It doesn’t look like there will be much to sort out at the top of the ACC’s bowl pecking order this year.
The ACC champion will be playing in a New Year’s Six bowl, as usual, and next in line among the ACC’s tie-ins are the Tier 1 games, of which there are three: the Gator Bowl, the Cheez-It Bowl, and the Holiday Bowl.
Given how the final weekend played out, we know that Pitt, Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson will be filling those four slots in some combination. All four teams are two wins clear of every other bowl-eligible ACC squad and thus cannot be jumped in the order. So that’s the Tier 1 group.
As Joe Giglio outlined a few days ago, the most likely scenario for State given a win over UNC and Wake taking the division, is the Cheez-It Bowl. Giglio figures the loser of Pitt-Wake is headed to San Diego, while it seems unlikely that NC State would be handed yet another trip to Jacksonville. We can probably assume it’s down to either San Diego or Orlando for the Pack since State has been in the Gator in two of the last three years.
The opponent in the Cheez-It Bowl will be from the Big 12, with Iowa State or Kansas State appearing to be the two most likely candidates. That game is set for Dec. 29.