Currently Eligible (listed in predicted “pecking order”):
Clemson 11-1 (remaining schedule: vs Miami)
Miami 10-1 (remaining schedule: vs Clemson)
*Notre Dame 9-3 -- With their third loss, they’re out of the New Year’s Six and into the ACC bowl hierarchy.
Virginia Tech 9-3
NC State 8-4
Wake Forest 7-5
Boston College 7-5
Florida State 5-6 (remaining schedule: vs ULM)
Georgia Tech 5-6 (possible waiver due to cancelled game)
North Carolina 3-9
College Football Playoff
Karl’s Picks: Clemson, Oklahoma, Auburn, Wisconsin
Karl’s Comments: It feels like this is the first week where our CFP fields have really diverged. I finally made the switch to Clemson over Miami when the ‘Canes reminded me you don’t want to count on Mark Richt in a big game. I made the flip from Ohio State to Wisconsin because the Badgers just feel right this year and JT Barrett’s gimpy knee will limit the Buckeyes just enough on offense.
Kendall’s Picks: Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio State
Kendall’s Comments: I’m changing my tune on a couple of things: 1) Clemson over Miami and 2) Ohio State over Wisconsin. This is after I’ve been on the Hurricanes and Badgers since Karl and I started doing this. I just kinda feel like the more talented teams will bubble to the surface, and that’s Clemson and Ohio State. Alabama, meanwhile, finishes #5, just outside of the playoff. Joy to the world, all the boys and girls. Bama’s loss to Auburn probably galvanizes Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Ohio State in their conference championship games, actually. The door feels wide open, suddenly. Horror situation for all ACC fans would be Miami beating Clemson in Charlotte -- in which case I think the ACC is left out of the College Football Playoff!
*** ACC CHAMP (or runner-up if the champ is in the CFP)***
Orange Bowl (ACC vs. B1G/SEC/Notre Dame), Miami FL, Dec. 30
Karl’s Pick: Miami vs Alabama
Karl’s Comments: This promises to be a monster of a game on the hype scale. On the field, Saban and company have the potential to smother Miami. It should be fun no matter how it goes down.
Kendall’s Pick: Miami vs Penn State
Kendall’s Comments: Too good of a pairing for Orange Bowl officials to pass up.
Citrus Bowl (if ACC faces a B1G team in Orange Bowl, ACC takes the B1G Citrus Bowl spot), Orlando FL, Jan. 1.
Karl’s Pick: N/A
Karl’s Comments: With Bama getting the Orange Bowl spot, I don’t get to slot an ACC team / Notre Dame in this game.
Kendall’s Pick: Notre Dame vs LSU
Kendall’s Comments: I mean, c’mon. This is no-brainer, must-see TV. With three-loss Notre Dame outside the NY6, it’s clear that they’ll leapfrog over Virginia Tech for this near-marquee Citrus Bowl slot.
*** ACC RUNNER-UP (if no ACC team in CFP) ***
Camping World Bowl (ACC vs. Big XII), Orlando FL, Dec. 28
Karl’s Pick: Notre Dame vs Iowa State
Karl’s Comments: Notre Dame’s limp to the finish really shakes up the bowl field. In my universe, TCU benefits taking a New Year’s Six slot from the Irish (Cotton Bowl) and throws the Irish into the ACC selection process. I’m not a fan of the Irish at all but I’m more than happy to bump the Hokies from their most likely landing spot if I didn’t have to account for the Irish. The Irish swoon at the end also impacts the Big 12 opponent in this game. With TCU in the NY6, Oklahoma State gets the promotion to the Alamo Bowl leaving the Camping World Bowl to pick between Iowa State, Kansas State, West Virginia, and Texas. I rewarded the Cyclones for their breakthrough season.
Kendall’s Pick: Virginia Tech vs Texas
Kendall’s Comments: Tech gets a weaker Texas team instead of the Big XII’s true #3 team (Oklahoma State), due to TCU making it into the New Year’s Six and moving the Big XII pecking order up a notch. (West Virginia would be an ideal fit here, if not for the Hokies and Mountaineers having already faced off at the beginning of the season.)
*** TIER 1 ACC TIE-INS ***
TaxSlayer Bowl (ACC vs. SEC), Jacksonville FL, Dec. 30
(Note that this could be the Music City Bowl instead.)
Karl’s Pick: Virginia Tech vs Mississippi State
Karl’s Comments: Skoal Bowl 1: VT vs Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway. Skoal Bowl 2: VT vs West Virginia at FedEx Field. Skoal Bowl 3: VT vs Mississippi State in Jacksonville, a fitting city to complete the Redneck Trilogy.
Kendall’s Pick: Louisville vs South Carolina
Kendall’s Comments: I think Lamar Jackson keeps Louisville high in the ACC bowl game pecking order, maybe even… gasp… helping the Cardinals to leapfrog Virginia Tech. Nah, the Cards’ll head to Jacksonville for another compelling game against the SEC.
Belk Bowl (ACC vs. SEC), Charlotte NC, Dec. 29
Karl’s Pick: NC State vs Missouri
Karl’s Comments: Notre Dame allows the Belk Bowl to hit the attendance lottery when the Wolfpack fall to them. This won’t give the ‘Pack the signature win they want (and need for validation?) but it’s still a winnable matchup against a SEC program.
Kendall’s Pick: NC State vs Kentucky
Kendall’s Comments: The Belk Bowl counts on NC State to try to fill the 75,000 seats in Bank of America Stadium for a ho-hum game against UK. (The Pack brought 46K in 2015.)
Sun Bowl (ACC vs. Pac-12), El Paso TX, Dec. 29
Karl’s Pick: Louisville vs Arizona State
Karl’s Comments: I believe my pick has come full circle here. Lamar Jackson should put up silly numbers in his college finale against the rudderless Sun Devils. Karma finally caught up to Todd Graham.
Kendall’s Pick: Florida State vs Arizona
Kendall’s Comments: I still think Zona’s Khalil Tate is the draw here. Pit him against a marquee name like FSU, and hope the viewers tune in. (Meanwhile, I really don’t understand the Sun Bowl tie-in for the ACC. I mean, El Paso? The Liberty Bowl in Nashville, the Hawaii Bowl, the Bahamas Bowl, the St. Pete Bowl in St. Petersberg, the Boca Raton Bowl, the New Orleans Bowl, the Cure Bowl in Orlando, the Las Vegas Bowl… surely one of these lesser bowls could accommodate an ACC tie-in with a conference swap with the Sun Bowl. Why doesn’t the ACC trade its Sun Bowl slot to the Mountain West in exchange for their Hawaii Bowl slot? Why doesn’t the ACC trade its Sun Bowl slot to the Big XII in exchange for their Liberty Bowl slot? No ACC team or fanbase relishes a trip to El Paso for a second-rate bowl game, sorry. These lower-tier bowl tie-ins need to make more geographic sense, in my opinion. ACC tie-ins to the Belk, Pinstripe, and Military Bowls make perfect sense. The Sun Bowl makes zero sense.)
Fuck it, while I’m on this tirade, here are some potential sites that should feature ACC bowl tie-ins:
FedEx Field in Landover, MD
M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore
Heinz Field in Pittsburgh
Lincoln Financial Field in Philly
Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (we no longer have the dedicated Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl tie-in)
Pinstripe Bowl (ACC vs. B1G), Bronx NY, Dec. 27
Karl’s Pick: Boston College vs Iowa
Karl’s Comments: BC makes all the sense in the world for the ACC here. The B1G’s rep will be either Iowa or Purdue. I’m determined to make the BC vs Iowa contest happen, so I’m sticking with the pick.
Kendall’s Pick: Boston College vs Purdue
Kendall’s Comments: Two up-and-coming programs? Two up-and-coming programs. (I like Steve Addazio, and I love Jeff Brohm.)
*** TIER 2 ACC TIE-INS ***
ACC #7 Military Bowl (ACC vs. American), Annapolis MD, Dec. 28
Kendall’s Pick: Wake Forest vs USF
Kendall’s Comments: We just miss out on the coveted Military Bowl slot, because Wake is a winning team at 7-5, and Wake has *gulp* the better draw right now? I really think our horrendous home attendance figures have spooked bowl execs. Hope I’m wrong, because I *REALLY* want to be in Annapolis on December 28th.
Karl’s Pick: Wake Forest vs USF
Karl’s Comments: I think Kendall is right about Wake taking the spot from Virginia. It sucks but we’re in no position to complain about our landing spot this year. The AAC gets a ton of latitude in where they slot their teams and their commissioner, Mike Aresco, loves to promote the league as on par with the other Power 5 conferences. They roll the dice and slot the Bulls against an ACC team to try to steal a Power 5 victory for their promotional materials.
ACC #8 Independence Bowl (ACC vs. SEC), Shreveport LA, Dec. 27
Karl’s Pick: Florida State vs Louisiana Tech
Karl’s Comments: I’d rather watch the JUCO National Title Game aka the Mississippi Bowl between Arizona Western and East Mississippi to see UVa dual threat QB targets Bryce Perkins and Lindsey Scott Jr.
Kendall’s Pick: Duke vs UCLA
Kendall’s Comments: What an awful bowl game. In this scenario, it’s nothing more than a Josh Rosen Showcase Spectacular. UCLA is 6-6, but the powers that be (Bowl Game Illuminati?) will find a spot for him against a team he can beat.
ACC #9 Quick Lane Bowl (ACC vs. B1G), Detroit MI, Dec. 26
Karl’s Pick: Virginia vs Northern Illinois
Karl’s Comments: The bowl fates send the Hoos to Detroit this year and I’m just fine with that. Who knows what the hell the MAC will do. They have four bowl tie-ins and a ton of secondary fill-in spots when other conferences can’t provide a team. That’s the case here as the B1G doesn’t have an eligible team for the Quick Lane Bowl. I thought about Akron too but I gave them one of the MAC’s four bowl slots because they won the MAC East. Northern Illinois was the best MAC team left after their top four.
Kendall’s Pick: Virginia vs Akron
Kendall’s Comments: Karl's math is too complicated for me, so bring on the Zips! Frankly, I relish the opportunity to finish 7-5 more than a fun bowl trip against a potentially more dangerous foe. Finishing this season with a winning record is an important step for this program. 6-7 would feel so… hollow.
*** POTENTIAL ACC TIE-IN ***
Gasparilla Bowl (AAC vs C USA), St. Petersburg FL, Dec. 21
Karl’s Pick: Duke vs Southern Miss
Karl’s Comments: Because of my Orange Bowl pick, I didn’t have an ACC team in the Citrus Bowl. As a result, I still have one bowl eligible ACC team needing a landing spot. Luckily for the league, the ACC has a secondary agreement with the Gasparilla Bowl to provide a team if C USA or the AAC cannot. Because UCF will make the Peach Bowl by virtue of being the highest ranked Group of 5 team, the AAC falls one bowl eligible team short. That opens the door for Duke.
Kendall’s Comments: Fuck it, ACC. Punt the Sun Bowl and make our spot in the Gasparilla Bowl an annual thing.
What is “Gasparilla,“ anyway?
From Andrew Silverstein...
"What is Gasparilla?" someone visiting the Tampa area might ask. If you've lived in Tampa for any decent amount of time, you know the Gasparilla Pirate Festival and all the events surrounding it make for one of the biggest annual celebrations in the Tampa Bay Area. Every January, this Downtown Tampa event brings people from Tampa and beyond together for an unforgettable pirate-themed celebration featuring a huge parade, live music, kid-friendly festivities, and much more. But, how it all started seems like kind of a mystery to many of us. So, why exactly do we celebrate Gasparilla? For this we've got to examine Gasparilla history.
The history of Gasparilla starts with the name. The name Gasparilla was born from Jose Gaspar, a pirate who terrorized the coastal waters of West Florida during the late 18th and early 19th century. Fond on calling himself "Gasparilla", Gaspar and his band of pirates lived a life of seizing and robbing merchant ships off the Gulf Coast until 1821.
Ready to divide their riches and finally disband to lives of luxury, Gaspar and his crew decided to seize one last ship before calling it a day. Unbeknownst to them, this ship was a United States Navy warship in disguise. A bloody battle ensued before the U.S. Navy ship crew reigned victorious and finally ended the long, thieving career of the legendary Jose Gaspar.
The story of the often-mysterious Gaspar circulated around the Tampa area. In 1904, city officials and civic leaders decided to finally celebrate this victory over evil by adopting Gaspar as the patron rogue of this new, city-wide celebration. But, the history of Gasparilla doesn't end there.
Secret meetings led to the development of the first Gasparilla krewe, "Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla", who would make Gasparilla history by surprising Tampa residents with a mock pirate attack on the city that is now known as the Pirate Invasion today.
The Pirate Invasion was much different back then. In Gasparilla's first few years the invasion was composed of masked krewe members on horseback instead of the classic pirate ship we see today.
The mock invasion was so successful that city officials decided to turn Gasparilla into the huge, annual event we know it as now.
Today's pirate invasion involves the world's only fully-rigged pirate ship, manned by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla,which creeps into the bay at the beginning of the festival to "attack" Tampa Bay. A number of pleasure crafts intent on defending the city from Gaspar's mock pirate ship make their way out to the pirate before realizing they're in way over their heads and joining the ship in an all-out invasion. They all dock at the Tampa Convention Center to meet the mayor who's only choice is to surrender the key to the city to this massive pirate crew.
With key in hand, the pirate krewe takes over the city with the celebratory Gasparilla Festival and Knight Parade we all enjoy today.
So now you know; this is why we celebrate Gasparilla.
Okay, yeah, that’s fucking rad. ACC, go ahead and do it: Punt the stupid-ass Sun Bowl and get us a regular, formalized slot in the Gasparilla Bowl!