The ACC as a whole has been the laughing stock of the “Big 6” conferences for the last five years or so. Most of that comes from the fact that the conference hasn’t done well in their BCS bowl games. In fact, last year was the first time that the ACC received an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.
Clemson was the conference champion last year and received an automatic berth into the Orange Bowl, where they lost in spectacular fashion to West Virginia. The loser of the ACC Championship game, Virginia Tech, received the honor of becoming the ACC’s first team to receive an at-large bid. The bid gave the Hokies a berth to the Sugar Bowl. In that bowl Virginia Tech lost an overtime heartbreaker to Michigan (one that is still controversial in Blacksburg).
Despite the fact that both teams lost, it was still the most successful season for the ACC in the BCS era. Now the question is can it happen again?
The Hokies at-large berth was a controversial one, as both Baylor and Kansas State claimed that they were more deserving. However, this year there are two teams in the ACC that have to be considered major contenders to go to BCS bowls, and they are Florida State and Clemson.
The Seminoles (ranked 9th) currently have the inside track to win the Atlantic Division and, in all likelihood, the conference as a whole. If FSU does indeed win the division, then they will likely play either Duke or Miami in the ACC Championship. In case you were wondering, the Seminoles have beaten both of those teams this season.
Florida State beat Clemson earlier this season and it essentially knocked the Tigers out of the Atlantic division title hunt, but the Tigers have rebounded and haven’t lost since. Clemson is currently ranked 13th in the BCS standings. The Tigers have to win their remaining four games if they hope to receive a BCS at-large bid. Their toughest remaining game on the schedule is in the final week of the season when they play archrival South Carolina at home.
In order for a team to receive a BCS-at large berth they must win at least nine games and be ranked in the top-14 of the final BCS poll. If Clemson can win out then they will fulfill both of these requirements easily. The Tigers are the wild card here because the conference champion will go to the Orange Bowl no matter what.
Of course, these are all hypothetical situations, but the expectations set out in these scenarios are reasonable ones. If these two scenarios do indeed play out, then it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the ACC will have two BCS teams for the second straight year.