I hope everyone has had a happy holiday season thus far, but I know there are plenty of ACC football fans out there desperately waiting for the conference’s bowl season to start. The wait is almost over, as Duke will play Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl on December 27th. So I will once again be making my picks for each game involving an ACC team. There are six teams from the conference playing this postseason.
I picked the ACC Championship Game correctly which has brought my record for the year to 77-23 (.770 winning percentage).
Let’s get to the picks!
Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Duke
This is Duke’s first bowl game since 1994, but the Blue Devils have drawn a very tough matchup in this game. The key to the game will be Duke’s defense. Their defensive unit was really bad this year, which is a problem because the Bearcats have a very good defense. So Duke has to score if they are going to even make a game of this one. I think that quarterback Sean Renfree will play well enough to keep the game close, but I just don’t think the Blue Devils can beat the Bearcats.
Pick: Cincinnati over Duke
Virginia Tech’s season was a major disappointment, there is no denying that, but the Hokies have a lot to play for when they will take on the Scarlet Knights on Friday. The Hokies are trying to avoid their first losing season in 20 years. Add that fact in with the Sandy Hook tribute and fans will see the most motivated Virginia Tech team they have seen all year.
Rutgers is a very good team; in fact they would have been in the BCS if they haven’t blown their chances late in the season. I think this game will come down to special teams. Rutgers has been excellent at blocking kicks this year. So if Rutgers can get to the Hokies’ kicker then they will win, if they don’t I think that Tech will come out on top. Beamerball will rear its head one more time, simply to keep the Scarlet Knights away from their kickers.
Pick: Virginia Tech over Rutgers
NC State was one of the biggest disappointments in the ACC this year. The Wolfpack never really got it going in 2012, and it cost head coach Tom O’Brien his job. Unfortunately for State fans, I don’t think the Pack has much of a chance in this game. The SEC simply dominated the ACC this year and Vanderbilt is a pretty good SEC team. The Commodores have an up and coming program and I doubt that Mike Glennon & Co. will be able to score enough to win the game.
Pick: Vanderbilt over NC State
There are plenty of people out there that think the Yellow Jackets shouldn’t even be in this game. They finished the season with a 6-7 record, but were allowed into the postseason because of a waiver from the NCAA.
However, the Yellow Jackets can make good on the waiver by pulling a huge upset over the Trojans, but I just don’t see that happening. Tech’s defense is just bad, and while the Trojans weren’t a model of consistency this year, their offense could score at will when they wanted to. This will be a close game but USC will pull it out late.
Pick: USC over Georgia Tech
This will be the battle of the Tigers, but which one will come out on top? LSU is one of the best teams in the SEC and Clemson is one of the best teams in the ACC. This may be the most entertaining bowl matchup involving an ACC team this year.
Clemson can score at will on almost any team, but they have a rather poor recent history against the SEC. LSU’s defense will be able to contain Tajh Boyd and their offense will score just enough to win the game.
Pick: LSU over Clemson
Orange Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Florida State
The Seminoles finally are back on top of the ACC. However, if Florida State doesn’t beat the Huskies then the ACC will be the laughing stock of college football. Northern Illinois is a very good team, but talent-wise they aren’t in the same league as Florida State. The ACC desperately needs the Seminoles to win a BCS game if only to improve the conference’s horrid BCS record and I think they will.
Pick: FSU over NIU