Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Bowl wins obviously give every team more confidence and practice time heading into the next season, and for some players, like Boston College quarterback Dominique Davis and Miami quarterback Jacory Harris, it's also an audition for the 2009 roster. Some programs, though, seem to have more at stake than others.
As we head into the heart of the ACC's bowl schedule this weekend, here's a quick look at which teams need the W the most:
1. Virginia Tech. The reasons are plentiful. It's a chance to represent the ACC in a BCS bowl, and it's a chance for coach Frank Beamer to improve his 0-2 record in the Orange Bowl as well as reverse the losing trend. The Hokies have lost four of their past five bowl games. And with so many young playmakers in key roles, the experience of playing in a BCS bowl will be invaluable.
2. Miami. The Hurricanes made progress by getting back into the postseason after missing it last year, but now they need to rebound from their back-to-back losses in order to head into 2009 on a positive note. This is a chance for the defense to reassert itself, and for Jacory Harris to prove he can win on a big stage. A win would also help detract from the off-field news and give coach Randy Shannon his first bowl win as a head coach.
3. North Carolina. It's hard not to think what could have been with this team, but just how good was it? The Tar Heels faltered down the stretch and lost two of their last three. Granted, Butch Davis lost his top playmaker on offense, his quarterback and his leading tackler to injuries all at different points in this season, but the opportunity was still there in mid-November at Maryland. A bowl win over a talented West Virginia team would make a statement heading into next season that the Tar Heels have regrouped.
4. Clemson. A win over Nebraska would help legitimize the Tigers' even being in the Gator Bowl in the first place despite their 4-4 conference record. More importantly, though, it would help first-year coach Dabo Swinney on the recruiting trail and give him his first bowl win in his first try.