ACC (& NCSU) Bowl Talk


Although NC State is not yet eligible with our 5-5 record, Bowl games are going to be a big topic of discussion during the week.

The ‘good’ news is — based on the current composition of the ACC’s bowl picture, I honestly think that a Wolfpack win on Saturday could position the program for a potential trip to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. Despite a very disappointing season, this would not be a better finishing opportunity than I would have ever dreamed. I’m not saying that NC State deserves to be the conference’s 5th bowl selection – or that the scenario could play out – but process of elimination could create a scenario that would make State the most appealing choice for Charlotte.

The bad news is — I think that the Charlotte-scenario is too much of a stretch and won’t come to fruition for the Pack…meaning that there is a real possibility that a win against Maryland could mean a trip to Boise for the program.

Of course…all of my comments in this entry are predicated on the presumption that Carolina loses to Virginia Tech this weekend and finishes the season 5-6. Let’s not screw all this up assuming otherwise. With that said, I see three primary ACC’s potential bowl scenarios (with a focus on an assumption that NC State defeats Maryland this weekend) to highlight in this entry.

At-Large Opportunities
I think that it is important to set the table with what at-large bowl opportunities exist after the ACC’s existing six tie-ins — after Boise, there WILL BE some at large opportunities remaining for the winner of State/Maryland and Virginia to seek.

Most notable of these opportunities is probably the Music City Bowl in Nashville, TN. The Music City will have a spot after the SEC has failed to supply their team. Remember, after the recent bowl reconfigurations that take effect next year, the Music City Bowl becomes the ACC’s #5 bowl next season. (See July’s entry) Obviously the ACC would/should have the inside track to place a team here this season.

Relatedly, the Emerald Bowl in also rolls into the ACC’s rotation next year and would be an obvious fit based on conference relationships. It is being speculated that an ACC team might match-up with Utah in San Francisco.

Other at-large opportunities for at-large ACC teams have disappeared in the last 24 hours when the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego has filled their at-large spot and the Houston Bowl grabbed TCU to match up against a local Big 12 Team. (Think ECU going to the Meineke to play an ACC team).

Currently, The Liberty Bowl in Memphis has no opponent to play a Conference USA team.

Scenario One: Pack as an at-large – Nashville? Memphis?
My first speculative scenario pushes the Wolfpack out of consideration and down to a bowl that is more consistent with our performance for the year.

This situation hinges on the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando choosing Boston College over Clemson AND Boise choosing Georgia Tech If BC goes to Orlando, Clemson becomes a LOCK for Charlotte based on their fan presence and pushes the Wolfpack down the ladder.

The following is how this shapes up:

(1) VPI to BCS
(2) Miami to Gator – especially since they don’t play there for the ACC Championship
(3) FSU to Peach – Peach has been salivating for years to get FSU. Rumor has it that Peach wants Spurrier & USC to battle Bowden’s boys which would eliminate any thought of Clemson
(4) Boston College to Champs Sports – Does the ACC Office play any role at insuring the Eagles a “fair spot” in the order?
(5) Clemson to Meineke Car Care – traveling Tigers would pack the stadium in Charlotte
(6) MPC Computers in Boise – Georgia Tech? Virginia? Winner of State/Maryland?

Since the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise isn’t going to have anyone traveling no matter whom they select, their concern has to be focus on creating a great match-up for television. With Reggie Ball & Calvin Johnson, and after national wins at Auburn and Miami, I can’t imagine the Boise Bowl choosing a middling NC State with little star power (and no offense) over the Yellow Jackets.

A trip to Nashville for the Music City Bowl would be a nice little experience and change of pace for any ACC team. If the Pack wins this weekend, we will have won 4 of our last 5, including victories over Florida State and Maryland (to whom Virginia lost). State’s recent success and our fans’ reputation for travel (when compared to Virginia) could make the winner of the State/Maryland game more attractive in Nashville than Virginia.

One of many things working AGAINST State in this scenario is that Georgia Tech played in Boise just two years ago and Virginia played there last year. It may be the Pack’s (or Maryland’s) turn to travel to no man’s land this year by default.

Scenario Two: Pack to Boise?
Frankly, everyone knows that Boise is the least appealing of the ACC’s bowl opportunity the ACC; it does not matter that a tie-in currently exists ahead of the at-large slots. The question here becomes, how much goodwill has Boise’s support of the ACC earned it in recent years?

If Boise legitimately gets to make their selection on their own free will before the at-large opportunities, then I think that they have to be more interested in Georgia Tech than any of the other options ( UVA or State/Maryland) However, if the ACC office works a deal where Georgia Tech and the MPC Computer Bowl to allow the Yellow Jackets to ‘self select’ themselves into The Music City or some other at-large bowl, then the winner of State/Maryland is looking squarely into the face of the blue turf after Virginia played there last year.

Scenario Three: Pack to Mieneke Car Care Bowl?
Although I think that this is less plausible, IF the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando wanted to go for larger attendance, they could choose Clemson over BC and create an opening in Charlotte for NC State that would be based on the Wolfpack’s fan support in the Carolinas. Think about it from a process of elimination and I speculate that the following could happen:

(1) VPI to BCS
(2) Miami to Gator – especially since they don’t play there for the ACC Championship
(3) FSU to Peach – Peach has been salivating for years to get FSU. Rumor has it that Peach wants Spurrier & USC to battle Bowden’s boys which would eliminate any thought of Clemson
(4) Clemson to Champs Sports – Does Champs think Clemson can put seats in the stands? Boston College is the competition. Does the ACC Office play any role at insuring the Eagles a “fair spot” in the order?
(5) Meineke Car Care – Boston College played here last year, Virginia played in the first two bowls in Charlotte, and Georgia Tech has a bad reputation for traveling

Other than the fact that State still has to beat a Maryland program against which Chuck Amato has compiled an unacceptable 1-4 record, the wild card here is Georgia Tech. If the Yellow Jackets (currently 7-3) beat Georgia this weekend then it may be too politically difficult for the Meineke to ignore. But, a 7-4 Yellow Jacket team that the Wolfpack defeated in Atlanta does not create enough of an argument to ignore the amount of fans that NC State would take to Charlotte by comparison.

Like I say, I think that this scenario is definitely the least plausible.

General NCS Football

17 Responses to ACC (& NCSU) Bowl Talk

  1. Trout 11/22/2005 at 10:23 AM #

    My guess:

    BCS – VT (fsu)
    Gator – Miami
    Peach – FSU (vt)
    Champ – BC
    Meineke – Clemson
    Boise – NCSu/MD winner
    Emerald (Music if ACC lands Liberty) – UVa
    Music City: GT

  2. Trout 11/22/2005 at 10:30 AM #

    Sorry, I copied and pasted that from TigerTown’s predictions. I agree, but should have made it NC State friendly (I would never refer to NC State as NCSu)

    BCS – VT (fsu)
    Gator – Miami
    Peach – FSU (vt)
    Champ – BC
    Meineke – Clemson
    Boise – NC State/MD winner
    Emerald – UVa
    Music City – GT

  3. Trout 11/22/2005 at 10:34 AM #

    Also, I predict less people will attend the Miami/UVA game than attended the NC State/Middle Tenn State game.

  4. Jeff 11/22/2005 at 11:00 AM #

    ^ What about the State-Maryland game, with a kick off of noon, on Thanksgiving weekend, without students, and on television?

  5. Trout 11/22/2005 at 11:04 AM #

    48-50k is my prediction.

  6. Ray 11/22/2005 at 11:49 AM #

    All of this is also contingent on UNC losing at VaTech.

    A Tar Heel win makes them bowl eligible (6-5) and gives them a 5-3 ACC record. If they win, I think they’ll grab a bid from the Meineke, Emerald, Music City, or Boise bowls.

    I know its unlikely, but UNC has already surprised me this year: wins over UVa, BC, and NCSU, and they played MIami tough for a half.

  7. st0rmin 11/22/2005 at 1:02 PM #

    If BC goes to the Champs and Clemson goes to Charlotte, it is probably the ACC forcing the BC thing (may be part of the expansion deal) since BC will always be at a disadvantage for bowls.

    Fairness would say BC to Champs. Open market would say Clemson to Champs. Who wins?

  8. Jeff 11/22/2005 at 1:11 PM #

    ^ GREAT comment…and I totally agree with this.

    I also should have prefaced my comments with the presumption that Carolina loses this weekend. I will go back and update the entry with this.

  9. Mr. O 11/22/2005 at 1:17 PM #

    Nashville would be a great place for us to end up. Is that game on a weekend?

    Boise is likely IF we win and probably where we deserve to go.

  10. Trout 11/22/2005 at 1:26 PM #

    Mr O: You would love Nashville. Very easy drive from Atlanta. I made it every week for 6 months for a project.

    Nashville is another example of a lower bowl being a better destination than an upper bowl (Peach better than Gator, Charlotte better than Champs, Nashville better than Boise).

  11. Trout 11/22/2005 at 1:28 PM #

    “Fairness would say BC to Champs. Open market would say Clemson to Champs. Who wins?”

    Open market should win, IMO. Champs stepped up their payday, they have the right to the earlier pick, they should be able to pick whomever they want.

  12. Trout 11/22/2005 at 1:32 PM #

    “another example of a lower bowl being a better destination than an upper bowl”

    And I mean from a NC State fan’s perspective. Other conference fans may feel differently.

  13. J.R. 11/22/2005 at 3:41 PM #

    If State plays in Boise, they lose. They proved that they are a wimpy team in the cold weather when they went to BC. Boise will be even colder, with probable snow. On another note, the bowl tie-ins need to be amended soon. I know the ACC is a bit down this year, but in a few years these match-ups will be mismatches. For example the gator bowl pits the ACCs 2nd best team against the big easts 2nd best team. That is not a game I want to see this year, let alone in future. Does anyone know if any changes are in store for the bowl tie-ins??

  14. J.R. 11/22/2005 at 3:43 PM #

    Well this year, Louisville may get that bid, so that might not be too bad but you see what I’m saying…I hope.

  15. Jeff 11/22/2005 at 4:21 PM #


    As long as Boise doen’t water an artificial field prior to the game (like in Boston), the Pack may have a better chance.

    Additionally, the Bowl alignment has been changed for next year. You can see it by clicking here.

  16. J.R. 11/22/2005 at 4:31 PM #

    If the field was wet, both teams still had to play on it. I also believe that it is common for those types of fields to be watered down before the game. Did you see our guys huddled around the heaters, with most guys wearing sleeves. BC didn’t have heaters. That says a lot in my opinion. Thanks for the link.

  17. Jeff 11/22/2005 at 4:41 PM #

    If “both teams playing on the same surface” is an equalizer…then why did they have to water the field? Those fields are definitely moistened for the rubber pellets that comprise te turf. They are not typically waterd FOR A GAME.

    Your point about the cold weather is understood. Then again, if both teams have to play in the cold weather…then what does it matter? 🙂

    Of course…if we don’t play well inthe cold this weekend….none of it is going to matter.

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