Conference Stock Report

The finals two weeks of the season are upon us and one side of the title game has been decided. The other side will be decided this weekend as Clemson plays their final conference game of the season. A win and they are in. A loss and they have to wait on BC to finish their final game, assuming the Eagles win at home on Saturday.

The season has been a bit of downer for the league. They had a chance to get two BCS bids this year, but stumbles by Virginia Tech and Miami ended that effort. On the other end, the league has a high number of really bad teams. The result is the ACC may not be able to fill all of their bowl bids.

The Buys

Georgia Tech (10-1, 7-1): The Yellow Jackets stand as the top team in the ACC. They will finish with the best record and the highest poll rating. They have also locked up the Coastal and will probably face Clemson, a team they beat earlier in the season. Regardless of what happens in their finale against Georgia, they are the best team in the ACC this year.

With a week of to prepare for Georgia, they should have the advantage in this rivalry. It is still possible that they could leap frog their way into the title game, but it is highly unlikely. The reality for them is they can beat their rival and win the ACC title. That would cap off a great season and put them in the Orange Bowl.

Clemson (7-3, 5-2): Clemson has done everything they need to do to win the Atlantic. They may be the hottest team in the country right now. Five wins in a row, two on the road and big wins over Miami and Florida State is quite a resume. The result has been a jump into the top-25 in all three polls and a chance to finish in the top-10.

To get to their goal, they need to beat Virginia this week. That's not going to be a problem. Virginia stinks. If they win, they win the Atlantic and head to Tampa to face Georgia Tech. They also have their annual rivalry game against South Carolina. If they run the table, they should be in the top-15, but have no chance for an at-large BCS bid. They will have to beat Georgia Tech or they end up in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl.

Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2): The Hokies are playing for pride at this point. They pounded hapless Maryland last week to keep them in the discussion for one of the big bowls. Tech is arguably the second best team in the conference, but that goes to Clemson for now. It is just their bad luck to be in the best division of the ACC this year.

The road from here is pretty simple. They have to beat NC State this week to guarantee themselves one of the big bowls. Then it is taking care of struggling Virginia in the annual season-ending game. Assuming they win both, they can expect a trip to the Champs Bowl this year. The will head to the Peach if Clemson knocks off Georgia Tech in the title game.

Boston College (7-3, 4-2): Technically, the Eagles are still in the hunt for the title game. They need a miracle, but there is a chance. The win over Virginia was big as it kept the door open and gave them their first road win of the season. Virginia is not a good team, but a win on the road is never easy in the ACC.

The path for BC is to win this week and post an undefeated home record. That will give them eight wins and it will be the best win of the season, given where UNC is right now. After that it is off to Maryland to maybe secure a nine win season and their second road win. Regardless, they are headed to the lowest bowl on the pecking order, adjusting for the one-win rule.

The Holds

North Carolina (7-3, 3-3): The Tar Heels are on a bit of roll, but questions remain. They did beat Virginia Tech on the road, which was big. But, they struggled against Duke and they had to hang on to beat Miami at home. The big test comes this week when they go to BC. If they win, then they get into the discussion for a big bowl. A loss and they are probably stuck in the second tier bowl discussion.

Miami (7-3, 4-3): The Canes are in an interesting position. It is well known that the Gator Bowl wants them in the worst way. On the other hand, they are at risk of getting passed by BC and UNC in the bowl pecking order. The good news is they have two easy games to finish the season. They get Duke and travel to USF for the finale. Two wins and they head to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl.

Florida State (5-5, 3-4): The Seminoles are playing better since their mid-season swoon. They have won three of four and are now one win from becoming bowl eligible. They get Maryland at home and that means they probably get that win. Assuming they lose to Florida, they will be in the mix for the San Fran Bowl or most likely the Eagle Bank Bowl in DC.

Duke (5-5, 3-4): The Dukies got hammered last week by Georgia Tech, but they remain in the bowl hunt. With five wins they need just one more win to get to their first bowl game in forever. That's unlikely to happen this week at Miami. The realistic chance is at home against Wake Forest. A win and they could get to the Charlotte Bowl as the local favorite. Otherwise it is San Francisco or DC for the Dukies.

The Sells

Wake Forest (4-7, 2-5): The season came to an end with a thud as they lost to Florida State at home. The sputtering of Wake this year is the surprise of the season. They have a week off to prepare for Duke and maybe be a spoiler for their in-state rival.

Virginia (3-7, 2-4): The only thing of interest now is when Coach Groh will be fired. The decision has supposedly been made; it is just a matter of when someone leaks it to the media unofficially.

Maryland (2-8, 1-5): Their season was over a long time ago. The only question is how bad will it get. They have not posted a three-win season since 1998. The prior year they won just two games. Maryland has never lost ten games in a season. So, history can be made with two more losses.

NC State (4-6, 1-5): Technically, they can make a bowl, but that is unlikely. Anyone that has watched them sees a team that has quit on its stool. If they lose another game, they will posted four straight losing season for the first time since the 1950's.

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