that the regular season is over for all but two ACC teams, for the first time we
can begin to paint an accurate picture of the ACC bowl situation. There are 7
bowl eligible teams in the ACC, and the pieces are starting to fall into place
now, as bowl bids are handed out and deals are struck to determine what teams
will go where.
UNC has already accepted a bid to the Continental Tire
Bowl while another ACC team, Clemson, has announced that it will not accept a
bowl invitation as a self-inflicted punishment for the fight that took place in
the annual game with South Carolina.
Let’s take a look at the current situation for each of
the ACC teams that are bowl bound.
Florida State (8-3, 6-2)
Destination: Gator Bowl vs. West Virginia
The Seminoles ended their season on a down note, losing at
home to the rival Florida Gators. However, the postseason prospectus for Florida
State looks solid at this point, as they are likely to play in the Gator Bowl in
Jacksonville, Florida on January 1st. Their opponent would be West Virginia,
whom the Gator Bowl officially invited on Monday afternoon. The Gator Bowl
carries a payout of $1.825 million.
Florida State still has a chance to take a share of the
ACC championship if Miami defeats Virginia Tech on Saturday, but they have no
chance to represent the league in the BCS, as Miami would be ranked much higher
in the BCS standings.
Georgia Tech (6-5, 4-4)
Destination: Champs Sports Bowl
After nearly upsetting archrival Georgia this past
Saturday, Georgia Tech finished the 2004 season a game above .500 and will make
a trip to another minor bowl game. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported
today that the Yellow Jackets are headed to Orlando for the Champs Sports Bowl,
formerly the Tangerine Bowl. Payout: $850,000.
The Champs Sports Bowl had previously released Georgia
Tech, UNC and Clemson from consideration for their bowl, but when Virginia
announced they wouldn't go to Orlando because the game date (Dec. 21st)
conflicts with their exam schedule, GT came back into consideration.
The likely opponent is Colorado, assuming the Buffaloes
lose the Big 12 championship game to Oklahoma this weekend.
Miami (8-2, 5-2)
Destination: BCS or Peach Bowl vs. Florida
Miami will host Virginia Tech on Saturday for the
opportunity to represent the ACC in the BCS for the first time. If the
Hurricanes beat the Hokies, there would be a 3-way tie for first place between
FSU, Miami and Tech. Miami would receive the BCS bid because they would have
beaten both FSU and Tech, plus they would be ranked higher in the BCS standings.
If Miami loses to Virginia Tech, they are headed for the
Peach Bowl to face Florida. At first thought, it would seem that Miami should
get the Gator Bowl and FSU the Peach. However, an FSU bid to the Peach Bowl
would create a rematch between the Seminoles and Florida that wouldn’t draw
the same type of ratings as a matchup between Miami and Florida.
The Peach Bowl pays $2.2 million.
North Carolina (6-5, 5-3)
Destination: Continental Tire Bowl
In an outcome nobody this side of Chapel Hill saw coming,
John Bunting guided his alma mater to a winning record and a bowl bid, despite
playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Besides a tough ACC
schedule, the Tar Heels had to play Louisville and Utah as out of conference
North Carolina will play in the Continental Tire Bowl,
which pays $750,000. Their opponent is likely to be Boston College, who tied for
first place in the Big East.
Virginia (8-3, 5-3)
Destination: Independence Bowl
The Cavaliers have run into a bit of trouble with their
postseason fate. Likely headed to the Champs Sports Bowl after they lost to
Virginia Tech this past weekend, the school announced that it would not accept a
bid to the bowl in Orlando because it conflicted with their exam schedule. For a
while it appeared that the Hoos were Boise bound.
However, on Monday the MPC Computers Bowl announced that
they would release Virginia if one of three Big East Schools-Syracuse, Boston
College or UConn-would agree to play in Boise. This would open the door for
Virginia to receive a bid to the Independence Bowl against a Big 12 opponent,
probably Oklahoma State. That situation would be much more favorable to
Virginia, as the Independence Bowl garners more national attention and is closer
to home for Virginia fans.
Virginia Tech (9-2, 6-1)
Destination: BCS or Peach Bowl vs. Florida
No matter what happens in the Orange Bowl this Saturday,
it has been a great season for Virginia Tech. Picked to finish in the middle of
the pack in the ACC, and with some analysts saying their 11 year bowl streak was
on the line, the Hokies will finish no lower than a tie for first place and a
Peach Bowl bid against Florida. With a win on Saturday, the Hokies would put the
icing on the cake with a trip to the Sugar Bowl.
If the Hokies go to the Sugar Bowl, they will likely be
playing the winner of the SEC Championship Game, which is likely to be Auburn.
However, just imagine the mess that would ensue if a combination of USC,
Oklahoma or Auburn lost this Saturday, or even all three. The Hokies could find
themselves playing Auburn, Tennessee, Colorado, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma or (gasp!)
Pittsburgh in a BCS Bowl.
But first of all, the Hokies have got to beat Miami, which
won’t be easy.
Most of the scenarios listed here will be settled by the
end of the day Tuesday, with the exception of course of the Miami/VT scenario.
Watch the TSL message boards and tomorrow's Hokie News for the final breakdown
of where all the ACC teams will go bowling.