As we head into bowl season, the ACC has 9 teams that headed towards the post-season. Clemson and Florida State are in Big 6 bowls, so obviously those games are the most important to win, so I want to look at the the non-Big ACC bowls games.
Everybody wants to win their bowl game, but some of the ACC teams need a bowl win worse than others. Let’s find out who.
Duke will play Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl. David Cutcliffe has rebuilt the Duke program. They have new facilities in Durham. The Blue Devils won the ACC Coastal in 2013, so why does it feel like the Blue Devils are starting to tread water? Despite Duke’s recent success, they still haven’t won bowl game under Cutcliffe, A loss to Indiana would drop them to 0-4 in bowls under Cutcliffe. In fact Duke hasn’t beat anyone of note OOC during the Blue Devils last 3 bowl seasons.
I love what Cutcliffe has done at Duke, but it is time to for Duke to prove it can win outside the ACC. A 7-6 finish would be a real disappointment.
For Virginia Tech, beating Tulsa won’t prove the Hokies are ready to challenge for the ACC Title again. There’s one simple reason the Hokies need to beat Tulsa in the Independence Bowl, and that is send Frank Beamer out a winner. The legendary coach deserves the honor of winning his final game, and to be carried off by his team. Beamer made Virginia Tech football. I’d hate to see the Hokies losing, and have that be the way Beamer finishes out his career.
The Tar Heels will face a Baylor team dealing with a slew on injuries on offense. The Bears still have some name recognition, and beating Baylor would validate a Tar Heel season that many have questioned. North Carolina would like nothing better than to finish the season in the top 10, and really show that the 2015 season wasn’t a fluke. It’s been a lot of years since UNC football was relevant, and this bowl win would cap off a very special season in Chapel Hill. Winning also show that you can win and win big at UNC again.