If the ACC’s bowl-eligibility picture is a painting, it’s a Jackson Pollock. There’s a lot going on, but you’re not really sure what you’re looking at.
So this weekend’s FSU rooting guide focuses on a couple of things: the Seminoles getting into the best bowl possible, and Florida State making money by other ACC Teams becoming bowl eligible.
Clemson (11-0) and the ’Noles (6-5) are the only ACC squads bye this weekend, and two of the eight ACC Teams to have already clinched bowl eligibility. The others, by overall record:
- 7-3 Wake Forest
- 7-3 Virginia
- 7-3 Pitt
- 7-3 Virginia Tech
- 6-4 Louisville
- 6-4 Miami
Only 4-7 NC State and 3-8 Georgia Tech have been eliminated from bowl contention, which means that the following teams have two games left to achieve six victories:
- 5-5 Boston College
- 4-6 Syracuse
- 4-6 North Carolina
- 4-6 Duke
Now remember, rooting for fellow ACC foes to reach bowl eligibility isn’t some “S-E-C” conference-pride kind of garbage. It’s fiscally beneficial, as all of the ACC teams split the collective payouts received from each team’s bowl appearance. And zero doesn’t divide very well.
So while you want these teams in the mix, because, ya know, cash, you also don’t really want them snagging a better bowl from FSU, either. So our priorities in this rooting guide are simple: maximize ACC Teams making a bowl, but not a better bowl than Florida State. Also, we’re going to deal in reality here, and assume a Seminole loss in Gainesville next weekend. Sorry.
This is the ACC’s bowl selection process, as delineated on its own website— and yes, it’s less-than clear:
Let’s also assume that Clemson, while bye this weekend, takes care of business at South Carolina next Saturday and in the ACC Championship, and makes the College Football Playoff. That’s good for FSU not only financially, but also in the respect that it doesn’t drop down a rung, which would therefore do the same to the rest of the conference teams’ bowl prospects.
We’ll tackle these by game time, so you can scroll down and root accordingly. Also, there are so many different possibilities that could still emerge over the last two weeks of the season that this is pretty much impossible. Just sayin’.
Liberty (6-4) at Virginia (7-3), 12 pm, RSN:
Could the Cavaliers be caught looking ahead to a Virginia Tech team they haven’t beaten in their last 15 tries? It’s definitely possible, especially with the Orange Bowl perhaps hanging in the balance. Anyway, the Wahoos control their own destiny and are already gonna cash a check somewhere, and Miami can’t win the Coastal. So bring on the chaos, and Flame On.
Boston College (5-5) at No. 16 Notre Dame (8-2), 2:30 pm, NBC:
The Irish share (some) ACC bowl tie-ins, but check this out: unlike all the other conference teams, they don’t share bowl revenue with other ACC schools. Ya know, because Notre Dame needs it so badly. So screw them. And since BC needs one more win to get bowl eligible anyway, let’s hope the Eagles get it here. Plus, Boston College winning in South Bend should have a soft spot in any Seminole’s heart.
Mercer (4-7) at North Carolina (4-6), 3:30 pm, RSN:
The conference (and FSU) make money by UNC winning out over the inconsequential Mercer and NC State. Your heart probably isn’t into this one, but the Seminoles’ wallet is, so get it done, Heels.
Pitt (7-3) at Virginia Tech (7-3), 3:30 pm, ESPN2:
Like their instate rivals at UVA, the Hokies also control their own Coastal destroy, so let’s root for a VT win, which would make this year’s gridiron leg of the Commonwealth Clash worth all the marbles next weekend.
Syracuse (4-6) at Louisville (6-4), 4 pm, ACCN:
The Orange looked dead in the water, having dropped four straight, and then last weekend they stomped Duke 49-6 in Durham. Let’s hope they can keep that momentum (does beating Duke qualify as momentum?) going and get to six wins and a postseason payday. Plus, it wouldn’t be horrible for FSU’s bowl destination if the Cards lost out to ’Cuse and Kentucky.
Miami (6-4) at FIU (5-5), 7 pm, CBSSN:
Yes, you read that correctly: the Hurricanes are playing a road game against Florida International. Let’s not overthink this one. Go Sex Panthers.
Shut up, Ron Burgundy.
Duke (4-6) at Wake Forest (7-3), 7:30 pm, ACCN:
The Blue Devils have lost four consecutive games, by a combined score of 155-44. Still, there seems to be (at least) one completely inexplicable ACC result every weekend, and maybe this is it. Let me try that again: maybe this is it?
Yeah, it feels much more natural with the question mark.
Again, assuming Clemson to the CFP, The UVA-VT winner looks destined for the Orange Bowl, and Notre Dame is projected by many for the Camping World Bowl in Orlando. The ACC’s “tier-one” bowls after that: the Belk, Sun, Pinstripe and Music City or Gator (check back with TN, as I’m about to write another piece about the whole Music City vs. Gator Bowl thing).
Those four bowls are probably, currently (we’ll see how this weekend plays out) choosing between the loser of UVA-VT, Wake Forest, Pitt, FSU, Louisville, and Miami. Four bowls. Six ACC teams.
Bonus Pick: Michigan State (4-6) at The Rutgers (2-8), 12 pm, FS1:
FSU to Detroit’s Quick Lane Bowl has been a popular projection over the last couple of weeks, and the Spartans have often been mentioned as a possible opponent. Considering that the alternatives, of late, have been Western Michigan and Central Michigan, I’d say pull for Sparty here. At least that would get us closer to a P5 opponent. Also, I’m aware that it’s not actually “The Rutgers,” but a friend of mine told me that his kids refer to it that way, as if a disease— like, “Dad, I’m not feeling well, I think I got the Rutgers.” I found that hilarious, so now you get to hear about it.