Where are the Eagles headed this week?
ESPN (Adelson / Dinich): Independence Bowl ←
↑ Up from last week
↓ Down from last week
↗ Not bowling last week
← Same bowl as last week
Seems a bit counterintuitive that despite a loss, Boston College's bowl stock stayed the same week over week in six projections and actually improved in two. This is mostly the result of the other teams around BC failing to improve their bowl stock over the final weekend of the regular season. Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Pittsburgh, like Boston College, are all coming off losses.
At this point, there are three main groups of ACC bowl-eligible teams:
BCS candidates (3): Florida State (12-0), Clemson (10-2), Duke (10-2, with a win in the ACC Championship Game)
Top-tier ACC bowls (2-4): Duke (10-2, with loss in title game), Miami (9-3), Virginia Tech (8-4)
Mid-to-low tier ACC bowls (5-8): Georgia Tech (7-5), Boston College (7-5), Maryland (7-5), North Carolina (6-6), Pittsburgh (6-6), Syracuse (6-6)
The crux of the issue is that there are six mid-to-low tier ACC bowl candidates for just four bowl tie-ins (Belk, Music City, Independence and Military). That leaves two programs on the outside looking in at a bowl game; hoping for a spot as a replacement team in a bowl game.
Here are the above bowl projections for those mid-to-low tier ACC bowls:
|SB Nation||BC||Ga. Tech||Pitt||Maryland||Syracuse (Pizza)||UNC (Dallas)|
|Sports Illustrated||UNC||Ga. Tech||BC||Maryland||Pitt (Pizza)||Syracuse (Dallas)|
|ESPN (Schlabach)||Va. Tech||Ga. Tech||UNC||Maryland||Pitt (Pizza)||Syracuse (Dallas)|
|ESPN (Edwards)||UNC||Ga. Tech||BC||Maryland||Pitt (Pizza)|
|ESPN (AA/HD)||UNC||Ga. Tech||BC||Maryland||Pitt||Syracuse|
|USA Today||UNC||Ga. Tech||BC||Maryland||Pitt (Pinstripe)|
|Orlando Sentinel||UNC||BC||Ga. Tech||Syracuse||Pitt (Dallas)|
|Phil Steele||UNC||Ga. Tech||BC||Maryland||Pitt (Pizza)||Syracuse (Beef)|
|Athlon Sports||UNC||Ga. Tech||BC||Maryland||Pitt (Pizza)|
|National Football Post||BC||Ga. Tech||UNC||Maryland||Pitt (Pizza)|
|CBS Sports||UNC||BC||Ga. Tech||Maryland||Pitt (Pizza)||Syracuse (Dallas)|
|CFN Scout.com||UNC||Miami||Ga. Tech||Maryland||BC (Pizza)|
The general consensus is that the Belk (North Carolina), Music City (Georgia Tech, assuming Georgia doesn't land here) and Military (Maryland) will take the relatively local options to help attendance. That leaves Boston College, Pittsburgh and Syracuse to duke it out over the final ACC bowl slot (the Independence). Interestingly, 6-6 Syracuse isn't included in any bowl in half of the above projections. Both Syracuse and 6-6 Pitt aren't included in Scout.com's bowl projections, which do not have a second ACC team (Clemson) making a BCS bowl game.
Boston College Athletic Director Brad Bates is actually exploring the possibility of giving up a slot in the I-Bowl; opting instead to play the Dallas-based Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year's Day. The bowl, played in the historic Cotton Bowl, is supposed to match a Conference USA team up against a Big Ten opponent, but the Big Ten will not be able to fulfill its eight bowl slots this season.
"At this point there are still moving targets but the one thing I can tell you is we are exploring every and all options that serve the Boston College community and the students on the team," said Bates. "Anything that that resonates over those two variables is something we are working with the ACC to try achieve.
"We obviously don't have complete autonomy over the decision but we are trying to position Boston College the best way possible."
Should Boston College opt to play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Eagles opponent is likely to be either Rice (9-3) or North Texas (8-4) from Conference USA -- both relatively local opponents. The above projections are a bit split, with North Texas projected in seven of the above 12 bowl projections. Rice appears in four of those projections. BC has never played either Rice or North Texas, though the program has played in the historic venue as part of the 1984 Cotton Bowl.
This would also open up a spot in the ACC's bowl lineup to allow either Pitt or Syracuse to slot into the Shreveport-based Independence Bowl. Don't say BC never did anything for you new guys.