- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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The ACC’s place in the BCS standings right now is like having a layover in New Orleans -- you’re close enough to see it, but not there long enough to actually enjoy the party.
Get off the plane, FSU and Clemson. Stay a while.
The ACC still needs some other teams to move out if they’re going to become permanent residents in the top 10 this year, but the ACC is looking good in the latest BCS standings, with No. 9 Florida State and No. 13 Clemson well-positioned for a shot at two BCS bowls. Virginia, Boston College and Maryland might not win another game this year, and the Coastal Division has been unusually weak, but with Florida State and Clemson leading the charge, it won’t matter.
There’s nothing wrong with being top-heavy. Just ask the Pac-12.
Florida State’s stunning 17-16 loss to NC State on Oct. 6 was devastating to the ACC’s chances of winning a national title this year, but it wasn’t the end of the season, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the national spotlight. The conference is still on the outside looking in, and perception has a lot to do with that, but it could easily change with wins against No. 7 Florida and No. 8 South Carolina. Clemson, of course, has to avoid stumbling against NC State like it did last November, and Florida State still has a tricky Thursday night game next week against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. On paper, though, the ACC’s top two teams look good enough to win out.
If they do -- and other teams fall -- the ACC could have two BCS bowl teams for the second straight season, and that’s something worth bragging about. Not only would that validate the ACC’s future tie-in with the Discover Orange Bowl, it would also give the conference two more shots at improving its dreadful 2-13 BCS bowl record with two of the best teams the conference has had in recent years. And unlike last year, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see an ACC team in the Sugar Bowl.
The only thing Florida State and Clemson can do right now is stay focused and keep winning. It’s quite possible the rest will take care of itself. LSU still has to play Alabama. Somebody from the SEC East is going to play in the title game (and lose), and South Carolina suffered its biggest loss of the season when Marcus Lattimore was injured. Oregon State still has to play Oregon, and Oklahoma still has to play at West Virginia and Oklahoma State.
This just in: More teams will lose.
It just can’t be FSU and Clemson.
Boise State, which is undefeated in the Mountain West, is likely to automatically qualify for a BCS bowl, taking up one spot, but two more will be open. Clemson could earn a spot in the Fiesta Bowl or Sugar Bowl if Florida State goes on to win the ACC title and play in the Orange Bowl. Right now, a matchup between FSU and Boise State is a likely scenario, but if the BCS door closes on the Broncos, the Noles will get the Big East winner.
Clemson just might get a trip to Glendale or New Orleans.
Feel free to stay a while.
3hDavid M. Hale
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