ACC: bowls

Bowl Challenge Cup standings

December, 30, 2009
12/30/09
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Aside from bragging rights, there is a good reason for the ACC to win its bowl games. The Bowl Challenge Cup will be awarded by ESPN to the conference with the best bowl winning percentage (minimum three games). The Sun Belt is the only conference with fewer than three bowl teams this season, so 10 conferences are in contention for the trophy. Here are the latest standings heading into this afternoon's games:

ACC in must-win situation

December, 30, 2009
12/30/09
3:30
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Sigh.

Here we go again.

The ACC is 1-3 in its bowl games heading into Thursday night's Chick-fil-A Bowl between Virginia Tech and Tennessee. (You can thank Clemson for the lone win, and no, even though it came against the SEC it doesn't count twice.) Me? I'm 2-2 in my ACC picks so far, having given North Carolina and Miami too much credit. But I still say those were games both teams should have won. Could've, should've, you know how that goes.

But the conference's early struggles are putting the pressure on the final three teams to help bail the ACC out of another disappointing postseason. Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia Tech must all win now in order for the ACC to finish with a 4-3 bowl record and I don't see it happening. The margin of error I accounted for earlier was in the Gator Bowl, where expectations are low for the Seminoles, despite the emotion surrounding Bobby Bowden's final game.

Is too much made over the conference bowl records? Maybe. Most coaches, though, when asked about representing the league, at least acknowledge it, but usually follow that with a comment about it "going in cycles." But the only way to measure the strengths of the conferences is to match them up on the field, and that's what the nonconference games and postseason do. Those are the only opportunities for each conference to make a statement. Win the games you're scheduled to play. It's that simple.

And so far, the ACC hasn't been able to do that enough.

Video: Which ACC team needs a bowl win most?

December, 15, 2009
12/15/09
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ACC blogger Heather Dinich breaks down which conference team most needs the momentum of a bowl win.

BC to face USC in Emerald Bowl

December, 6, 2009
12/06/09
5:21
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BC will face USC in the Emerald Bowl, Boston College just announced.

Florida State is also expected to accept an invite to the Gator Bowl against West Virginia, and an announcement on that is expected within the hour.

We'll have more on the bowls as the announcements come out, just wanted to update you quickly.

Gator Bowl not a lock for FSU

December, 2, 2009
12/02/09
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Don't start planning that trip yet, Florida State fans.

Although it's possible the Noles could wind up facing West Virginia in the Gator Bowl for what will be Bobby Bowden's final game, it's far from a done deal.

The only surefire way at this point of FSU going to the Gator Bowl is if Clemson wins the ACC championship game AND Virginia Tech heads to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. If Clemson loses, though, the selection process could get a little tricky.

The ACC contends that with a Clemson loss on Saturday, Clemson, Miami and Boston College should be the Gator Bowl's lone choices. The Gator Bowl has no contractual obligation to select Clemson, but the ACC's one-loss rule states that it does have to choose from the remaining pool of teams within one loss of Clemson's 6-2 record. That would leave Miami and BC, which both finished at 5-3 in the ACC ahead of FSU at 4-4.

ACC officials and Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett seem to be at odds on how to interpret the ACC's one-loss rule. Discussions are ongoing as both sides try to sort out the contractual language and obligations. One thing that hasn't changed in all of this is that the ACC's championship game winner will go a long way in determining how this year's bowl selection process will unfold in the ACC.

Updated ACC bowl predictions

November, 3, 2009
11/03/09
9:00
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Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich

Things change on a half-to-half basis here in the ACC, not to mention week-to-week, so it’s worth an updated look at how the postseason might shake out in the conference. Right now, only three conference teams are bowl eligible: Georgia Tech, Miami and Boston College. The ACC has nine guaranteed bowl slots, but it still doesn’t look like they’ll all be filled:

Orange Bowl -- Georgia Tech. At 8-1, the Yellow Jackets are head and shoulders above the rest of the ACC, but whether or not they actually win the conference title depends upon who they’re facing in Tampa. If it’s Clemson, this pick could change in favor of the Tigers.

Chick-fil-A -- Virginia Tech. The Hokies need one more win, and this Thursday night game at East Carolina could be a trap game. A road win depends upon how the Hokies respond to back-to-back losses that were devastating to their preseason goals. The Hokies travel well and another game against a marquee SEC opponent would sell tickets.

Gator Bowl -- Miami. The Hurricanes could still conceivably keep winning and make it to a BCS bowl, but if not, this seems like a good fit. Miami would bring a good, in-state crowd, and a Miami/Notre Dame matchup would be a home run for the bowl officials.

Champs Sports Bowl -- Clemson. The Tigers are one win shy of bowl eligibility, but right now they’ve got bigger aspirations -- the school’s first ACC title since 1991. In order to even have a shot at that, Clemson needs to beat FSU this weekend. If the Tigers are the ACC’s runner up, Champs officials would be remiss to let the Tigers slide lower in the selection process.

Music City Bowl -- North Carolina. The Tar Heels need to find two more wins, but if they do, this could provide a great matchup against Tennessee.

Meineke Car Care Bowl -- Florida State. The potential of showcasing Bobby Bowden’s last game would be an easy sell for these bowl officials, but first the Seminoles have to earn two more wins. After back-to-back wins over conference opponents, it doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched idea anymore.

Emerald Bowl -- Boston College. The Eagles are on their radar, so long as they’re not playing in the ACC championship game. And knowing this conference, it’s still a possibility. If they’re in the title game, though, BC can’t fall lower than the Music City Bowl.

EagleBank Bowl -- Finds a replacement.

GMAC Bowl -- Finds a replacement.

OUT: NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Duke and Maryland.

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