ACC: Roady\'s Humanitarian Bowl

ACC viewer's guide: Week 14

November, 28, 2014
Nov 28
10:00
AM ET
It seems like just yesterday we were kicking off the ACC season, but here we are at the finish line. Week 14 may be the end of the regular season, but there’s still plenty of intrigue -- from crucial rivalry showdowns to three teams playing for bowl eligibility. Here’s what to watch for.

Friday, 8 p.m.

Virginia at Virginia Tech, ESPN, #UVAvsVT

Few rivalries in the country have been as lopsided as this one, with the Hokies winning 10 in a row and 14 of the last 15. But this year’s matchup feels entirely different. UVa is coming off an emphatic win over Miami, a win that helped save Mike London's job. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, is coming off one of its most embarrassing losses in history, a 6-3 defeat to Wake Forest. Changes on the Hokies’ staff appear all but certain at this point. To add to the intrigue, both teams are playing for bowl eligibility, with the winner getting that crucial sixth win and the loser on to what promises to be a tumultuous offseason.

Saturday, noon

Georgia Tech at Georgia, SEC Network, #GTvsUGA

The Yellow Jackets toppled Georgia in Athens in 2008 in Paul Johnson’s first season as coach, and it appeared that perhaps the power structure in the state was beginning to change, but in the five years since, it’s been all UGA. In last year’s game, Tech led 20-0 in the second quarter only to lose 41-34 in double overtime. This year, the Jackets’ players are hoping to finally get some revenge, and with Tech playing its best football of the year, an upset is certainly possible. Georgia fell to Florida last month when it couldn’t stop the ground game, and Tech figures to employ the same philosophy this weekend.

Kentucky at Louisville, ESPN2, #UKvsLOU

There’s plenty on the line for both sides in the ACC’s newest rivalry game against the SEC. Kentucky has lost five straight, but a win here could get Mark Stoops’ squad bowl eligible. Louisville’s offense is finally clicking, as Reggie Bonnafon looks comfortable in his role as starter. A win for the Cardinals would keep them in the hunt for an Orange Bowl berth. But, of course, state bragging rights may top all of those goals.

South Carolina at Clemson, ESPN, #SCvsCLEM

Like Virginia and Georgia Tech, Clemson has been on the wrong side of a lopsided rivalry in recent years. Dabo Swinney beat South Carolina to secure the head-coaching job at Clemson in 2008, but he hasn’t been able to repeat the feat since. But freshman QB Deshaun Watson could return for this one, and he offers hope. Add to that a South Carolina defense that offers little in the way of a pass rush and has been gouged repeatedly this year, and things certainly look a bit more positive for the Tigers. It will be up to Vic Beasley & Co. to quell the South Carolina ground game, but Clemson fans are clearly hoping this is the year the Gamecocks’ run comes to an end.

12:30 p.m.

Syracuse at Boston College, ESPN3, #CUSEvsBC

Tyler Murphy & Co. nearly upended defending champ Florida State last week in Tallahassee, but fell just short. Whether the emotions of a close loss in a big game carry over may be the biggest factor in this matchup. Syracuse is reeling, with an offense that has mustered just 40 points in its last four games -- all losses. BC’s defense is one of the more underrated units in the country, which won’t make it easy for the Orange to bust out of their offensive slump, and Murphy’s big-play ability could be the spark for BC’s seventh win of the season.

NC State at North Carolina, ESPN3, #NCSTvsUNC

North Carolina had plenty to celebrate last week, knocking off rival Duke for the first time in three years, taking back the Victory Bell and earning bowl eligibility. Can the Tar Heels keep that momentum going against another rival in the regular-season finale? UNC has won four of five and played its best defensive game of the year a week ago, while NC State hasn’t beaten a bowl-eligible team since its opener against Georgia Southern. This could be a nice feather in North Carolina’s cap, but a win for NC State would be a signature victory for Dave Doeren.

3:30 p.m.

Florida at Florida State, ESPN, #UFvsFSU

It’s been exactly two years since Florida State last lost a game, and that one came at home against rival Florida. The two programs have trended in opposite directions since, with Jimbo Fisher poised for a run at a second straight national championship, while Will Muschamp will be coaching his final game for the Gators after resigning two weeks ago. Still, FSU hasn’t shown a propensity for blowing away anyone this season, and Florida has the ground game to frustrate the Seminoles’ D and the secondary to test Jameis Winston. A decade ago, Ron Zook upended FSU after he’d been axed by Florida. Muschamp will try to do the same this time around.

7 p.m.

Wake Forest at Duke, ESPNU, #WAKEvsDUKE

The record certainly won’t wow anyone this season, but Wake Forest has, in some ways, been one of the most impressive teams in the ACC. With huge holes across the offense, points have been at a premium all season, and the Deacons knew going into the year it would be an uphill battle. But they’ve continued to fight all season, which is a tribute to the work being done behind the scenes by head coach Dave Clawson. The work paid off with a 6-3 win over Virginia Tech last week -- Wake’s first conference victory in more than a year -- but the test is much tougher this week. Duke enters this game riding a two-game losing streak, and David Cutcliffe will surely want to send his seniors out with a win in their last home game.

Pittsburgh at Miami, ESPN2, #PITTvsMIA

James Conner's availability looks doubtful, which means it’ll be up to Chad Voytik and Tyler Boyd to spark Pitt’s offense. The bigger question, however, may be whether Miami is motivated to finish up the season. Last week’s game against Virginia was as listless as the Hurricanes have looked all year, and another poor showing in the regular-season finale could ratchet up those hot-seat rumors for Al Golden. There’s no question which side wins this game on paper, but with Pitt playing for a bowl game and Miami simply playing out the string, motivation could be the differentiating factor.

ACC helmet stickers: Bowl edition

January, 12, 2009
1/12/09
12:18
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Now that that national championship game is over, ESPN.com is officially putting a cap on the 2008 season. We're kicking it off today with a bowl edition of helmet stickers. The ACC won four of its 10 bowl games, with Virginia Tech, Florida State, Maryland and Wake Forest earning postseason victories.

Here are the ACC's top performers during the bowls:

Virginia Tech's backups: Offensive guard Jaymes Brooks, linebacker Barquell Rivers and defensive end Nekos Brown filled in for Tech's missing starters and the Hokies didn't miss a beat. Brooks played all 78 snaps as the Hokies put up nearly 400 yards of total offense. Brown and Rivers helped limit the high-powered Cincinnati offense to just one touchdown and Rivers had a key stop on fourth-and-goal at the 1 to help seal the game.

Virginia Tech tailback Darren Evans: Evans ran for 153 yards and a score, earning FedEx Orange Bowl MVP honors in the Hokies' 20-7 win over Cincinnati.

Virginia Tech's defense: The Hokies grabbed four interceptions, held Cincinnati to 71 yards rushing and 310 yards of offense. They didn't allow any touchdowns after the first drive.

UNC wide receiver Hakeem Nicks: In what became the final game of his career, Nicks caught eight receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including ESPN's No. 1 bowl play of the season -- a behind-the-back catch. It was a standout performance in a losing effort, as the Tar Heels fell, 31-30, to West Virginia in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Florida State kicker Graham Gano: He averaged 48.2 yards on five punts and had three downed inside Wisconsin's 5-yard line to earn MVP honors. Gano placed three first-quarter punts inside the 4-yard line, including two at the 1.

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder: He threw for 199 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the 42-13 romp over Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl. It was a dramatic improvement from the last 10 games of the regular season during which he threw six touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Maryland running back Da'Rel Scott: After being benched for 2 1/2 quarters for a curfew violation, Scott came in and ran 14 times for 174 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns in the Terps' 42-35 win over Nevada. His 49-yard touchdown run with 12:21 left put Maryland ahead 35-28, and Scott became the seventh back in Maryland history to top 1,000 yards.

Wake Forest offensive lineman Jeff Griffin: After starting 11 games at right tackle, Griffin moved to right guard and graded out at 94 percent (65 offensive plays, 61 plays graded positive), led the team with 18.5 knockdown blocks and didn't have one missed assignment. Wake Forest rushed for a season-high 239 yards and outrushed Navy 239-221 in the 29-19 win over Navy in the EagleBank Bowl. Griffin paved the way for Kevin Harris to rush for 136 yards, the most by a Demon Deacon this season. Wake Forest did not allow a sack.

Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner: He completed all 11 pass attempts against Navy for 166 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed seven times for 29 yards. Trailing Navy 19-14 with 12:30 to play in the game, Skinner drove the Deacons 80 yards in nine plays and finished it off with an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight Ben Wooster. Skinner was named the game's MVP.

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers: Bowers had three tackles for loss, the most ever by a Clemson freshman in a bowl game. He finished with five total tackles and three quarterback pressures in the Tigers' 26-21 loss to Nebraska. He was named Clemson's MVP of the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl by the media attending the game.

Maryland's milestones

December, 31, 2008
12/31/08
1:34
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Maryland running back Da'Rel Scott and wide receiver Torrey Smith both reached milestones in their 42-35 win over Nevada in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.

Even though he didn't enter the game until midway through the third quarter because he was suspended for violating curfew, Scott finished with a school bowl record 174 yards on 14 carries and earned the bowl MVP award.

Scott became the seventh player in school history to rush for 1,000 in a season and the first since Chris Downs in 2002. Scott finished the season with 1,133 rushing yards -- the seventh-highest single-season total all-time at Maryland -- and a team-best eight touchdowns.

With his career-long 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter, Smith became the ACC's all-time single-season leader in kickoff return yardage, surpassing the 1,065 kickoff return yards by Tijan Redmon of Duke in 1995. That return marked the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a Maryland player in a bowl game, and it also set a Roady's Humanitarian Bowl record (previous record: 98 yards by Idaho's Jerome Thomas in 1998).

Smith is a redshirt freshman and Scott a sophomore, so they should be exciting impact players for the Terps in the future. Maryland will need them, with the departure of such a large senior class.

Curfew violation Part II

December, 30, 2008
12/30/08
5:22
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

I'm told by a school spokesman that the seven Maryland players who didn't start aren't suspended for the whole game, so we might see some of them return here in the second quarter. The Terps managed the first quarter without them, but they're all key contributors and a few starters.

Back to the game ...

Maryland's curfew violation

December, 30, 2008
12/30/08
4:36
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

In case you were wondering ...

Seven Maryland players -- LB Trey Covington, LB Derek Drummond, LB Moise Fokou, DB Jamari McCollough, WR Danny Oquendo, LB Antwine Perez, RB Da'Rel Scott -- will not start today's game due to a curfew violation.

Back to watching the game.

Maryland's defense faces stiff challenge with interim coordinator

December, 29, 2008
12/29/08
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

In early December, Maryland linebacker Dave Philistin was one of the few players who got a phone call from his position coach, former defensive coordinator Chris Cosh, informing Philistin of his decision to take a job at Kansas State.

What Philistin didn't realize after he hung up the phone was that Cosh wouldn't coach the Terps in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl. Cosh left so abruptly that not even his interim replacement, assistant Al Seamonson, got a chance to talk to him about it.

"It's huge," Philistin said. "What surprised me was the timing of it. I thought he was going to do the bowl game and then afterwards part ways. It's pretty devastating. You don't know what to think when you go to work the next day, but everything happens for a reason.

"What you lose is a sense of guidance almost. This guy has been my mentor for the past two seasons as an inside linebacker. It's like where do I go now? Especially for a bowl game. Coach Cosh, he knows his stuff. He preps us well as far as the game plan and all that."

Of all the opponents Maryland needs to be at its sharpest on defense for this season, Nevada would be at the top of the list. The Wolf Pack boast a 2,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver. Oh, and the quarterback rushed for more than 1,000 yards, too.

"It's crazy," Philistin said. "I haven't heard anything about them except when I watch film, but the way they play, you would think you hear more about them."

The Wolf Pack have quietly put together one of the most productive offenses in the country, as Nevada is No. 2 in the nation in rushing offense, fifth in total offense, and 12th in scoring offense. They're among the best at earning first downs and controlling the clock. 

"They put up a lot of yards," Navarre said. "They're a big-play offense. A lot of plays we watched the quarterback was going for 60 yards and the running back was going for 60 yards. The quarterback, he's 6-6, he's not real heavy but he runs real fast. He's got real long legs. He's not going to juke you or anything, but once he gets in stride he's gone."

Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for 2,479 yards with 19 touchdown and five interceptions during the regular season. The sophomore also rushed for 1,115 yards with 16 rushing touchdowns, ranking 12th in the nation in total offense (299.5 ypg).

The Terps will also have to worry about sophomore running back Vai Taua, who had 1,420 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on 213 carries. He ranks ninth in the nation in rushing. Senior wide receiver Marko Mitchell is Kaepernick's favorite target, having recorded 56 receptions for 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns during the regular season.

Still, it was only good enough to finish in a tie for second place in the Western Athletic Conference.

Maryland's defense isn't bad -- they've only allowed more than 30 points twice this season -- but it was as inconsistent as the entire team.

(Read full post)

ACC bowl projections

December, 1, 2008
12/01/08
1:44
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

There are 10 bowl-eligible teams for nine ACC tie-ins. Messy, just like the season was. There is an NCAA rule that forces bowls to select seven-win teams over six-win teams, and that could mean trouble for NC State. More likely, it means an at-large selection. While ACC officials try to figure that one out, here are this week's predictions for everyone:

BOSTON COLLEGE -- BC fans shouldn't have to worry about being slighted by the bowl selection committees this season. The Eagles have everything they need to make it to the Orange Bowl, including confidence from the fact they've already beaten Virginia Tech this season.
Possibilities: Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Music City Bowl
Prediction: Orange Bowl

CLEMSON -- The Tigers threw the bowl picture out of whack when they became bowl eligible with their win over South Carolina. Their addition means everyone else is likely to get bumped a notch.
Possibilities: Music City Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Emerald Bowl, Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, Eagle Bank Bowl
Prediction: Music City Bowl

FLORIDA STATE -- The Noles took a pounding from Florida, but they're still an attractive eight-win team that should be one of the top picks. A trip to Jacksonville to face Nebraska makes sense at the expense of Georgia Tech.
Possibilities: Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl
Prediction: Gator Bowl

GEORGIA TECH -- This team deserves to be in one of the top bowls, especially after beating rival Georgia, but FSU would bring a "home" crowd and be a lucrative matchup for the Gator Bowl folks.
Possibilities: Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl
Prediction: Champs Sports Bowl

MARYLAND -- In a matter of two weeks, the Terps went from contender to pretender. Instead of seeing orange, they're more likely to see blue, as in Smurf Turf blue. You get what you play for. They can't play in the Eagle Bank Bowl because the date conflicts with their exam schedule.
Possibilities: Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Emerald Bowl, Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.
Prediction: Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.

MIAMI -- The Hurricanes didn't finish strong, but they still had a much better season than a year ago, and the fact they're even playing in a bowl game proves it. An invitation from the Champs Sports Bowl would be surprising.
Possibilities: Champs Sports Bowl, Music City Bowl, Emerald Bowl
Prediction: Emerald Bowl

NC STATE -- This is where the confusion comes in, because of the NCAA rule. There should be a few bowls out there, though, still looking for a team. Count the Motor City Bowl among them, since Ohio State should be in a BCS Bowl.
Possibilities: Meineke Car Care Bowl, Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, Eagle Bank Bowl, Independence Bowl, Texas Bowl, Motor City Bowl,
Prediction: Motor City (at-large)

NORTH CAROLINA -- The Tar Heels won't be home for Christmas, but they might be very close. This is where the pecking order will come into play, with Music City, Meineke Car Care and Emerald either having to agree, or going in that order. Since Music City can go first, odds are it scoops up Clemson.
Possibilities: Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Emerald Bowl
Prediction: Meineke Car Care Bowl

VIRGINIA TECH -- The Chick-fil-A Bowl doesn't have to pick the ACC runner-up, but in this case it would make sense. LSU and South Carolina would both be good matchups.
Possibilities: Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl
Prediction: Chick-fil-A Bowl

WAKE FOREST -- The Demon Deacons and Miami seem like the two most likely candidates for this inaugural bowl, and a rematch against Navy could be interesting. It would also be a no-win situation for the Deacs, who should have beaten the Middies the first time around.

Possibilities: Meineke Car Care Bowl, Emerald Bowl, Humanitarian Bowl, Eagle Bank Bowl
Prediction: Eagle Bank Bowl

ACC bowl projections

November, 24, 2008
11/24/08
3:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With one week remaining in the regular season, every team in the ACC is either bowl eligible or playing for it on Saturday, with the exception of Duke. NC State, Virginia and Clemson could all become eligible with wins this week.

In order to do this blog post, predictions need to be made for the ACC championship game. It's down to Florida State and Boston College in the Atlantic, and Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in the Coastal. As of right now, I'll stick with the home teams and say BC and Virginia Tech play for the ACC title on Dec. 6.

Here are educated guesses as to how the rest will shake out:

BOSTON COLLEGE -- The Eagles are down to their backup quarterback, but will face a Maryland team coming off a significant letdown this weekend. BC already beat Virginia Tech once this season, but can they do it with Dominique Davis at quarterback on Dec. 6?

Possibilities: Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Music City Bowl
Prediction: Music City Bowl

CLEMSON -- The Tigers need to beat South Carolina at home in order for this not to be a moot point. That will be tough to do without injured bandit end Ricky Sapp, and against a stingy SC defense.

Possibilities: Emerald Bowl, Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, Congressional Bowl, Music City Bowl
Prediction: The Tigers will be home for the holidays.

FLORIDA STATE -- The Seminoles have an outside shot of playing for the ACC title, but need Maryland to win in Chestnut Hill this weekend. An eight-win season is still impressive enough for one of the better bowls.

Possibilities: Orange Bowl, Gator Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl
Prediction: Chick-fil-A

GEORIGA TECH -- The Yellow Jackets need a Virginia Tech loss in order to have a shot at the Orange Bowl, but stranger things have happened this season. An eight-win season in Paul Johnson's first year makes this team attractive.

Possibilities: Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Gator Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl
Prediction: Gator Bowl

MARYLAND -- The Terps' chances of playing in the ACC championship game were sacked with Chris Turner last weekend, and now they're playing Boston College for bowl selection this weekend. The Meineke Car Care Bowl has been trying to get the Terps for a while now.

Possibilities: Champs Sports Bowl, Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl
Prediction: Meineke Car Care Bowl

MIAMI -- The Hurricanes' five-game winning streak was snapped, and now there is also the possibility they'll have back-to-back losses, as NC State has something to play for this weekend.

Possibilities: Champs Sports Bowl, Emerald Bowl,
Prediction: Emerald Bowl

NC STATE -- The Wolfpack are one win away from bowl eligibility and they've got the momentum -- and the quarterback -- they need to do it this weekend against Miami.

Possibilities: Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, Congressional Bowl
Prediction: Congressional Bowl

NORTH CAROLINA -- The Tar Heels have lost back-to-back games, dropped out of the rankings, and could very well lose to a much improved Duke team this weekend. How teams finish the season play a role in where they wind up.

Possibilities: Emerald Bowl, Music City Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl
Prediction: Champs Sports Bowl

VIRGINIA -- The Cavaliers need to beat rival Virginia Tech in Lane Stadium this weekend in order to become bowl eligible. Turnovers have been a costly trend all season, though, and the Hokies have had the upper hand in this rivalry in recent years.

Possibilities: Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, Congressional Bowl
Prediction: The Cavs will be home for the holidays.

VIRGINIA TECH -- The Hokies looked woeful on offense again last weekend, but that hasn't stopped them all season from controlling their own destiny. A win over Virginia this weekend and the Hokies are in. If they face BC again in the ACC title game, they should have the edge in quarterbacks.

Possibilities: Orange Bowl, Chick-fil-A, Konica Minolta Gator Bowl

Pediction: Orange Bowl

WAKE FOREST -- The Demon Deacons are bowl eligible, but the best they can finish is 7-5 with a win over Vanderbilt this weekend. Finding a lucrative bowl excited about a six-loss team isn't easy. Bundle up, Deacs.

Possibilities: Roady's Humanitarian Bowl, Congressional Bowl, Emerald Bowl

Prediction: Humanitarian Bowl.

ACC bowl projections

July, 28, 2008
7/28/08
9:05
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It's the last year for Boise and the first year for D.C.

To be honest, it's a real toss-up after the first two. And it wouldn't surprise me if Gator Bowl folks went with an 8-4 team instead of a 9-3 Wake Forest team. And, no, I don't think nine ACC teams are going to be bowl-eligible this year. Nonetheless, here's an early look at who might wind up where in the postseason, in order of the bowl selection order:

1. BCS, Orange Bowl -- Clemson

2. Chick-fil-A -- Virginia Tech

3. Konica Minolta Gator Bowl -- Wake Forest

4. Champs Sports Bowl -- Maryland

5. Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl -- Miami

6. Meineke Car Care Bowl -- North Carolina

7. Emerald Bowl -- Florida State

8. Roady's Humanitarian Bowl -- Boston College

9. Congressional Bowl - A MAC team vs. Navy.

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