Virginia Tech and Clemson hold the ACC’s reputation in their hands.

It’s been a rough bowl season for the ACC… again. The conference is sitting at 2-4 in the bowl season, and as SouthernTimeGirlsandSports writes it’s now or never for the ACC. I can’t disagree. Florida State came through with a hard fought win over Notre Dame and NC State took care of business against Louisville, and that’s pretty much it. I felt Virginia and Wake Forest would be overmatched against Auburn and Mississippi St, so my harshest criticism goes to North Carolina and Georgia Tech.

The Tar Heels played and were coached like they weren’t even aware they were in a bowl game against Missouri. There was a complete lack of pride and in a disappointing performance. Georgia Tech’s loss to Utah might have been even harder to swallow. The Jackets blew a 24-10 4th qtr lead with under 7 minutes to play. It may have been the single worst series of play calls I ever seen Paul Johnson make. His tentative play calling doomed the Jackets to a 7th straight bowl loss. Fair or not the rest of the conference gets lumped with UNC’s listless effort and Georgia Tech’s late game collapse. Is it Virginia Tech and Clemson to the rescue in the biggest games of them all?

For Virginia Tech and Clemson it isn’t only about the ACC, it’s also about their respective programs. Virginia Tech has been the ACC’s top dog for years, but has repeatedly failed in their biggest non-conference games. It doesn’t help that Virginia Tech’s invite to the Sugar Bowl was highly criticized. Against tradition rich Michigan in the Sugar Bowl, Virginia Tech has the opportunity to erase many of their recent BCS failures and give the ACC a noteworthy OOC win.

Clemson as ACC Champion will represent the conference in the Orange Bowl against West Virginia. The ACC Champion has lost 5 of the last 6 Orange Bowls which has hurt the conference’s reputation. Clemson can help change that with a win. With an 11 win season Clemson can also set itself up for a top 10 finish and likely top 10 ranking to start the 2012 season.

Let me add that Virginia Tech probably would also find itself in many pre-season top 10 rankings if they beat Michigan. That would give the ACC at least 2 and mostly likely 3 teams along with Florida State in the pre-season top 15. NC State may also end up in the pre-season top 25 as well. There’s alot on the line for both schools and for the ACC. Ready to carry the ACC flag nationally? Here’s your chance Virginia Tech and Clemson.   

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