Who's The Next BCS AQ Program To Make A BCS Bowl Game?

Yesterday, ESPN's Andrea Adelson asked Clemson coach Dabo Swinney what making the program's first BCS appearance means for the program.

"Well, just kind of gives you relevance as a program, just kind of solidifies that, hey, you're doing the right things," Swinney said. "You don't just luck up and get to a BCS bowl. It's hard to win a game. That's what a lot of people don't realize. It is really difficult to win a football game."

So, yeah, about that BCS bowl appearance ...

Despite the end result, hats off to the Clemson program on winning the ACC for the first time in 20 years and making the program's first ever BCS bowl appearance. At least Clemson can now say they've played in a BCS bowl game. That's certainly more than BC can say.

Over the past few years, Eagles fans have watched as peer programs have taken the next step and advanced to a BCS bowl game, an achievement that has alluded the program since the BCS bowl system's creation in 1998. Sure, the Eagles have major bowl games under their belt, but you can only trade on a 1940 Sugar Bowl victory over Tennessee for so long.

Perhaps things might have been different if the program had stayed in the Big East, who in recent years have marched out a string of uninspiring, non-West Virginia BCS bowl representatives in Cincinnati x2 and Connecticut. But to quote Coach Spaz, "it is what it is." BC is in a much better place both athletically and academically in the ACC, the one-off BCS bowl beatdown be damned.

Clemson's first appearance in a BCS bowl game ups the total number of BCS AQ conference programs (and Notre Dame) that have made participated in BCS bowls to 44. Just 23 programs from major conferences have yet to tick the box next to BCS bowl game appearance on their resume. Those teams:

-- ACC (5) - Boston College, Duke, N.C. State, North Carolina, Virginia
-- Big 12 (4) - Baylor, Iowa State, Missouri, Texas Tech
-- Big East (2) - Rutgers, South Florida
-- Big Ten (4) - Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern
-- SEC (5) - Kentucky, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
-- Pac-12 (3) - California, Arizona, Arizona State

The question of the day is, who is the next BCS AQ program to make the program's first BCS bowl game appearance? Programs like Rutgers (2006), Boston College (2007), Missouri (2007), Texas Tech (2008) and Michigan State (2010, 2011) have certainly come close in recent years, but ultimately fell short. There are also a lot of historically terrible football programs on that list that may very well never make a BCS bowl game. Duke, Vanderbilt and Indiana say hello.

So who's next off the above list, and how many more programs come off this list before BC finally (ever?) makes a BCS bowl game appearance? Ready, go.

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