The EagleBank Bowl’s priorities at this point involving hoping a ninth ACC team can become bowl eligible.
The good news for the Dec. 20 game at RFK Stadium is eight schools from the conference are already there. The bad news is it could be a little tricky getting the ninth team.
There is one fairly easy path remaining among the four non-eligible teams, so here’s a rundown of the scenarios that would lock up a ninth team for D.C.’s new bowl. These aren’t necessarily the teams that would fall to the EagleBank Bowl, but the game needs a ninth eligible team to even have an option other than scavenging the leftovers of other leagues.
* VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers are 5-5, and need only one more victory to secure bowl eligibility. Virginia has a bye next week, followed by a visit from Clemson (4-5) and a trip to Virginia Tech (6-3).
* DUKE: A much longer shot after last week, the Blue Devils (4-5) need to poach two out of three at the end of the season. Duke, seeking its first bowl appearance since the 1994 season, finish with games at Clemson (4-5) and Virginia Tech (6-3) before the home finale against North Carolina (7-2).
* CLEMSON: If only it were as easy as winning two games. The Tigers (4-5) played two teams from the former Division I-AA, so their bowl eligibility is dependent on winning seven games. As a result, Clemson must win out against fellow borderline bowl teams Virginia and Duke, as well as upset South Carolina (7-3) on the final day of the season.
* N.C. STATE: The Wolfpack (3-6) collected their first ACC victory on Saturday at Duke. Now they need three more – against Wake Forest (6-3), North Carolina (7-2) and Miami (6-3) – to snap a two-year bowl drought.
It’s difficult to see more than one of those teams earning bowl eligibility, and not impossible to see none of them. The Clemson-Virginia game on Nov. 22 figures to go a long way in determining whether an ACC team will actually oppose Navy five days before Christmas.
ACC teams with 5+ wins: 9
ACC teams at .500 or better: 9
ACC teams that are bowl eligible: 8 (Boston College, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest)
Current projected team to the EagleBank Bowl: Boston College or Virginia