Recently, Heather Dinich posted five things she would need to see from the ACC before she would believe them. Today, I'll break down one of those items in previewing 2011.
"Two BCS bowl teams. It hasn't happened as long as the ACC has been divided into divisions, and I don't see that streak being broken this year."
I've written many times previous about how FSU has let the conference down. Only one BCS game for FSU since the ACC expanded? That was obviously unacceptable to FSU and the University did something about it. Last year FSU won 10 games and the division for the first time in a half-decade.
But this idea of two BCS teams really has me intrigued. Normally, I would agree with Heather. The ACC has a terrible image nationally and it would be tough to land two teams. But this year could be different.
I'll get to why in a minute, but first, let's talk about how a conference lands that second BCS team, a/k/a an at-large entry. Typically, this is a top-ten team that did not win its conference title. The ACC rarely has a top-ten team, much less one that is the runner up for the conference.
But that's where this year could be different. FSU is the odds-on favorite to win the conference. Let's assume that happens, because that's the most likely scenario in which this thing works.
That leaves us looking for a second, and Virginia Tech is the perfect fit. Tech has consistently won the conference (4 of the last 5), and flopped in big games. But this year, there are no big non-conference games on the Hokies' schedule. Starting ranked in the top-15, how high can VTech get with this schedule?
Sep. 3 Appalachian St.
Sep. 10 at East Carolina
Sep. 17 Arkansas St.
Sep. 24 at Marshall
Oct. 1 Clemson TBA
Oct. 8 Miami-FL
Oct. 15 at Wake Forest
Oct. 22 Boston College
Oct. 29 at Duke TBA
Nov. 10 at Georgia Tech
Nov. 17 North Carolina
Nov. 26 at Virginia
What do you see out of that? 12-0? 11-2? 10-2? There's a reason FSU is the favorite to win the conference, but this schedule is why VTech is favored to win more games.
Let's say Tech goes 11-1 and loses the ACC Championship game, making them 11-2. An 11-2 record for a team that started in the top 15, from a BCS conference. How high would they climb? I'll say still in the top 8 (where they would have certainly been with an 11-1 or better record). And that's how the ACC could put two teams in BCS bowls. I give this a decent chance of happening.