2007 Around the ACC: Bowl Games

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The 2007 regular season has concluded, and eight ACC teams will be bowling in
December or January. The ACC has taken a lot of heat for being a bad conference
this year, but these teams will have a chance to redeem themselves over the next
month.

The ACC managed to fill all eight of their bowl tie-ins. Some bowls are
winners, and some are losers. We’ll recap that at the end of the article. But
first, here are the eight bowl teams, and their Holiday destinations.


Virginia Tech (11-2, ACC Champion)
Orange Bowl vs. Kansas
Jan. 3, 8pm, Fox, Miami, FL

Virginia Tech defeated Boston College 30-16 on Saturday. The Hokie defense
held Matt Ryan and the BC offense to just four first downs in the second half,
as Tech scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win the game. The Hokies
have outscored opponents 61-0 in the fourth quarter since losing to Boston
College back on October 25.

Tech’s bowl destination will be sunny Miami, where they’ll face the Kansas
Jayhawks in the Orange Bowl. Kansas finished 11-1 on the season and earned an
at-large berth to the BCS.


Clemson (9-3, 5-3)
Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Auburn
Dec. 31, 7:30pm, ESPN, Atlanta, GA

With Virginia Tech off the board, and facing a decision between Clemson,
Boston College and Virginia, the Chick-fil-A Bowl made the obvious choice. They
selected the Clemson Tigers, a team that is very close to Atlanta and has a
great traveling fan base. The Tigers were a dropped pass away from facing the
Hokies in the ACC Championship Game.

Clemson has a chance to earn some respect for the ACC by defeating an SEC
team. They beat South Carolina in the last game of the regular season. Can they
make it two in a row? We’ll find out.


Virginia (9-3, 6-2)
Gator Bowl vs. Texas Tech
Jan. 1, 1pm, CBS, Jacksonville, FL

The Gator Bowl took one look at the attendance for the ACC Championship Game
and decided that it would not be wise to have Boston College back for the second
time in a month. Thus, they invited the Virginia Cavaliers, who had a successful
year under ACC Coach of the Year Al Groh.

This is a very tough matchup for UVA. The weakness of the Hoos’ defense is
their secondary, and Texas Tech throws the ball all over the field. On paper
this doesn’t look like a win for the ACC, but that’s why they play the games.


Boston College (10-3, 6-2)
Champs Sports Bowl vs. Michigan State
Dec. 28, 5pm, ESPN, Orlando, FL

Boston College was knocked down the totem pole to Orlando, where they’ll face
Michigan State. This is BC’s ninth consecutive bowl trip, and they will be
looking for their eighth straight bowl victory. Their seven straight bowl wins
is the best active streak.

They have a good chance to beat Michigan State. The Spartans are a
middle-of-the-pack team in a pretty bad Big Ten conference. They finished 7-5
overall, and just 3-5 in the Big Ten.


Florida State (7-5, 4-4)
Music City Bowl vs. Kentucky
Dec. 31, 4pm, ESPN, Nashville, TN

Florida State will be making their 26th straight bowl appearance when they
meet the Kentucky Wildcats in the Music City Bowl in Nashville. This is the
second straight year an ACC team has faced Kentucky in this bowl. Last year,
Clemson was upset by the Wildcats.

Florida State’s defense will be tested by quarterback Andre Woodson, who was
once a Heisman Trophy Candidate. This game has the potential to be very
entertaining.


Wake Forest (8-4, 5-3)
Meineke Car Car Bowl vs. UConn
Dec. 29, 1pm, ESPN, Charlotte, NC

This is the first time in school history that Wake Forest has been to two
straight bowl games. This time they have a short trip down to southern North
Carolina, where they’ll face UConn in Charlotte. This is the perfect bowl game
for the Wake Forest fan base. It will be like an extra home game.

Wake also matches up well with UConn, who didn’t exactly end the season
strong. This is a bowl game that the ACC should win.


Maryland (6-6, 3-5)
Emerald Bowl vs. Oregon State
Dec. 28, 8:30pm, ESPN, San Francisco, CA

Maryland barely snuck into the bowl picture, but their win over NC State in
the last week of the regular season got them a trip to San Francisco for the
Holidays. That’s not a bad deal at all.

Unfortunately, the Terps still have to play the game. Never count out a Ralph
Friedgen coached team, but the Maryland defense against a PAC-10 offense is just
not a good matchup for the ACC. I’m not expecting much out of this one.


Georgia Tech (7-5, 4-4)
Humanitarian Bowl vs. Fresno State
Dec. 31, 2pm, ESPN2, Boise, ID

Georgia Tech gets the travel destination of a lifetime. They’ll journey to
Boise, Idaho to take on Fresno State in the Humanitarian Bowl, on Boise State’s
famed “Smurf Turf.” The Yellow Jackets probably aren’t going to be
playing inspired football out there, and head coach Chan Gailey has already been
fired.

Fresno State beat Virginia a few years back in the Humanitarian Bowl. They
are a very dangerous team because they have nothing to lose and everything to
gain.

Bowl Winners


The Orange Bowl –
Miami gets a great traveling fan base by drawing Virginia
Tech. Having Boston College in the game a year after getting Wake Forest would
have been embarrassing for the ACC, in terms of the number of fans at the game.


The Chick-fil-A Bowl
– This bowl is in a great position every year. They get
a great-traveling SEC team every year, and chances are they are going to land an
ACC team like Virginia Tech, Florida State, Clemson, or maybe even local Georgia
Tech. This year they get Clemson and Auburn, and I’ll definitely be tuning in
for that one.


The Music City Bowl –
Any bowl game featuring Florida State will be watched,
and Kentucky fans will travel to this game. This is about as good as the Music
City Bowl can hope to get.


The Meineke Car Care Bowl
– They probably don’t care much for UConn, but
Wake Forest is a very good draw for this bowl. Not as good as UNC a few years
back, but getting a North Carolina school into a Charlotte bowl is a good thing.

Bowl Losers


The Champs Sports Bowl –
You think BC and Michigan State will bring a lot of
fans, or draw very good TV ratings? I doubt it.

Eh, Whatever


The Gator Bowl –
The Gator would prefer a team like Florida State, Clemson
or Virginia Tech, but Virginia will have a good turnout in Jacksonville. Still,
this game is the least significant of the New Year’s Day bowls, as usual.


Emerald Bowl –
Tell me again why the ACC has a bowl tie-in to a game held in
San Francisco?


Humanitarian Bowl –
This game is only interesting each year because it is
played on blue turf, and even that is getting old. Time to switch to red,
yellow, or some other atrocious color for a field.

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