Barring some sort of a disastrous collapse down the stretch, it appears Virginia Tech is going to be heading south for bowl season. I looked up bowl projections on five different sites this morning, and three of the five have the Hokies playing in the state of Florida, while the other two have Tech in Charlotte playing in the Belk Bowl. All five matchups are games against major Power 5 competition.
Here’s a look at each projection…
Bleacher Report: December 28, Russell Athletic Bowl, Orlando, vs. Oklahoma State
SB Nation: December 29, Belk Bowl, Charlotte, vs. Arkansas
Campus Insiders: December 29, Belk Bowl, Charlotte, vs. Arkansas
College Football News: December 31, Citrus Bowl, Orlando, vs. LSU
Jerry Palm: December 31, Citrus Bowl, Orlando, vs. Auburn
(Keep in mind that ESPN has not made their projections yet this week. Last week Mark Schlabach had Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl (Orlando) against West Virginia, while Brett McMurphy had the Hokies in the Citrus Bowl (Orlando) against Auburn.)
Four of those five projections have the Hokies facing an SEC team, with the fifth coming against Oklahoma State of the Big 12. The TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville is also a possibility.
For those wondering how an ACC team could sneak into the Citrus Bowl, it’s because so many Big Ten teams are likely to end up in one of the “Big 6” bowl games as of right now. For example, here’s where Jerry Palm projects the top teams in the Big Ten…
Ohio State: Peach Bowl (playoffs)
Michigan: Rose Bowl (Big 6)
Penn State: Cotton Bowl (Big 6)
Wisconsin: Orange Bowl (Big 6)
With so many Big Ten teams being put into the “Big 6” by the Selection Committee, the ACC’s opponent in the Orange Bowl will most likely be a Big Ten team. That would open up a spot in the Citrus Bowl for an ACC team. With Clemson and Louisville both likely headed to one of the “Big 6” bowls, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and perhaps Florida State are the most likely teams to head to the Citrus Bowl.
There is no consensus on who the Citrus Bowl would select at this point in time.
SB Nation: Florida State
Jerry Palm: Virginia Tech
College Football News: Virginia Tech
Campus Insiders: Nebraska
Bleacher Report: Florida State
The fact that at least three Big Ten teams, and perhaps as many as four, are heading to the “Big Six” could potentially send the Hokies to Orlando, though they obviously have some competition.
Of course, the Hokies also control their own destiny in the ACC. If they defeat Georgia Tech and UVA, they will face Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, and an upset victory in that game would send Tech to the Orange Bowl. There’s a lot of football left to be played.