The ACC Bowl Picture After Week 11

Grant Halverson

The Tigers are doing all they can not to fall apart, but this time a patented Dabo dropoff might actually hurt the Pack's bowl prospects.

N. C. State will be in the very odd position of possibly improving its bowl position with a loss Saturday in Death Valley. A Wolfpack win means Dabo and Co. can forget about an at-large BCS bid to the Sugar Bowl and the Wolfpack can forget a sexy terrifying matchup with an SEC school in the Peach Bowl, as the Tigers would likely be the squad book-ending its season in Atlanta in this scenario. (Clemson, as you no doubt recall, beat Auburn in the second installment of the Chic-Fil-A Kickoff Classic, a day after State bedshat against UT.)

The defeatist in me would not be surprised to see the Tigers win Saturday but lose to The Ol' Ball Coach's Cocks, thus yielding that BCS at-large bid to Kerlina, further embarrassing the ACC against out-of-conference foes, and casting the Wolfpack down the pecking order to either the Slacks or Sun Bowl (which, for the last motherscratching time, is in TEXAS, not Arizona).

Despite my affinity for pleated khakis, I desperately hope to avoid a 97th consecutive matchup with a Big East opponent this bowl season. So, since rooting for a Pack loss is out of the question, howabout a State win over Clemson, a bashing of BC to close the campaign, and a unique opportunity to take on the other USC or Oregon State in the Sun Bowl? I could really get up for the Trojans or behind the Beavers.

Here's how the experts see it:

Bowl

College Football News

ESPN's Brad Edwards

ESPN's Mark Schlabach

Orange

Florida State vs. Rutgers

Florida State vs. Rutgers

Florida State vs. Rutgers

Sugar

Clemson vs. Alabama

Clemson vs. Georgia

Clemson vs. Georgia

Chic-Fil-A

N. C. State vs. Texas A&M

Georgia Tech vs. S. Carolina

N. C. State vs. S. Carolina

Russell Athletic

Miami vs. Louisville

Miami vs. Louisville

Miami vs. Louisville

Sun

Georgia Tech vs. Arizona

Virginia Tech vs. Oregon St.

Georgia Tech vs. USC

Belk

Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati

N. C. State vs. Cincinnati

Duke vs. Cincinnati

Music City

Duke vs. Missouri

Duke vs. Missouri

Virginia Tech vs. Vanderbilt

Independence

Ball State vs. LA-Lafayette

LA-Monroe vs. La. Tech

Wake Forest vs. Arizona St.

Military

Bowling Green vs. Utah St.

Bowling Green vs. W. KY

Utah vs. San Jose St.

As for the rest of the ACC, FSU, Clemson, and Duke are all assured of postseason play, but the remainder of the league has work to do. Only Mark Schlabach thinks Wake Forest can get one more win and achieve bowl eligibility. The Deacs travel to South Bend to face a Notre Dame squad fighting to stay in the hunt for a national title. After facing the #1 ranked Irish defense (according to the Football Outsiders' FEI metric), whatever is left of Tanner Price's carcass will then host Vanderbilt to close the season. Vanderbilt has 4 SEC wins this year (and very likely will get #5 this weekend at home against the Fighting Doolanders); Wake Forest has 3 ACC wins this year. Hmm. Also, the Commodores beat the Deacs by 34 a year ago. I would like some of what Mr. Schlabach is smoking.

Brad Edwards is buying Ramblin' Wreck futures, hedging that the Yellow Jackets will dump Duke to get to 6 wins and get a peach of an invite in return. Georgia Tech has righted the wreck of late, winning 3 of 4, but it better beat Duke at home, as a trip to Georgia looms to end the season. Those Blue Devils control their own destiny in the hunt for the ACC Coastal crown. Beat Georgia Tech and Miami to close the season and Cutcliffe and crew get to be FSU's sacrificial devil in the title game. Speaking of Miami, the Canes win the coastal by beating Duke to close the season, and they will need to either win that game or Saturday's tilt with South Florida in order to secure win #6.

And don't sleep on the Hoos. If Virginia continues its post-bye resurgence with a win over the smoldering landfill inferno (dumpster fire is just not strong enough to describe it) that is Larry Fedora's defense, the Hoos can get to a bowl by beating their hated Hokies in the season finale. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, has to handle BC and then the Hoos to get to 6 wins.

Got all that?

The Western Kentuckies of the world will definitely be ACC scoreboard watching over the coming weeks. At present, Georgia Tech, Miami, one of the Virginias, and Wake Forest can all potentially reach a bowl, bringing the ACC's total to 8 eligible teams. If all 4 squeak in and Clemson fails to win out and secure a BCS slot, suddenly some directional Louisiana schools will be without a postseason home. Eaux neaux!

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