Brian: Many of the mainstream media sites have updated their bowl projections after last week's ACC upset city weekend. ESPN is split between Florida State and Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, and CBS Sports has fully jumped on the Seminole bandwagon. We give you our take on the ACC bowls halfway through the season in a game of Food Chain.
Food Chain: Midseason ACC Bowl Projections
We consider these 10 ACC teams and list where we think each of these teams is going when bowling season comes around. (Here is where we thought these teams were going bowling before the season began). Of course, no bowl projection would be complete without us telling you how we think the rest of the ACC season is going to play out ...
Clemson (3-4, 1-3)
Brian: Hard to believe the presumptive preseason ACC champion will not go bowling this year, but that's exactly what is going to happen. Since Clemson went ahead and scheduled two I-AA teams on their schedule this year, only one of those wins counts towards bowl eligibility. As a result, the Tigers need to win 4 of their last 5 games to become bowl eligible (pushing their overall record to 7-5). With road trips to Boston College, Florida State and Virginia, and a home ACC game against Duke, Clemson could knock off a few of these teams, but it's highly unlikely that they will win out the rest of their ACC schedule. Even in-state rival South Carolina is going to give the Tigers all they have at the end of the season. Our bold prediction: The Tigers finish 6-6 (4-4) but only 5 of those wins count towards bowl eligibility and Clemson is golfing come December.
Miami (FL) (4-3, 1-2)
Jeff: Miami needs two more wins to become bowl eligible and there first chance to get one of those is this weekend when they host Wake Forest. The Canes are favored in that game. There next most likely chance is when they travel to NC State at the end of the season. Other games include Virginia Tech, @ Georgia Tech and @ Virginia. Given the schedule, 7-5 is the best I can see Miami finishing, but most likely 6-6.
Florida State (5-1, 2-1)
Brian: I am projecting the Seminoles to only win 3 of their remaining 6 games (and 3 of their remaining 5 ACC games). Their toughest slate of games is ahead of them - with road trips to Georgia Tech and Maryland, and home games against Virginia Tech, Boston College and Clemson. I'll say they beat Virginia Tech this weekend, beat Clemson at home and split their remaining road trips to Atlanta/College Park. That will leave the Seminoles at 5-3 in the ACC and needing help to punch their ticket to Tampa.
Georgia Tech (6-1, 3-1)
Jeff: Virginia Tech is just thrilled that they were able to come away with a win against the Yellow Jackets earlier this year. No one wants to play Georgia Tech anymore. They still need Virginia Tech to drop one more game so that Georgia Tech can control their ACC destiny, but that is very likely to happen as Brian predicts a Virginia Tech loss again this weekend (see below). Paul Johnson's crew still has Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State and Miami in the ACC. Not to mention their big rivalry game against Georgia at the end of the year. They have a very good chance to go to Tampa but will drop at least one more game this year.
Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-1)
Brian: Can Virginia Tech find it's legs on offense? Given the 9 points the Hokie offense generated in Chestnut Hill last weekend, suddenly the preseason darling of the Coastal Division's remaining ACC schedule looks that more daunting. Virginia Tech's remaining 5 games - all ACC games - are two road trips to Florida (FSU and Miami) and home games against Maryland, Duke and Virginia. I am hard-pressed to find more than 3 wins in the Hokies remaining 5 games. FSU, Maryland and Virginia are all playing good football, and Virginia Tech v. Miami is always a hard fought, close battle. To me, it's a coin flip for the Hokies finishing either 5-3 or 6-2 in the ACC this year.
Maryland (4-2, 2-1)
Jeff: Maryland's next big game is when they head to Blacksburg the first Thursday in November. Through attrition, the Terps will probably have inched into the Top 25 by then but I fully expect a loss in that game. After that they host North Carolina and Florida State before heading to Chestnut Hill. Maryland is likely to drop one of two there and be 4-3 in conference heading to Chestnut Hill. At 5-3, they might still have a shot at heading to Tamps this year so the game in Chestnut Hill may very well be for the right to represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship game.
Wake Forest (4-2, 2-1)
Brian: The red flags for Wake Forest had to go up after their home loss to Navy. Much has been written about Wake Forest's talented, experienced offense, but suddenly they can't move the football. The Deacons have 1 touchdown in their first three ACC games! The rest of the ACC games might appear winnable at first glance, but there are a few traps on the schedule, starting this Saturday in Miami where Wake is currently a 3 point underdog. We can see Wake slipping up against a suddenly resurgent Virginia as well. The rest of the games are Duke and Boston College at home, and North Carolina State on the road. I'm going to predict Wake goes 5-3 but stays home for this year's ACC Championship Game. Their offensive struggles over their first three games in a decidedly defensive league are too much to overlook to pencil them in to Tampa.
North Carolina (5-2, 1-2)
Jeff: The Tar Heels have been bit by the injury bug as many teams have and unfortunately took a huge step back in the ACC by losing to Virginia last week. This is only their second loss but since those losses came to Virginia and Virginia Tech it basically eliminates them from Coastal Division contention. One more (which will hopefully come Saturday) will eliminate them from contention for sure. North Carolina's next three games are Boston College, Georgia Tech and Maryland so there is certainly a chance they go 0-3 in that stretch before having their Tobacco Road rivalry games to finish the season.
Boston College (5-1, 2-1)
Brian: It's a 4 game season for BC now. While a win in Chapel Hill will help BC in the polls and the BCS standings (currently on the outside looking in ...), it doesn't mean anything to the Atlantic Division race now since everyone in the Atlantic has at least 1 league loss through 3 games. The games that matter are the Eagles road trips to Tallahassee and Winston-Salem, and our home games against Clemson and Maryland. Run the table in the Atlantic and the Eagles are Tampa bound. While we could be favored in every one of those 4 games and could win all 4 of those games, I think we will get tripped up in one of those games. The key is which game will it be? I'm going to predict that we win both of our home games against reeling Clemson and Maryland, beat the Noles in Doak Campbell but fall to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Wake has had our number at home the last 4 years. Still, if the Eagles go 4-1 in their remaining 5 ACC games, we project Wake Forest to lose 2 other games and finish 1 loss behind BC.
Virginia (4-3, 2-1)
Jeff: Virginia controls their own destiny in the ACC Coastal. The Cavalier's lone ACC loss came to Duke but that will not be a factor in any potential Coastal Division tiebreakers. Virginia still has road games at Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech with two home games against Miami and Clemson in there so the schedule is not even close to easy but controlling your own destiny at this point in the season is important. I predict Virginia loses to Georgia Tech this weekend and therefore sits home and looks for help from other teams the rest of the way but I still see them winning 3 of their last 5 conference games and having a nice season finishing 5-3 in the ACC, but a poor 7-5 record overall.
Brian's Food Chain
1. Orange Bowl - Boston College - please, please, please let this be the year ... we either avenge our home loss to Georgia Tech or beat Virginia Tech more decisively than we did last week
2. Chick-Fil-A Bowl nee Peach Bowl - Virginia Tech - The Hokies finish 6-2 or 5-3, finish 1 game behind everyone else in the ACC and given the Hokies travel rep, this is a no-brainer
3. Gator Bowl - Georgia Tech
4. Champs Sports Bowl - Florida State - Florida bowl, Florida team ... a short 4 hour drive down I-75 for the Noles
5. Meineke Car Care Bowl - Wake Forest - Carolina bowl, Carolina team
6. Music City Bowl - Maryland
7. Emerald Bowl - North Carolina - Butch Davis has this team going in the right direction, and that starts with a bowl appearance in his 2nd year
8. Humanitarian Bowl - Virginia - Al Groh saves his job?
9. Eagle Bank Bowl - Miami (FL) - Miami just happy to get to 6 wins and bowling, this bowl really wants Maryland against Navy, but I just don't think the Terps will fall this far.
Jeff's Food Chain
1. Orange Bowl - the winner of Georgia Tech vs. Boston College
2. Chick-Fil-A Bowl - Florida State
3. Gator Bowl - Virginia Tech
4. Champs Sports Bowl - the loser of Georgia Tech vs. Boston College
5. Meineke Car Care Bowl - North Carolina
6. Music City Bowl - Maryland
7. Emerald Bowl - Virginia
8. Humanitarian Bowl - Wake Forest - I think Wake's season is headed downhill fast.
9. Eagle Bank Bowl - Miami (FL)
There is our list. Leave your thoughts in the comments section.