What to watch in the ACC bowls

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
10:15
AM ET
The ACC has eight teams in bowl games this season, including two BCS bowls. There's no shortage of storylines. Here are just a few things worth keeping an eye on:

1. The respect-o-meter. For the first time, the ACC has two teams in BCS bowls, as Clemson will face West Virginia in the Discover Orange Bowl and Virginia Tech will face Michigan in the AllState Sugar Bowl. But what will those teams do with those opportunities? The ACC is 2-11 in its BCS bowls. The ideal situation obviously would be for both to win, but the ACC can't afford to have either suffer an embarrassing loss. The entire conference can come away with a winning bowl record this season, but if the league doesn't represent on the two biggest stages, it likely won't make much improvement in national perception.

2. Streaks. Can Georgia Tech end its streak of six straight losses in bowl games? Can the ACC end its streak of four straight seasons with losing bowl records? Can Florida State's defense continue its dominant streak? FSU has held seven straight opponents to 19 or fewer points; that’s the longest streak of its kind by an ACC team since Miami’s nine-game run in 2005. Notre Dame is averaging 30.5 points per game.

3. Undecided underclassmen. Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen could be a first-round NFL draft pick and the top tight end chosen overall. Virginia Tech running back David Wilson also has yet to decide whether he'll leave school early for the NFL and has submitted paperwork to the NFL draft advisory board. Wilson's teammate, cornerback Jayron Hosley, already has announced his intent to leave early. All three of these players have been exciting to watch and set records throughout their careers. If it's their final performance, you don't want to miss it.

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