What does that mean for the Hokies and the rest of the ACC? Well, let’s take a look.
Clemson is all but guaranteed a spot in the Orange Bowl, which isn’t contractually obligated to take an ACC replacement team. But remember, the ACC and the bowl have an agreement in future years. They usually take care of each other. Most projections have the Tigers playing Ohio State in Miami.
The big question is: what happens with the Chick-fil-A and Russell Athletic Bowls? They get the next two picks in the ACC pecking order, and Duke (10-3, 6-2 ACC), Miami (9-3, 5-3 ACC) and Virginia Tech (8-4, 5-3 ACC) are the prime candidates.
Duke is a Cinderella story, although Saturday’s 45-7 blowout loss to Florida State in the ACC championship game certainly takes some glow off of its candidacy.
Miami hasn’t been to a bowl game in either of the last two years because of self-imposed bans and has a national name recognition that would be attractive to folks looking for a TV draw.
Then there’s Virginia Tech, which still isn’t quite as good as it has been in the last decade but still is a recognizable name that usually has traveled well to bowl games.
So who goes to Atlanta, Orlando and El Paso? The smart money is still on the Sun Bowl. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm, who usually does a pretty good job with his projections, still has the Hokies going to El Paso to play UCLA. So does Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel.
While the Sun Bowl still seems likely, there always seems to be some last-minute jockeying for position, as the Hokies’ inclusion to the Sugar Bowl a few years back shows. Tech and the ACC won’t officially be able to make a bowl announcement until after tonight’s BCS selection show begins, which isn’t until 8:45 p.m., but word usually leaks out before then.