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Dec
08
2016

Ranking the 2016 ACC Bowl Games.

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1. College Football Playoff semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 31, Glendale, Ariz.): No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State

What’s not like about this game? It’s a national semi-final between two of the best teams in the country. Deshaun Watson for Clemson and J.T. Barrett for Ohio State at QB are going to do battle in what should be a fantastic high stakes game. Urban Meyer will try to improve on his 1-2 record against the ACC as Buckeye head coach. You may not have known that. The winner of this game will be a real threat to beat Alabama in the National Title Game. Sorry Washington…

2. Capital One Orange Bowl (Dec. 30, Miami Gardens, Fla.): No. 11 Florida State vs. No. 6 Michigan

I really like this game. Both Florida State and Michigan are just a notch below the 4 playoff teams, and proved they could play with them. FSU nearly beat Clemson and Michigan almost knocked off Ohio State and did beat near playoff team Penn State. Dalvin Cook and Jabrill Peppers – yes more please.

3. Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (Dec. 31, Orlando, Fla.): No. 13 Louisville vs. No. 20 LSU

You like Cook and Peppers? How about Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and LSU’s Leonard Fournette for you? Hopefully Fournette will be 100% for the game. These are two teams that at times looked liked playoff teams. Louisville and LSU had their up and downs this year, but a win for either would be a great spring board for next year.

4. Belk Bowl (Dec. 29, Charlotte, N.C.): Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas

This is a very intriguing game. There should be a ton of Hokie fans in Charlotte. Arkansas has some offense, and will be a test for Bud Foster’s group. I’d expect a very competitive fun game to watch in this one.

5. Russell Athletic Bowl (Dec. 29, Orlando, Fla.): Miami vs. West Virginia

These are two teams forgotten nationally after losses in the mid-season, but I like this matchup. Miami quietly won their final 4 games and could have a 9 win season in Mark Richt’s first season. That would be a successful first season for him. West Virginia comes into the game with 10 wins and has been one of the better teams in the maligned Big 12. Miami and West Virginia fans should provide a good atmosphere down in Orlando.

6. Hyundai Sun Bowl (Dec. 30, El Paso, Texas): No. 18 Stanford vs. North Carolina

These are two teams headed in opposite directions. Stanford won their final 5 games. North Carolina lost 2 of their final 3 games in ugly fashion to Duke and NC State. You know Stanford will be physical and tough. Hey Larry Fedora – please don’t forget about Elijah Hood in this one.

7.  TaxSlayer Bowl (Dec. 31, Jacksonville, Fla.): Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky

This might be the most underrated bowl game featuring an ACC team. In the last 3 weeks of the season, Georgia Tech and Kentucky had wins over Virginia Tech, Georgia, and Louisville. Both teams can run the ball, and this could be the shortest bowl game of the year.  I have a feeling this will be an exciting throwback type football when the rushing the ball was all the rage.

8. New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 28, New York): Pitt vs. Northwestern

I have this game a little further down the list, because well… Pittsburgh could run away in this one. The Panthers were a dynamite offensive team this year. I don’t see Northwestern keeping it close at all.

9. Camping World Independence Bowl (Dec. 26, Shreveport, La.): NC State vs. Vanderbilt

Could Dave Doeren really finish the season with wins over UNC and Bowl win? They nearly beat Clemson too. Vanderbilt has wins over Georgia and Tennessee. Both teams finished 6-6, but are capable of playing at a high level. This could be a sneaky good game, between two evenly matched teams.

10. Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 26, Detroit): Boston College vs. Maryland

From October 8 to November 26, Maryland won 1 game. The Terps are a bad team. Boston College won 2 ACC games. They aren’t very good either. This is a game only a mother could love, and one that will be hard on the eyes.

11. Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (Dec. 27, Annapolis, Md.): Wake Forest vs. Temple

Temple just lost their head coach Matt Ruhle to Baylor, but that is a 10 win team. Wake Forest got bowl eligible, but ended the season on a 3 game losing streak, and played their best football early in the year.

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