Looking at the ACC bowl picture

October, 24, 2013
10/24/13
4:00
PM ET
So who is going bowling this year in the ACC?

The top four teams in the league -- Florida State, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech -- have already clinched eligibility. But eight others have three or more wins, giving them all a realistic shot to get to six. Let us take a look at where all eight stand headed into the final six weeks of the season.

Boston College

Record: 3-3

Remaining schedule: at North Carolina, Virginia Tech, at New Mexico State, NC State, at Maryland at Syracuse.

Combined opponent record: 19-21

Outlook: Boston College has a golden opportunity to beat struggling North Carolina (1-5) and should get a win over New Mexico State (0-7). Wins in both games get the Eagles to five, in need of only one more win. You have to like their chances of winning at least one between NC State (winless in conference); Maryland (injury problems); and Syracuse (Jekyll and Hyde). The Virginia Tech game also is intriguing -- the Eagles took the Hokies to overtime last year before losing.

Duke

Record: 5-2

Upcoming schedule: at No. 14 Virginia Tech, NC State, No. 7 Miami, at Wake Forest, at North Carolina.

Combined opponent record: 20-12

Outlook: It is hard to envision the Blue Devils losing out, especially when you consider NC State, Wake Forest and North Carolina are all winnable games. They might even be favored against NC State and in the finale against North Carolina, a team they beat last season. Duke also beat Wake Forest in 2012 as well. Given the way Duke has played and the fact it only needs one more win, this team seems like a near lock to go to another bowl game.

Georgia Tech

Record: 4-3

Upcoming schedule: at Virginia, Pitt, at No. 9 Clemson, Alabama A&M, Georgia

Combined opponent record: 18-16

Outlook: The Jackets have to get to seven wins for bowl eligibility because they have two FCS opponents on the schedule this year. They are near locks to beat UVa and Alabama A&M. That means they have to win one more between Pitt, Clemson and Georgia. The most winnable is against Pitt, a team that has had defensive issues for most of the season. The Panthers, however, do play an option team this week (Navy) so they will have some extra practice time. The finale against Georgia also seems more winnable today than it did when the season began. Clemson has had problems stopping the run as well.

Maryland

Record: 5-2

Upcoming schedule: No. 9 Clemson, Syracuse, at No. 14 Virginia Tech, Boston College at NC State.

Combined opponent record: 21-12

Outlook: Injuries are hitting this team hard once again, as several key starters on both offense and defense have been lost for the season. Quarterback C.J. Brown and running back Brandon Ross are banged up as well. On the bright side, the Terps are not down to a linebacker playing quarterback. Maryland should be able to get one more win in the five games remaining.

NC State

Record: 3-3

Upcoming schedule: at No. 2 Florida State, North Carolina, at Duke, at Boston College, East Carolina, Maryland

Combined opponent record: 26-14

Outlook: Should the Wolfpack lose to Florida State this weekend, they would drop to 0-4 in conference. But there is some hope here for six wins. NC State should be favored to beat rival North Carolina. Of the remaining four, it is easy to envision any combination of two wins. Especially with several key contributors returning from injury, including quarterback Brandon Mitchell, receiver Rashard Smith and defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop.

Pitt

Record: 4-2

Upcoming schedule: at Navy, at Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, North Carolina, at Syracuse, No. 7 Miami.

Combined opponent record: 22-17

Outlook: The Panthers should beat Navy and North Carolina at the very least, to make a bowl game for a sixth straight season. More wins are not out of the realm of possibility, either. Pitt nearly upset Notre Dame a year ago in South Bend. Pitt is a better team this year; Notre Dame is not as good. The Panthers get an edge playing Navy the week before Georgia Tech; and they host Miami the day after Thanksgiving in the cold on a Friday night. Pitt could win that one, too.

Syracuse

Record: 3-4

Upcoming schedule: Wake Forest, at Maryland, at No. 2 Florida State, Pitt, Boston College

Combined opponent record: 22-10

Outlook: Of the eight teams listed here, the Orange have one of the most difficult schedules remaining since none of their future opponents have losing records currently. Simply put, there are no gimmes here. Wake Forest has won two straight. Boston College is vastly improved. Florida State is one of the best teams in the nation. Having said that, every game except Florida State is winnable. Just not sure Syracuse has what it takes to win three out of the remaining four.

Wake Forest

Record: 4-3

Upcoming schedule: at No. 7 Miami, at Syracuse, No. 2 Florida State, Duke at Vanderbilt

Combined opponent record: 23-9

Outlook: The Deacs have as tough a challenge as anybody with two games remaining against top-10 opponents. But they could get to six with wins over Syracuse and Duke. Those would be the most likely options at this point. Not sure an upset at Vanderbilt is in the cards.

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