So the bowl season has arrived and eight ACC teams will take to the field to defend the honor of the conference and collect goody bags of small personal electronics for the players. The latter is most likely a bigger deal to the participants than the former.
Champs Sports Bowl: #14 Boston College vs Michigan State
This is the Bowl for Misfit Fan Bases, at least that is the case for BC who no one wanted because the fans do not travel. The interesting thing about BC is they have the longest bowl winning streak in the nation despite the fact their fans fail to show up. And since I think BC basically got demoted to a lower bowl because of the fan issue, they should take care of Michigan State.
BC 30 MSU 21
Emerald Bowl: Maryland vs Oregon State
Who are we kidding here, Maryland does not have a prayer. Well maybe that is a little strong but since Maryland is 6-6 playing an 8-4 Beaver team which beat Cal and Oregon I would say the odds do not favor the Terps.
OSU 28 Maryland 13
Car Care Bowl: Wake Forest vs #25 UConn
This is an intriguing matchup and should make for a good game. UConn was a surprise this season in much the same way Wake Forest was last season. The interesting thing about these two teams is they both lost to UVa 17-16 and that tells us absolutely nothing about how they might do versus one another. Wake actually beat UConn last year on their way to the Orange Bowl and I like Wake here being the more experienced team with a slight home field advantage playing in Charlotte.
Wake Forest 17 UConn 16
Humanitarian Bowl: Georgia Tech vs Fresno State
So the Jackets end up with the short end of the ACC stick and get shipped to Boise to play on the blue field. The Jackets go in with defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta as acting head coach while Paul Johnson gets to watch on TV and wonder what the heck he has gotten himself into. At least he was spared the Reggie Ball years.
GT 22 Fresno State 16
Music City Bowl: Florida State vs Kentucky
I thought UK was favored in this game and since FSU had to suspend 34 players for academic violations connected to an internet class there is a good chance this game will be ugly on so many levels. It is painfully obvious that Bobby Bowden has lost control of the program and is nothing more than a figurehead while Chuck Amato runs the day-to-day operations as Chief Executive Associate Head Coach or something like that. Why Jimbo Fisher decided to hitch his wagon to this train without some kind secret assurance that Bowden would be done within a year is a genuine mystery.
UK 38 FSU 17
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: #15 Clemson vs #23 Auburn
Otherwise known as the Tommys Who Spurned Arkansas Bowl. I think this portends to be the best matchup simply because I think the Georgia Dome will be evenly divided with fans from both sides and it will be a great atmosphere. You are also talking about two very good teams from the ACC and SEC which should make it one of the better bowl games of the season. Clemson comes in playing better football with the exception of the loss to BC. I also think there is a fair amount of pressure on Tommy Bowden to deliver something since he got a nice fat million dollar raise.
Clemson 24 Auburn 21
Gator Bowl: #20 Virginia vs Texas Tech
Talk about a game of opposites. Here you have a team in UVa who is wholly incapable of producing a discernible offense unless they are playing someone who keeps turning the ball over Miami did in the Orange Bowl. Texas Tech on the other hand loves to score points. So there is no way of really knowing where this game might go and UVa's hopes largely hinge how well their defense plays. Despite the record and ranking, the undercurrent of thought is that UVa is more defined by the 23-3 loss to Wyoming than the rest of their body of work. This bowl is a good chance to prove that theory wrong.
UVa 27 TT 26
Orange Bowl: #3 Virginia Tech vs #8 Kansas
Showcase time for the best team in the ACC. VT was one onside kick recovery from playing in the BCS title game. Now they have drawn "they screwed Missouri and put us here instead" Kansas, the Hokies can cap off one of their best seasons ever with a big win in the Orange Bowl. VT is really a team the took most of the season to gel, especially on offense. This game should be a good test to see how far VT has come.
VT 24 Kansas 21