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Second Guessing The ACC's 2011-12 Bowl Lineup

This is the ACC's number 2 bowl selection this year? (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
This is the ACC's number 2 bowl selection this year? (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
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Brian: There were two very generous bowl invites handed out to ACC programs on Sunday. The 11-2 Virginia Tech Hokies found their way into the BCS as an at-large with the Sugar Bowl snatching them up, while the 8-4 Virginia Cavaliers somehow got slotted into the ACC #2 bowl in Atlanta.

The complete ACC bowl picture looks like this:

Orange: Clemson (10-3) vs. West Virginia (9-3)
Sugar: Virginia Tech (11-2) vs. Michigan (9-3)
Peach: Virginia (8-4) vs. Auburn (7-5)
Champs Sports: Florida State (8-4) vs. Notre Dame (8-4)
Sun: Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5)
Music City: Wake Forest (6-6) vs. Mississippi State (6-6)
Belk: N.C. State (7-5) vs. Louisville (7-5)
Independence: North Carolina (7-5) vs. Missouri (7-5)

One can only help but wonder what the ACC's bowl lineup would have looked like if the Hokies hadn't earned a BCS at-large berth. I'd imagine the lineup would look something like this:

Orange: Clemson (10-3) vs. West Virginia (9-3)
Peach: Virginia Tech (11-2) vs. Auburn (7-5)
Champs Sports: Florida State (8-4) vs. Notre Dame (8-4)
Sun: Virginia (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5)
Music City: Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Mississippi State (6-6)
Belk: Wake Forest (6-6) vs. Louisville (7-5)
Independence: N.C. State (7-5) vs. Missouri (7-5)
Military: North Carolina (7-5) vs. Air Force (7-5)

Looking at the actual ACC bowl matchups and what could have been if VT didn't make the BCS, early take on how the conference will fare in the postseason? In other words, when talking heads start piling it on the conference for a poor bowl record, could this have been avoided if the ACC didn't get a second team into the BCS and teams were selected based more on the on-field results? Your thoughts?

Jeff: Right now, the ACC team is favored in four of its eight games. If the ACC does pull out four wins with at least one of the BCS variety, I think the ACC will have had a successful bowl season. However, if the conference doesn't reach four wins, suddenly winning only three of eight does not feel too good.

Had the ACC not gotten a second BCS team in, Virginia Tech certainly would have been favored in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Virginia would have been favored over Utah and Georgia Tech would have been favored over Mississippi State. Missouri still be favored over N.C. State though and Wake would be an underdog to just about any potential opponent. But still, that's being favored in 6 of 8 instead of 4 of 8. That does sound quite a bit better.

If the ACC does not fair well this postseason there will be a lot of second guessing, but fortunately for the ACC, there is a realistic chance that they win all four of their highest profile games. West Virginia, Michigan, Auburn and Notre Dame are very beatable opponents and it would be great if the league could put some of its lack of BCS success behind them with a strong post Christmas Bowl Season.

Regardless of what the ACC's record turns out to be though, the Eagles are benefiting in the wallet for not being bowl eligible this season. Most years, the Eagles end up losing money on their bowl trip. Since we rarely sell our ticket allottment to our bowl games, BC only benefits from bowl trips through indirect financial gains. Then this year, BC is saving costs and bringing in extra revenue from the league equally splitting the second BCS bowl revenue.

Brian: Financially, yes. But on the field? Not really. The extra money from the second BCS at-large berth is great and all, but as a fan, you can't feel good about the fact that the Eagles are home for the holidays while eight (of 12) teams in the ACC get extra weeks of practice to prepare for their bowl games. The extra month of practice will help all these programs build towards the 2012 season while BC (and Maryland, Duke and Miami) are standing still.