Orange (Miami): Virginia Tech
The Hokies (9-2) have won nine straight and with the return of running back Ryan Williams, who ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns against Miami this week, they don't have the look of a team that's going to lose in any of its final three games.
The Hokies' opponent in the BCS bowl game will either be Texas Christian or the Big 12 title game loser, either Nebraska or Oklahoma State.
Chick-fil-A (Atlanta): N.C. State
At 8-3, N.C. State's one win away from the Atlantic Division title and a return to Atlanta for the first time since the 1994 season.
State has made seven trips to the Peach Bowl, as it was known pre-corporate sponsor, with a 4-3 record. Its last trip was a 28-24 win over Mississippi State on Jan. 1, 1995.
The Bulldogs (7-4) would likely be the SEC pick, since South Carolina (8-3) is going to Atlanta for the SEC title game on Dec. 4.
Florida State (8-3) would jump the Wolfpack with a win over Florida and an N.C. State loss to Maryland.
Champs (Orlando, Fla.): Florida State
The Seminoles haven't left the state of Florida for a bowl game in three years but the Orlando game can line up Notre Dame (6-5) on one side and the Noles on the other and win at the box office and television ratings.
This would likely be N.C. State if the Pack loses to Maryland and FSU beats Florida but Clemson, with a win over South Carolina, is also a possibility.
Sun (El Paso, Texas): Miami
Miami (7-4) is a colossal disappointment and it has no traveling fan base -- or one that shows up for its home games -- but the Canes can still draw a television number and that's all the Sun Bowl cares about.
Oregon State (5-5), Cal (5-6), Washington (4-6) are the possible Pac-10 opponents but have yet to qualify. The wild card is Notre Dame.
Obviously, CBS would renew the Catholics vs. Convicts series in a heartbeat but Notre Dame (6-5) has to finish 7-5 to qualify for the Pac-10's spot.
The Irish play at USC (7-4), which is banned from the postseason, on Saturday.
Meineke (Charlotte): Clemson
Technically, Charlotte picks before the Music City and has the ability to select UNC, which beat Clemson, but the Tar Heels have been to Charlotte two years in a row and Clemson (6-5) hasn't been yet.
The Tigers, who close with South Carolina, would sell more tickets with a win over the Gamecocks, but a matchup with West Virginia (7-3) would continue bowl executive Will Webb's string of unbelievable luck in finding compelling matchups.
Music City (Nashville): UNC
The Tar Heels (6-5) would be jumped by Maryland (7-4) if UNC loses to Duke and the Terps beat N.C. State. That would trigger the "BC rule" -- which doesn't allow a team with two or more losses to jump ahead in the bowl order.
That also requires UNC losing to Duke, which has happened once in the past 20 years.
On the SEC side, Tennessee (5-6) -- oh the irony, the team that backed out of a regular-season series in 2011 and 2012 with UNC because it was scared to lose -- is closing strong but needs to beat Kentucky (6-5) to qualify.
Georgia (5-6), which has to beat Georgia Tech, is another possibility.
If neither the Vols nor Dawgs qualify, Kentucky would go back to Nashville for the fourth time in five years.
Independence (Shreveport, La.): Georgia Tech
I think they've already started printing tickets for this game between Georgia Tech (6-5) and Air Force (8-4).
They should call it the Time Machine Bowl -- with both teams playing the option, it will look like the 1960s.
Military (Washington): Maryland
The Terps (7-4) need help from Duke to get out of this game at RFK Stadium in D.C.
Short of finishing two games ahead of UNC, the Terps will be relegated to this game against a Conference USA opponent, likely East Carolina (6-5), which given the Pirates' fan base, offense -- and defense -- could be a fun bowl game.
Kraft Fight Hunger (San Francisco): Boston College
The Eagles (6-5) became bowl eligible with Saturday's win over Virginia and will likely fill the Pac-10's spot in this game.
The WAC will fill its side of the equation and probably with Nevada (10-1), although there's a possibility this could be Boise State (10-0).
-- J.P. Giglio
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Orange (Miami): Virginia Tech