CFP & NY6
Based on current results, we’re going to say Pitt will get the honor of representing the ACC as its champion. They’re in the drivers’ seat to the championship game and their offense has looked very strong all season with highly-regarded QB Kenny Pickett. The other top candidate for this position would be Wake Forest, the likely Atlantic representative, but they’re on a recent skid and Pitt looks like the stronger squad.
Typically the ACC champion would automatically be sent to the Orange Bowl, but the Orange Bowl is a CFP game this year, so an ACC representative in the NY6 is not guaranteed. Still, I believe Pitt will be sent to the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix to play against another at-large. The other option would be the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
Next, Notre Dame is allied with the ACC for bowl bids, but can also earn an at-large spot themselves in a number of bowls. Being 10-1 at the moment and ranked #8 in the country, it is likely that Notre Dame will be selected for an NY6 bowl (or a CFP slot), and I predict they will be sent to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
The next tier of ACC bowl games is an even selection process between 8 different bowls:
- The Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando versus Big 12 (last played by Miami)
- The Gator Bowl in Jacksonville versus SEC (last played by NC State)
- The Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte versus SEC (last played by Wake Forest)
- The Sun Bowl in El Paso versus Pac-12 (canceled in 2020, last played by FSU in 2019)
- The New Era Pinstripe Bowl in NYC versus Big Ten (canceled in 2020, last played by Wake Forest in 2019)
- The Holiday Bowl in San Diego versus Pac-12 (new to the ACC)
- The Fenway Bowl in Boston versus the American Athletic (brand new)
- The Military Bowl in Annapolis versus the American Athletic (canceled in 2020, last played by UNC in 2019)
These bowls likely won’t select the same school two times in a row, and will mostly try to avoid selecting a school that has attended in the past few years.
Now other likely ACC bowl teams will include, in order of expected finish:
- Wake Forest (9-2) clinched
- NC State (8-3) clinched
- Clemson (8-3) clinched
- Virginia (6-5) clinched
- Miami (6-5) clinched
- Louisville (6-5) clinched
- Boston College (6-5) clinched
- UNC (6-5) clinched
Given that information, these top 8 bowls are likely to select...
- Wake Forest to the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando versus Big 12 (Baylor? Kansas State?)
- NC State to the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte versus SEC (Kentucky? Mississippi State?)
- Clemson to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville versus SEC (Kentucky? Mississippi State?)
- Virginia to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in NYC versus Big Ten (Purdue? Minnesota?)
- Miami to the Sun Bowl in El Paso versus Pac-12 (Washington State? UCLA?)
- Louisville to the Military Bowl in Annapolis versus the American Athletic (East Carolina? Memphis?)
- Boston College to the Fenway Bowl in Boston versus the American Athletic (SMU? UCF?)
- UNC to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego versus Pac-12 (UCLA? Arizona State?)