Another week has passed in the Atlantic Coast Conference and it is once again time to check on which programs are looking good to get to a bowl game and which ones are slipping away from that goal in what I am call… “ACC’s Balling to the Bowls”.
First off let’s say that as of now the conference has five bowl eligible squads, three of them ranked, which means they are a lock for a post season game, with Duke (6-2), who should be in, but with one more win will secure themselves their second bowl birth in as many years. The Blue Devils have the week off, with their remaining schedule composed by NC State and Miami at home before ending with Wake and UNC on the road. Can Duke find a win in that quartet of games? Probably, but it would also not surprise me if they did not.
Once again this week will feature a match up of two undefeated squads in the Top 10, with the battle of the sunshine state, as #3 Florida State take on #7 Miami (Fl), both with seven wins in 2013. The one taking this one might just be the front runner to getting the BCS birth for the ACC. This will be once again the featured night game on ABC, and hopefully it is not the lopsided mess that FSU/Clemson was a few weeks back.
Clemson, who is ranked at number 8, is at 7 and 1 on the year, while slipping from the ranked squads is Virginia Tech, who was upset by Duke this past weekend, with a 6 and 2 record.
For the last four programs mentioned, if they were to lose the rest of the season they would still be heading to the post season. For Duke that too could be true, while for the rest of the conference there is work to do, beginning with…
Georgia Tech (5-3) is the next squad on the verge of at least a .500 season. With Pitt at home, followed by #8 Clemson on the road, then Alabama A&M at home and Georgia on the road the path to two games is visible, but definitely one win is achievable.
A team that also has 5 wins (along with 3 losses) and probably has an easier path to seven wins is Maryland. The Terps have Syracuse at home, VA Tech on the road, Boston College at home and NC State away. Both SU and BC should be wins for Maryland and that should set them to a seven wins for the season.
And now we get to the four win level, first with Pittsburgh (4-3) who has five games left, two against ranked teams in #25 Notre Dame and #7 Miami, along with Ga Tech on the road, North Carolina at home and Syracuse on the road as well. Doubtful that the Panthers will grab a win against the ranked squads, so they need to get two wins out of the remaining three, which can be done, but is not assured.
The other four win squad is Wake Forest, 4 and 4, and their road to six wins is also not an easy one. Syracuse on the road, followed by #3 FSU at home, then Duke at home and closing out the year with a road trip to Vanderbilt. While SU can be considered a win, FSU is definitely a loss, Duke might be coming into that game looking for its seventh win, and will not be a push over, and Vandy has played two Top 25 teams in S. Carolina and Georgia and kept both games respectable.
All the other teams are below .500 and are on the outside looking in right now. One game that will definitely be key for two teams in the conference is the rivalry battle in Tobacco Road as North Carolina (2-5) and N.C. State (3-4) battle it out. For the Heels this is a must win if they hope to find six wins on the season and for the Wolfpack this could easily be one of three games they have to win in order to achieve a .500 record.
The Heels probably shattered the hopes of Boston College to have a six win season last weekend, defeating them 34-10. Can they do the same this week? Only time will tell. Make sure you come back this Saturday morning to check out my predictions on the games for week ten in the ACC.
Plenty of games left in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and with each week you will see if any team gets closer to a bowl birth or if the slip farther and farther away from playing in December/January. And each and every week you can check out who those teams might be in the “ACC’s Balling for the Bowls” post right here on AllSportsDiscussion!