Not Exactly Bowled Over: ACC Postseason Picture Becoming Clearer

Streeter Lecka

Hopes of a top tier bowl slipped away for the Wolfpack a long time ago, but just where they and their ACC brethren will fall is becoming more evident each week.

Here are the latest ACC tie-in bowl predictions from the guys who get paid the big bucks.

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. Florida

Oklahoma vs. Florida

Clemson vs. LSU

Chic-Fil-A

Ga. Tech vs. LSU

Clemson vs. Georgia

N. C. State vs. S. Carolina

Russell Athletic

N. C. State vs. Louisville

Ga. Tech vs. Louisville

*Miami vs. Louisville

Sun

Duke vs. Oregon St.

Va. Tech vs. USC

Va. Tech vs. USC

Belk

Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati

N. C. State vs. Cincinnati

Ga. Tech vs. Cincinnati

Music City

Vanderbilt vs. Toledo

*Miami vs. Ole Miss

Duke vs. Vanderbilt

Independence

La. Tech vs. LA-Lafayette

Duke vs. La. Tech

La. Tech vs. Baylor

Military

Bowling G. vs. San Jose St.

Bowling G. vs. W. KY

Bowling G. vs. San Jose St.

*oops

Apparently those big bucks led to some deadline pressure for the ESPN dudes, as they published their predictions prior to the announcement that the U would again punish itself by declining a bowl invitation. Having banned itself from two bowls, Miami has arguably punished itself more severely than the NCAA punished UNC. Good for you for doing the right thing, Blake James, and may the maddeningly inconsistent governing body of college athletics have mercy on your football program's soul.

Since the Canes were further down the pecking order in the bowl tier than N. C. State (at least according to the experts), its decision to stay home likely has no bearing on the Pack's middling bowl destination. However, Miami's decision does yield the coastal division title to Georgia Tech, which finished 5-3 in league play.

CFN downgraded N. C. State from the chicken bowl in its last projections to the Russell (Wilson is) Athletic Bowl. It does seem fitting that the Pack would be the choice for the bowl that celebrates the awesome of their former signal caller. Despite Mark Schlabach's misguided notion that it will be State going to Atlanta rather than Georgia Tech staying there, the reality is that the RWIAB is going to be the highest bowl in the tier that State could reach in what TSOTW has appropriately dubbed "the lost season." The Yellow Jackets are 5-3 in league play and the Wolfpack will finish, at best, 4-4. A loss to Boston College to close the season would mean that the chicken folk cannot pick State over Georgia Tech due to the one-win rule (which is applied to the conference record, not a team's overall record). Even if State does triumph over Spaz's Eagles to close the season, why would the chicken folk want an N. C. State team with a restless and disappointed fan base that has already demonstrated a reluctance to travel en masse to the ATL?

If Virginia Tech wins its rivalry game over Virginia to become bowl eligible, the chicken folk will have yet another option that would likely be a bigger draw than the Wolfpack. And it will all be a moot point if Clemson loses Saturday in its rivalry game against Ye Olde Ball Coach. If that is the case, Clemson will have to be just peachy with the Peach Bowl. The chicken folk won't have a choice in the matter due to the one-win rule, but one suspects that having Clemson fall in their laps is exactly what they want. A win over USC-East does not guarantee a BCS at-large bid for the Tigers, though it makes it likely. Regardless, there will be somewhere between one and three teams the chicken folk would rather have than N. C. State.

So its sweatpants, sun, or slacks for the Pack, which means a 66.7% chance of facing off with yet another Big East opponent in the postseason. If that's the case, Omega's bowl party will likely be sparsely attended. The Pack's best chance at a bowl matchup that registers on our collective blood pressure cuffs comes if Clemson tames the Cocks and the Hokies handle the Hoos this weekend. Hopefully, despite our fond memories of Russell Wilson, the RWIAB will choose whichever Tech does not end up in the Peach Bowl after Clemson gets some Sugar, bumping the Pack to the time-honored Sun Bowl, which as you all know is played in lovely El Paso, Alaska. (If you're a first timer here, note that the author is fully aware that El Paso is really in Arizona. It's an inside joke). The Sun Bowl would present* the unique opportunity for N. C. State to play USC-West or perhaps Oregon State. Trojans and Beavers, oh my!

The wishy-washy Schlabach had Wake Forest making it to the postseason last week, but leaves the Deacs out of his bowl projections after week 12. What, was he expecting them to beat Notre Dame? Wake will have to beat James Franklin, who shockingly has not publicly expressed interest in the yet-to-be-vacated N. C. State head coaching position, and his upstart Vandy Commodores to squeak into the bowl picture. Perhaps the Commodores will suffer a letdown after their final-nail-in-the-coffin drumming of the now dearly departed Derek Doolander.

As noted above, Virginia Tech must win against Virginia to go bowling, while the Hoos and Maryland (losers of 5 straight) were both eliminated from postseason play with lopsided setbacks last week.

*as opposed to prevent

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