clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ACC Bowl Projections, Week 13: A Rather Crowded Bowl Picture With One Weekend To Go

Where are the dudes bowling this week?

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina becomes the ninth bowl eligible team from the conference with the Heels' 45-20 victory over Duke. Seemingly out of nowhere, with a victory over N.C. State, Carolina will finish in second in the Coastal Division behind 6-2 Georgia Tech. Huh.

We also don't have to treat Notre Dame with kid gloves anymore following the Irish's 31-28 loss to Louisville. They'll almost certainly be in the ACC's bowl lineup win or lose next weekend in LA.

Virginia's upset victory over Miami combined with Wake Forest's double OT thriller over Virginia Tech sets up a Commonwealth Cup winner-take-all for the conference's 11th bowl slot, which, exciting. Finally, Pitt can become bowl eligible with a victory at Miami in the regular season finale.

With just one regular season weekend remaining, here's who's in:

11-0 Florida State Seminoles
9-2 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
8-3 Duke Blue Devils
8-3 Clemson Tigers
8-3 Louisville Cardinals
7-4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
6-5 Boston College Eagles
6-5 Miami-Florida Hurricanes
6-5 N.C. State Wolfpack
6-5 North Carolina Tar Heels
5-6 Virginia Cavaliers / 5-6 Virginia Tech Hokies winner

Still alive: 5-6 Pittsburgh Panthers

Eliminated: 3-8 Syracuse Orange, 3-8 Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Here are this year's ACC bowl tie-ins:

Tier 1
ACC Champ / ACC No. 1 -- Orange Bowl, Miami, Dec. 31 vs. Big Ten / SEC / Notre Dame
ACC No. 2 -- Russell Athletic Bowl, Orlando, Dec. 29 vs. Big 12 3

Tier 2 / Conditional Tie-Ins with Big Ten
ACC Nos. 3-6 OR Big Ten Nos. 5-7 -- Gator, Jacksonville, Jan. 2 vs. SEC 3-8
ACC Nos. 3-6 OR Big Ten Nos. 5-7 -- Music City, Nashville, Dec. 30 vs. SEC 3-8

Tier 2
ACC Nos. 3-6 -- Belk, Charlotte, Dec. 30 vs. SEC 3-8
ACC Nos. 3-6 -- Pinstripe, Bronx, Dec. 27 vs. Big Ten 5-7
ACC Nos. 3-6 -- Sun, El Paso, Dec. 27 vs. Pac-12 5

Everything Else
Independence, Shreveport, Dec. 27 vs. SEC 10 (C-USA conditional)
Military, Annapolis, Dec. 27 vs. American
Quick Lane, Detroit, Dec. 26 vs. Big Ten
BITCOIN, St. Petersburg, Dec. 26 vs. American


The conference will have a minimum 11 bowl-eligible teams; 12 if Pitt gets in. Best guess as to how this shakes out heading into the final weekend of the regular season:

College Football Playoff -- Florida State (13-0)

Orange -- Clemson (9-3)
Russell Athletic Bowl -- Georgia Tech (9-4)

Gator -- Notre Dame (7-5)
Belk -- Duke (9-3)
Pinstripe -- Louisville (9-3)
Sun -- Miami (7-5)

Military -- Boston College (7-5)
Quick Lane -- North Carolina (7-5)
Independence -- Virginia Tech (6-6) / Virginia (6-6) winner
BITCOIN -- N.C. State (6-6)

Despite the head-to-head loss to Georgia Tech, Clemson beats South Carolina and staves off Louisville for the ACC's Orange Bowl berth. The Yellow Jackets will be underdogs in each of their final two games—at Georgia and vs. Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. A 9-4 Georgia Tech team settles for the Russell Athletic Bowl as the ACC's #2 selection, while Clemson fills Florida State's spot in the Orange.

Where things get interesting with Notre Dame is if the Irish lose at USC this weekend. Should Louisville beat Kentucky, and Clemson beat South Carolina, neither team could get jumped by the Irish in the ACC's bowl pecking order with a record two games better than 7-5 Notre Dame. But even if Notre Dame falls into the ACC's second tier, I'm willing to bet that they won't far any further than the Gator Bowl. Jacksonville will be happy to scoop up the Irish at that point.

ESPN's bowl projections have 8-3 Duke in that first tier of games (Orange or Russell Athletic) though I don't understand the logic behind that at all. The Blue Devils have now lost back-to-back games in Coastal Division play—including getting thumped by Carolina—and currently sit third in the weaker of the ACC's two divisions. Even with a victory over Wake Forest this weekend, I can't see the Blue Devils cracking the ACC's top three bowls. The Belk Bowl seems like the most likely destination for the Blue Devils.

I want to put BC in the Pinstripe, but I just can't. Not after Louisville took care of business against Notre Dame. With a win over Kentucky in the finale, the Cards won't drop out of the second tier of games. A matchup against Penn State or Maryland (Louisville vs. Maryland ACC-B1G Expansion Bowl) beckons.

A 7-5 Miami team takes up the last tier 2 bowl slot in the Sun Bowl, though things could get interesting should the Canes lose this weekend and BC win. A 7-5 BC team probably gets the nod in the Sun Bowl over a 6-6 Miami team that finished the year on a three-game losing streak.

With the Everything Else tier of bowls, the Military scoops up 7-5 BC, while Detroit takes 7-5 North Carolina. The Independence takes the Virginia-Virginia Tech winner at 6-6, leaving St. Pete for the Wolfpack.