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Projecting FSU's bowl destination: Even with a Clemson win, ‘Noles could miss out on Orange Bowl

Despite the rankings, Florida State is not certain to be heading to the Orange Bowl, even with a Clemson win.

In the latest College Football Playoff rankings, the ‘Noles bypassed fellow ACC team Louisville in the rankings, putting Florida State as the highest ranked, non-playoff ACC team.

Although this has the team on track to play in the Orange Bowl, the committee can still choose Louisville to participate. The No. 1 ACC team is the representative in the bowl, however Clemson, if winners on Saturday, will be in the CFP and unable to fulfill that obligation, leaving it for either FSU or Louisville.

According to the Orange Bowl website,

“During the eight years when the Orange Bowl does not host a semifinal it will feature the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Champion, or if the champion is participating in the College Football Playoff the next highest ranked ACC school (selected by the CFP selection committee)”

The reason I still hesitate to lock FSU up in the Orange Bowl, even with a Clemson win, is the committees last rankings on Sunday can still change despite neither team playing a game. Don’t forget this happened in 2014:

If Florida gets annihilated by Alabama on Saturday, the committee could make a case that the loss lowers FSU’s strength of schedule, and move Louisville back in front —- although very unlikely.

If the Hokies upset the Tigers on Saturday, FSU’s Orange Bowl hopes will immediately disappear.

Despite all of this, the ‘Noles have sealed up that it will play in either Miami or Orlando for its bowl game, barring any shifts between FSU and UL in the last rankings.

Here are FSU’s bowl projections:

Capital One Orange Bowl: ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/IND

Miami, Florida

December 30, 2016

If Clemson makes the College Football Playoff, the committee will have to decide between putting Louisville or Florida State in the Orange Bowl and other in the RAB/Citrus Bowl. FSU, with the higher ranking, has the edge along with the proximity to the school and alumni base in South Florida to help with ticket sales. Mark Schlabach of ESPN and CBS Sports has FSU projected to the Orange Bowl facing Michigan.

Russell Athletic Bowl: ACC vs. Big 12

Orlando, Florida

December 29, 2016

The Russell Athletic Bowl is positioned as the No. 2 ACC team, not in the College Football Playoff, making the bowl. If Clemson makes the playoff and Louisville is selected to play in the Orange Bowl, FSU will end up here. If Clemson is upset however, the ‘Noles will also wind up in Orlando at either the RAB or Citrus Bowl. SB Nation has FSU projected to the Russell Athletic Bowl playing West Virginia.

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Orlando, Florida

December 31, 2016

If the team representing the ACC in the Capital One Orange Bowl is facing a team from the Big Ten conference, the ACC will get a team, more than likely Florida State, in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. If the opponent in the Orange Bowl is not from the Big Ten, the ACC will not have a represented team in this bowl. The Citrus Bowl ACC representative and selection process has the same ramifications as the Russell Athletic Bowl. Brett McMurphy of ESPN projects Florida State to the Citrus Bowl against LSU.