ACC Bowl Projections, Week 10: Georgia Tech Bowl Eligible, Virginia Out

Darren McCollester

Things are looking up this week after Boston College's upset victory over Virginia Tech.

Just four weeks left in the regular season. While the ACC's bowl picture has cleared up a bit since we first looked at this, there's still much to be decided over college football's final month of the regular season.

Here's what we do know. Georgia Tech clinched bowl eligibility last week with a 21-10 victory over Pittsburgh. The win gives the Jackets the minimum six wins (five victories vs. FBS opponents and one vs. FCS). Had Georgia Tech lost to Pitt and Clemson in two weeks, the Jackets would have needed to win both of its games against Alabama A&M and Georgia to get to a bowl game.

On the other end of the spectrum, Virginia became the first ACC program to become bowl ineligible after getting pasted by Clemson 59-10. The loss was the Cavaliers sixth straight, the second year in a row Virginia has had a six game losing streak.

That gives the ACC six bowl eligible programs after week 10 -- Florida State (8-0), Clemson (8-1), Miami (7-1), Georgia Tech (6-3), Virginia Tech (6-3) and Duke (6-2).

Let's break down the bowl picture for the ACC's remaining seven programs:

Needs 1 win ...

Maryland Terrapins (5-3, 1-3 ACC)

Wins: 5
Needs: 6
Remaining: 4

11/9 Syracuse - W (Maryland -5.5)
11/16 @ Virginia Tech - L
11/23 Boston College - W
11/30 @ N.C. State - W

How To Get There: After jumping out to a fast 4-0 start to the season, the Terps have fallen back to earth a bit. Maryland is one of the ACC's coldest teams having lost three of four with the one win a 27-26 come from behind win over Virginia. Still, Maryland can clinch a bowl game with just one win over its final four games. The schedule is pretty manageable down the stretch, with the very real possibility of clinching bowl eligibility this weekend vs. Syracuse.

Bowl / No Bowl? Bowl

Needs 2 wins ...

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

Wins: 4
Needs: 6
Remaining: 3

11/9 Florida State - L (Wake +35)
11/23 Duke - L
11/30 @ Vanderbilt - L

How To Get There: Wake Forest's bowl hopes took a serious hit this weekend when the Deacons dropped a 13-0 decision to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. The Demon Deacons now need to win two of its final three games to make a bowl. The problem is one of those games is against Florida State, where Wake Forest finds itself a 35-point HOME underdog. With star wide receiver Michael Campanaro out 4-6 weeks, I can't see Wake beating both Duke and Vanderbilt on the road to finish the year 6-6.

Bowl / No Bowl? No bowl

Pittsburgh Panthers (4-4, 2-3 ACC)

Wins: 4
Needs: 6
Remaining: 4

11/9 Notre Dame - L (Pitt +5)
11/16 North Carolina - L
11/23 @ Syracuse - W
11/29 Miami - L

How To Get There: Like Maryland, Pitt is one of the coldest teams in the conference -- losers of three of its last four games (and three straight vs. FBS opponents). The latest setback is a 21-10 loss to Georgia Tech that leaves the Panthers needing two wins over its final four games to reach a bowl game. Unlike Maryland, the remaining schedule is not favorable. After hosting #23 Notre Dame this weekend, Pitt hosts North Carolina, goes to Syracuse and ends the season at home vs. #11 Miami. With that sched, there's a decent chance that Pitt loses out to finish the season 4-8. The Panthers have owned Syracuse in the years since BC left for the ACC (7-1), but that game is probably a pick'em at this point. Even with a win over 'Cuse, I just can't see Pitt getting to six wins.

Bowl / No Bowl? No bowl

Boston College Eagles (4-4, 2-3 ACC)

Wins: 4
Needs: 6
Remaining: 4

11/9 @ N.M. State - W (BC -24.5)
11/16 N.C. State - W
11/23 @ Maryland - L
11/30 @ Syracuse - L

How To Get There: Stating the obvious, but Boston College would be well advised to reach the six win mark to become bowl eligible over the next two games. While BC should snap its nine game road losing streak this weekend in New Mexico, the Eagles remain a much better team at home than on the road. For whatever reason, that's been a trend for as long as I've been following the program. Since the Eagles joined the ACC, the program is 41-17 in home games (.707) and just 20-25 away from the Heights (.444). Boston College does not want to go into the final two road games needing a win to become bowl eligible, especially with a season-ending rivalry game with Syracuse looming. That game could very well end up becoming a bowl eligible play-in game. I don't think it'll come to that however.

Bowl / No Bowl? Bowl

Syracuse Orange (4-4, 2-2 ACC)

Wins: 4
Needs: 6
Remaining: 4

11/9 @ Maryland - L (Syracuse +5.5)
11/16 @ Florida State - L
11/23 Pittsburgh - L
11/30 Boston College - W

How To Get There: To get to a bowl, Syracuse is likely going to have to go through its old Big East frenemies Pitt and BC to do so. The Orange can put themselves in a good position to get to six wins this weekend in College Park, where SU is a 5.5-point road dog. Given Syracuse didn't put up much of a fight against Clemson, it's hard to see them doing the same against a much better team in two weeks. Nightmare scenario for both BC and Syracuse is both programs head into the season-finale stuck at five wins. Don't see this happening.

Bowl / No Bowl? No bowl

Needs 3 wins ...

N.C. State Wolfpack (3-5, 0-5 ACC)

Wins: 3
Needs: 6
Remaining: 4

11/9 @ Duke - L (NCST +10)
11/16 @ Boston College - L
11/23 East Carolina - L
11/30 Maryland - L

How To Get There: Even with @ Duke, @ BC and Maryland remaining in conference play, at 0-5 in the conference, the 'Pack has dug itself into a pretty sizable hole with four games left. Even if State takes care of business against in-state East Carolina, I can't see the Wolfpack taking two of the three games remaining. Boston College might just get a shot to deliver the knock out blow next week.

Bowl / No Bowl? No bowl

North Carolina Tar Heels (3-5, 2-3 ACC)

Wins: 3
Needs: 6
Remaining: 4

11/9 Virginia - W (UNC -15)
11/16 @ Pittsburgh - L
11/23 Old Dominion - W
11/30 Duke - W

How To Get There: Even when at 1-5, I had a feeling Carolina would still end up bowling this season. The Heels have held serve so far with victories over Boston College and N.C. State. This week, look for Carolina to continue its winning ways as it hosts Virginia. From there, the Heels would need two wins in their final three games -- one of which is FCS Old Dominion.

Bowl / No Bowl? Bowl

Bowl Projections after week 10

If you add Maryland, Boston College and North Carolina to the six conference teams already bowl eligible, that gives the conference nine bowl eligible teams for eight slots. There wouldn't be an odd team out should two ACC teams get into the BCS. The problem this week is that there's no way that FSU is going to be able to hold off Oregon for a spot in the BCS National Championship should both teams win out.

Without Florida State in the BCS National Championship, the ACC's chances to get a second team into the BCS seem slim; despite likely having two other, somewhat deserving teams in 11-1 Clemson and 11-2 Miami. With FSU in the Orange Bowl, the first BCS at-large becomes a non-ACC team. The Sugar and Rose Bowls will backfill for Alabama and Oregon with teams from the SEC (Texas A&M? Auburn?) and Pac-12 (Stanford?), respectively. Then, with Fresno State projected to crash the BCS party, the final at-large spot in the Fiesta Bowl gets scooped up by the Bulldogs.

Date Bowl Matchup Projection Projected Record
1/3/14 Orange (Miami) ACC No. 1 vs. At-large No. 1 Florida State 13-0, 8-0 ACC
12/31/13 Peach (Atlanta) ACC No. 2 vs. SEC No. 5 Clemson 11-1, 7-1 ACC
12/28/13 Russell Athletic (Orlando) ACC No. 3 vs. American No. 2 Miami 11-2, 7-1 ACC
12/31/13 Sun (El Paso) ACC No. 4 vs. Pac-12 No. 4 Virginia Tech 8-4, 5-3 ACC
12/28/13 Belk (Charlotte) ACC No. 5 vs. American No. 3 Duke 8-4, 4-4 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 North Carolina 6-6, 4-4 ACC
12/27/13 Military (Annapolis) ACC No. 8 vs. C-USA No. 5 Maryland 8-4, 4-4 ACC
12/26/13 Little Caesar Pizza (Detroit) ACC At-large Boston College 6-6, 3-5 ACC
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