ACC Bowls a Strike: Conference Sends 10 Teams to Bowl Games

Chris WhitmoreCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2008

In bowling, 10 pins down is a strike.  Simple.  In college football, for a conference to send 10 teams to bowls is more of a feat. 

The ACC just bowled a strike.

Filling all nine of its bowl tie-ins and sending N.C. State out as an at-large, the ACC is being represented by the most of any conference with 10 teams spanning the U.S. this December and January. 

Eagle Bank Bowl: Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Navy (8-4)

Dec. 20, 11am on ESPN

The first ACC bowl game of the season features a rematch from the regular season, when Navy came into Wake Forest and optioned their way into a 24-17 upset of the Demon Deacs.  Wake looks to salvage a mediocre season that saw ACC title aspirations but fell to a mere 7-5 record and a 4-4 ACC conference record.

Meineke Car Care Bowl: UNC (8-4) vs. West Virginia (8-4)

Dec. 27, 1pm on ESPN

West Virginia came into Bill Stewart's first season as their head coach with higher aspirations than to spend their bowl season in North Carolina.  UNC appears in the first bowl game since 2004 and are vastly improved during the second year under Butch Davis—they finished 4-8 in 2007.

Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State (8-4) vs. Wisconsin (7-5)

Dec. 27, 4:30pm on ESPN

This isn't the Gator Bowl, where many Noles felt they should have gone, but it is an improvement over the Emerald Bowl and Music City Bowl, where they spent their last two Decembers.  Wisconsin is looking to end their season on a high note after suffering a four-game losing streak in the middle of the season and blowouts from Penn State and Iowa. 

Emerald Bowl: Miami (7-5) vs. Cal (8-4)

Dec. 27, 8pm on ESPN

Cal did not fare too well in their last meeting against an ACC school, when they fell to Maryland 35-27 back in September.  But this game is closer to home.  Much closer.  Miami spent last bowl season at home and wants to show the college football world they are rising to the top again after being in the ACC hunt toward the end of the season. Bowl: N.C. State (6-6) vs. Rutgers (7-5)

Dec. 29, 3pm on ESPN

This bowl should renamed Teams-you-thought-wouldn't-be-in-a-bowl-game-Bowl.  Heading into November, N.C. State was a lowly 2-6 and Rutgers was 3-5.  But both teams turned their entire seasons around in November by going undefeated for that month.

Humanitarian Bowl: Maryland (7-5) vs. Nevada (7-5)

Dec. 30, 4:30pm on ESPN

Maryland was in the ACC mix until the second to last week of the season, but after losing their final two games to FSU and Boston College, they're going bowling on the infamous blue turf on Idaho.  With Idaho not exactly being the ideal destination for a winter bowl game, the Terps will most likely play to end their season on a win and not a three-game losing streak.

Music City Bowl: Boston College (9-4) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6)

Dec. 31, 3:30pm on ESPN

Once again, Boston College is not ACC Champion.  Although the Music City Bowl is not the best place for the losers of the ACC Championship Game, it is financially wise to bank that Boston College fans would not travel to Florida for a higher tier bowl for the third time this season.  Vanderbilt began the season as the media darlings of the SEC before fading into obscurity and being overshadowed in the SEC by Florida. 

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Georgia Tech (9-3) vs. LSU (7-5)

Dec. 31, 7:30pm on ESPN

LSU continued the trend of SEC National Champions not going to a BCS game the following season. Following their 2003 National Championship, LSU lost to Iowa in the Capital One Bowl the following season.  Florida followed up their 2006 National Championship with another Capital One Bowl loss in 2007 to Michigan.  At least this LSU team is not going there for their bowl.

Georgia Tech stays in Atlanta for the bowl season and looks to cap their first option season with a 10-win season.

Gator Bowl: Clemson (7-5) vs. Nebraska (8-4)

Jan. 1, 1pm on CBS

Many college football fans from the late '80s and early '90s were excited at the rumored FSU vs. Nebraska match p.  But Clemson travels—and travels well.  New Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney wants to show why he was the best choice for the job by leading Clemson to their first bowl win since 2005.

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech (9-4) vs. Cincinnati (11-2)

Jan. 1st 8:30pm on FOX

Note to Virginia Tech: Please win.  The ACC has not won a BCS game since Florida State did in 2000 for their 1999 National Championship.  The ACC and Big East will square off after being ridiculed all season as the two worst conferences.  Both teams want to prove they are worthy of being in a BCS game.