ACC Bowl Projections, Week 12: Eight Programs In, Three More Within A Win Of Bowl Eligibility

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Bowling!

Now that Boston College has clinched bowl eligibility, let's take a look at where the rest of the conference stands through week 12.

From the ACC, eight teams are now bowl eligible:

-- Florida State (10-0, 8-0 ACC)
-- Clemson (9-1, 7-1 ACC)
-- Duke (8-2, 4-2 ACC)
-- Miami (7-3, 3-3 ACC)
-- Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-3 ACC)
-- Georgia Tech (6-4, 5-3 ACC)
-- Boston College (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
-- Maryland (6-4, 2-4 ACC)

Virginia (2-8, 0-6 ACC) and N.C. State (3-7, 0-7 ACC) are bowl bowl ineligible, leaving four programs with some work left to do. Here's the bowl picture for the ACC's remaining four programs:

Needs 1 win ...

Pittsburgh Panthers (5-5, 2-4 ACC)

Wins: 5
Needs: 6
Remaining: 2

11/23 @ Syracuse - W (Pitt -1)
11/29 Miami - L

How To Get There: Beat Syracuse. The Pitt-Syracuse winner becomes bowl eligible. The loser would need a victory in the regular season finale (Pitt vs. Miami, Syracuse vs. Boston College) to also become bowl eligible. Even though Pitt is just a 1-point favorite, I think the Panthers have played a bit better overall this season. Lazy analysis, I know, but the scores against common opponents Georgia Tech and Florida State seem to validate this. Pitt has also owned Syracuse since BC left the Big East for the ACC (Pitt 7-1). Even though Miami is in free-fall mode after starting the season 7-0, I don't think the Panthers want to face Miami in a must-win scenario to keep their bowl hopes alive. I don't think it comes to that.

Bowl / No Bowl? Bowl

Syracuse Orange (5-5, 3-3 ACC)

Wins: 5
Needs: 6
Remaining: 2

11/23 Pittsburgh - L (SU +1)
11/30 Boston College - W

How To Get There: The Orange needs just one win in its final two games to become bowl eligible in its first season in the ACC. The remaining two games are against familiar foes in Pitt and Boston College. We are just two weeks out and it's still tough to get a read on the BC-Syracuse game. The Orange D has kept bad running teams like Tulane, Maryland, Wake Forest and N.C. State in check this year, but has also given up a ton of yards on the ground to the better running teams like Northwestern (206 yards), Florida State (225) and Georgia Tech (394). This could be the type of game where the Syracuse D sells out on the run and forces Rettig to beat them, or it could be a game where they know Williams is going to run all over him ... and he does just that. No idea, really. Again, this week, I'm predicting a Syracuse win in the finale, but nothing would really surprise me in this one.

Bowl / No Bowl? Bowl

North Carolina Tar Heels (5-5, 4-3 ACC)

Wins: 5
Needs: 6
Remaining: 2

11/23 Old Dominion - W
11/30 Duke - W

How To Get There: Winners of four straight, Carolina should become bowl eligible this weekend with a win over Old Dominion. The cherry on top of the turnaround in Chapel Hill would be beating Duke in the season finale to keep the Blue Devils from making this year's ACC Championship Game.

Bowl / No Bowl? Bowl

Needs 2 wins ...

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-6, 2-5 ACC)

Wins: 4
Needs: 6
Remaining: 2

11/23 Duke - L (WFU +5)
11/30 @ Vanderbilt - L

How To Get There: Wake Forest needs wins in both of its remaining games to make a bowl. The Demon Deacons are just 5-point home dogs vs. Duke this week, which seems a little low. I can't see Wake winning both of these games to reach a bowl this year. The end of the Jim Grobe era in Winston-Salem?

Bowl / No Bowl? No bowl

Bowl Projections after week 11

Pitt, Syracuse and Carolina gives the ACC 11 teams for eight bowl slots. Florida State still has the inside track on the BCS National Championship Game, while Clemson -- no. 7 in the BCS standings this week -- should be able to hang onto the Orange Bowl's replacement slot win or lose vs. no. 11 South Carolina.

After FSU and Clemson, it's a scramble with nine ACC teams for seven bowl slots. Much of the bowl uncertainty this week revolves around the Coastal Division title winner. The ACC Championship Game runner up can't fall further than the Sun Bowl at number 4. That shouldn't be a problem if Virginia Tech or Miami wins the Coastal, but if it's Duke or even Georgia Tech, the title game runner-up may fall to the Sun Bowl.

All of the 32 Coastal Division scenarios are here, courtesy of the inimitable Patrick Stevens. We can probably throw out the ones that involve Virginia winning another game. My best guess this week is Duke over Wake, Miami over Virginia, Miami over Pitt, Carolina over Duke and Virginia Tech over Virginia, giving Virginia Tech the division title and right to lose to Florida State by 30.

With Tech in the ACC Championship Game, the rest of the lineup falls in place. Tech goes to the Peach, Miami to Orlando. North Carolina gets pick up by the Sun, which won't pick Georgia Tech a third straight year and doesn't have to pick up Duke as the ACCCG runner up. That leaves the Belk to pick up the local team, Duke, and Nashville to scoop up Georgia Tech.

BC heads to the Independence Bowl, but the bad news is that it's not looking like Notre Dame will land in Shreveport. The Big 12 will finish the year with just six bowl eligible teams for eight bowl slots, freeing up a spot in the Pinstripe Bowl (Big 12 #7) for Notre Dame. Maryland heads to the Military Bowl, leaving Syracuse and Pitt to land in the Beef 'O' Brady's and Heart of Dallas bowls, respectively.

All the ACC bowl eligible teams that fall out of the conference's bowl lineup should find homes. The Big Ten, Big 12, American, SEC and Army are all unlikely to fill of their bowl obligations, freeing up at-large spots for Notre Dame, the Pac-12 and the ACC.

Date Bowl Matchup Projection Projected Record
1/3/14 BCS National Championship Game (Pasadena) BCS 1 vs. BCS 2 Florida State 13-0, 8-0 ACC
1/3/14 Orange (Miami) ACC No. 1 vs. At-large No. 1 Clemson 10-2, 7-1 ACC
12/31/13 Peach (Atlanta) ACC No. 2 vs. SEC No. 5 Virginia Tech 8-5, 5-3 ACC
12/28/13 Russell Athletic (Orlando) ACC No. 3 vs. American No. 2 Miami 9-3, 5-3 ACC
12/31/13 Sun (El Paso) ACC No. 4 vs. Pac-12 No. 4 North Carolina 7-5, 5-3 ACC
12/28/13 Belk (Charlotte) ACC No. 5 vs. American No. 3 Duke 9-3, 5-3 ACC
12/30/13 Music City (Nashville) ACC No. 6 vs. SEC No. 7 Georgia Tech 7-5, 5-3 ACC
12/31/13 Independence (Shreveport) ACC No. 7 vs. SEC No. 10 Boston College 7-5, 4-4 ACC
12/27/13 Military (Annapolis) ACC No. 8 vs. C-USA No. 5 Maryland 8-4, 4-4 ACC
12/23/13 Beef 'O' Brady's (St. Petersburg) At-large (was American No. 6) Syracuse 6-6, 4-4 ACC
1/1/13 Heart of Dallas (Dallas) At-large (was Big 12 No. 8) Pittsburgh 6-6, 3-5 ACC
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