I have a fantasy football draft at 11:45, so I’ll be taking some time away from blogging for that.
But first, here’s a bowl projection for the ACC, which has nine slots guaranteed (if needed) this year.
ORANGE BOWL: Virginia Tech. The Hokies might look so-so early in the season (tomorrow’s game against East Carolina is dangerous, and so is a September trip to North Carolina). But strong defense and special teams will keep things together and Tech will hold on for an ACC title game victory over Clemson.
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL: Clemson. The wrench in this is whether the folks in Atlanta would want the Tigers playing at the Georgia Dome three times in a year plus a day. Given the giant fan base, I’m thinking yes.
GATOR: Florida State. Could this be Bobby Bowden’s swan song? If things point in that direction, competition among bowls will be fierce to get the Seminoles into their game.
CHAMPS SPORTS: North Carolina. If there’s a cluster in the middle of the league, why not take a team that hasn’t been a postseason regular for the last decade? This would be a nice landing spot for Butch Davis’ team.
MUSIC CITY: Maryland. If the Terrapins really can be a factor this year, this could be the ideal landing spot. Maryland’s has never played in either this game or the Meineke Car Care Bowl, and are an attractive enough team to avoid a trip west to Boise.
MEINEKE CAR CARE: Wake Forest. Would a Carolina bowl pass up the Demon Deacons to take an eligible Miami team? Probably not. Wake really hasn’t been forced to deal with being shuttled down the bowl pecking order because of travel concerns, but a school of its size will always be vulnerable to such things. Playing an hour or so from home isn’t a bad fate.
EMERALD: Miami. The Hurricanes return to the bowl scene with their second trip to the west in three years.
HUMANITARIAN: Boston College. Remember, the first law of ACC bowl selection is “Boston College will always get the shaft.” If the Eagles are .500 or worse in the conference, this will at least be an appropriate holiday season destination.
CONGRESSIONAL: Georgia Tech. I’d sure love to see a Navy-Georgia Tech matchup at Nationals Park, and that would pretty well for bowl organizers. It’s definitely better than, say, Ball State-Louisiana-Monroe, which would be a possibility if the ACC can’t provide a ninth team and Navy unexpectedly stumbles.