated at schools.  If there was ever an example of “garbage-in, garbage-out,” it would be this task.  Nevertheless, throwing out all the subjectives, there is certainly some sort of correlation between “good recruiting classes” and results (except at Texas and Miami).  So here is what folks think of the 2016 football recruiting classes.

RIVALS

Here is the overall top ten listed at Rivals.  As you can see, Florida State and Clemson crack the top 25.

Rank School Total 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars Avg Points
1 24 5 10 9 3.83 2885
2 25 1 18 4 3.72 2816
3 24 2 15 7 3.79 2704
4 28 1 15 12 3.61 2603
5 22 3 10 6 3.59 2530
6 23 0 15 6 3.57 2515
7 24 2 10 12 3.58 2507
8 20 2 11 7 3.75 2429
9 21 2 11 6 3.62 2403
10 20 3 10 6 3.75 2387

As for all the ACC schools:

  • #2  Florida State-twitter seems to suggest a disappointment that this is not deemed the #1 class.  But the Seminoles would certainly prefer a national title over a recruiting rankings title.
  • #5 Clemson–in-state rival South Carolina was way down at #26.
  • #12 Notre Dame–between UCLA, Texas, and Florida makes sense.  Behind Mississippi does not.  And rival USC is a few spots up at #8, while Stanford is a few spots down at #18.
  • #22 Miami–Miami has never had trouble getting talent and this is a decent class for Mark Richt in just a few weeks.
  • #24 North Carolina–ahead of historical blue blood Nebraska, neighbor South Carolina, and current elite school Oregon.  Good things happening in Chapel Hill.
  • #30 Pittsburgh–Pitt has had good recruiting classes year after year–the benefit of being located in Pennsylvania, adjacted to Ohio, and next to both New Jersey and the D.C. Corridor.
  • #31 Duke–we are used to top classes in hoops, but the Blue Devils on-field success is translating into better football recruiting classes, including a class better than football stalwarts Wisconsin and Arkansas… and a top half class within the ACC.
  • #37 Louisville–a decent class, but Cards fans cannot like seeing Kentucky up at #28.  There is an SEC bias, to be sure, but who would have expected that?  Still, #3 in the Atlantic.
  • #43 NC State–squarely in the middle of the Atlantic at #4.  Ahead of Wake Forest, but behind Duke and UNC.  Ahead of Syracuse in the division, but behind Louisville.  Not good, not bad.
  • #49 Virginia Tech–as a ranking, this must be disappointing.  Houston, Northwestern, and Brigham Young should generally not out-recruit the Hokies.  Chalk it up to a new coach.
  • #57 Syracuse–being behind Washington State, Iowa State, and Indiana is ordinarily disappointing, but new coach Dino Babers worked some magic to get Syracuse above four other ACC schools in just a few weeks.
  • #62 Virginia–former coach Mike London was a good recruiter, and the coaching switch seemed to cost Virignia slightly.  Not much of a new coach bounce.  UCF, Temple, Vanderbilt, and Colorado State were among the schools to have better ranked classes.
  • #63 Wake Forest–hey, anytime the Demon Deacons avoid the basement, it is a good thing.
  • #68 Georgia Tech–having only 18 recruits hurts, but should Georgia Tech EVER be below Western Michigan in recruiting?  They do recruit for a system, though, and the system players usually suffer in the rankings.
  • #82 Boston College–sigh.  Only Kansas has a worse recruiting class among P5 schools.  Miami of Ohio has a better class.  But better than neighbors UConn and UMass.  And similar classes did not prevent BC from having a great defense.

What do you think?  Are you happy with your school’s class? Disappointed?  Dispute these RIVALS rankings?  Let us know.

2016 ACC Football: Games of the Week

The ACC released the football schedules for all schools earlier this week.  By now, fans have had their first thoughts on how positive and negative the specific schedule will be.  From an ACC fan perspective, the schedule analysis is broader–for example, what is the “must see” game of the week.  Here is the Confidential’s early prediction on what will be the games to watch each week:

  1. Week 1… with all due respect to Florida State and UNC, who are coming off great 2015 seasons, it was Clemson that carried the ACC in 2015 and the Tigers open Week 1 against Auburn.  If they can pull of that road win against a tough SEC foe, it will be a good omen.
  2. Week 2… with apologies to Virginia Tech and Syracuse/Louisville… Pitt hosting Penn State gets the nod.  These two Pennsylvania rivals have not faced each other often of late, but it will be ACC vs Big 10 in week 2.
  3. Week 3… no real contest here… if Louisville and Florida State are both 2-0 at this point, it will be all the more important to the Atlantic/ACC race.  And if either school has lost heading into this one, there could be desperation.
  4. Week 4… Duke vs. Notre Dame has historically been more interesting in basketball, but these are different times and the Blue Devils are quite competent.  They will give the Fighting Irish something to think about.
  5. Week 5…  a fair amount of good conference games, but the slight edge goes to Clemson-Louisville.  If Clemson is a top ranked team, the Cardinals will either be rolling or desperate.
  6. Week 6… Florida State traveling to Miami should be interesting.  Miami under a new coaching staff needs to start taking advantage of its talent.  An upset win over FSU would be a big momentum boost.
  7. Week 7… Virginia Tech and Syracuse used to play annually in the Big East.  While Frank Beamer coached all of those games for the Hokies, these two former rivals play as ACC foes in 2016, in the Dome, with Syracuse under a new coaching staff as well.
  8. Week 8… Speaking of new coaching staffs, Virginia has one as well.  In Week 8, rival North Carolina will come to Charlottesville.  Keep an eye on this one.
  9. Week 9… The biggest ACC game of the year in recent years has not been the conference championship game, but Clemson-FSU.  This year, Clemson will travel to Florida State.  Circle this one on your calendar for sure.
  10. Week 10… a difficult week to know which game will be the most important.  Will Clemson have looked past Syracuse in a post-FSU matchup?  Florida State has struggled at NC State recently.  Pitt-Miami is a Coastal clash, as is Georgia Tech-North Carolina.
  11. Week 11… with apologies to Duke-UNC, the Confidential ponders whether Pitt traveling to Clemson may feature the top teams in each division.
  12. Week 12… while many teams are slowing down to prepare for ACC/SEC rivalry games, a Northeast rivalry between BC and UConn will resume.  This game may feature less than 10 total points, but both schools detest each other.  Tune in.
  13. Week 13… of all the rivalry games, chances are that Florida State/Florida will be the best combination of high ranked teams and great teams.  South Carolina should struggle this year.

What do you think?  How do you rank the games of the week for each week?  Let us know.

Syracuse & Zack Mahoney

It is amazing that Syracuse fans are so quick to turn on Zack Mahoney and conclude that he is incapable of playing QB for Syracuse.  On what basis can any Syracuse fan make that statement?

Mahoney’s first game experience came against Central Michigan, where Mahoney ultimately led Syracuse to the overtime win in his first game action.  While offensive coordinator Tim Lester showed little confidence in him in regulation, overtime went well for the Orange–resulting in a victory.  In his next outing, all Mahoney did was overcome a terrible start to keep Syracuse competitive against then-#2 Louisiana State.  In his next outing, Mahoney kept Syracuse competitive against #1 Clemson.  While the passing was not good, Mahoney’s legs kept Syracuse close.

Between the LSU and Clemson games, Eric Dungey was given five games at QB for Syracuse.  Syracuse lost all five games–South Florida, Virginia, Pitt, Florida State, and Louisville.  All good opponents, but certainly not LSU or Clemson.

In the final two games, Mahoney and the Orange were defeated soundly by North Carolina State on the road, which ultimately was the end of the Scott Shafer era.  However, in the final game under Shafer, Mahoney led the Orange to the win.

The numbers are Mahoney on the season are not great.  Dungey completed 59.7% of his passes, while Mahoney only completed 46.2%.  However, Mahoney was 24 for 59 against LSU and Clemson, Syracuse’s two toughest opponents.  This certainly helped drag down Mahoney’s numbers.  Also, Mahoney did not play against Rhode Island or Wake Forest, and was only allowed to attempt 4 passes against Central Michigan (all 4 of which were completed).  Three of Dungey’s four best QB rating games were against Rhode Island, Wake Forest, and Central Michigan.  Dungey’s two worst games were at Florida State and Louisville.  Good opponents make QBs look worse than bad opponents.

None of this is to suggest that Mahoney deserves to start over Dungey.   Dungey certainly throws a better deep ball and has that certain intangible quality that you look at in a QB.  The mobility is a huge plus.  But the idea that Mahoney cannot be a 2nd or 3rd string QB on Syracuse moving forward is a bit absurd.  Not many QBs in Syracuse history have kept the Orange competitive against top 5 opponents–even in the Dome.  Mahoney did.  In his first year for Syracuse, without a ton of reps before the season due to his depth chart status.  Let’s not give up on the kid just yet.

 

ACC Bowl Projections

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

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