In the penultimate Bowl Projection Spotlight for BCS conferences, we look at the only remaining league with a true championship game: the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The ACC is tied with the SEC for most normal bowl tie-ins, as each have nine apiece. But while the latter will look for its fourth straight National Championship, the former is in the midst of a year of parity.
At the top is Georgia Tech, who survived a three-way Coastal Division war with Miami and Virginia Tech. They’ll play Clemson, who outlasted Boston College in the Atlantic Division, in the title tilt.
But Clemson was one of five teams that finished 8-4 or 9-3, proving that there really isn’t a dominant team in the conference. With Florida State falling off, Duke surprising everyone, and both Wake Forest and North Carolina State barely missing eligibility, it’s a year where anyone could go anywhere.
Realistically, the ACC is more notable for its coaching carousel. Florida State’s bowl game will be the final hurrah for Bobby Bowden, Al Groh has already been fired at Virginia, and Ralph Friedgen was on the hot seat until it was announced this week that he would be back.
Oh, and don’t forget David Cutcliffe, who might be on the verge of a lifetime extension after nearly getting Duke bowl eligible.
As I said, the ACC has nine tie-ins, but only seven teams are eligible—which means that their slots in the EagleBank and GMAC Bowls be forfeited and 6-6 Florida State can be selected by any bowl. That becomes important later.