ACC Football: Regular Season Wrap-Up And Bowl Projections

This morning, we take a look around the ACC following Week 14, and examine how the results could influence the upcoming bowl season. With so much to get to, let’s head right to the games themselves!

Another Imperfect Win In Seminoles Perfect Season

# 3 Florida State (12-0) 24  Florida (6-5) 19

      • Florida State running back Dalvin Cook carried the offense with a career high 144 rushing yards on 24 attempts.
      • Jameis Winston struggled, completing half of his passes (12 of 24) for a career low 125 passing yards. The sophomore threw a pair of touchdowns, but was also intercepted four times.
      • When he won the Heisman award a season ago Winston threw for 40 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, with a QBR of 184.85. This season he has thrown for 21 touchdowns, with 17 interceptions and a 143.7 QBR.


      • The Seminoles won despite three or more interceptions for the fourth time this season, most in college football.
      • A season ago the Seminoles regular season margin of victory was 42.6, this season it has dipped to 12.8.
      • The win was the 28th consecutive for the Seminoles, with their last loss coming on November 24, 2012 against Florida.
      • A strange fake punt call in the fourth quarter by Jimbo Fisher gave Florida an opportunity to take the lead, but they failed to come away with any points. Jimbo remains undefeated vs FLA nonetheless.
      • The Seminoles win was one of four for ACC schools on “SEC Saturday”, marking a clean sweep for the conference.

Bowl Implications:  A win against Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship  locks up a spot in the College Football Playoff for the Seminoles. A loss likely knocks them out due to the narrow margin of victory they have enjoyed in most of their 12 wins. Either way, they’re bound for a “New Year’s Day” type bowl, whatever that means anymore in this new playoff era.


Georgia Tech Wrecks Way To ACC Championship Game

#16 Georgia Tech (10-2) 30  #9 Georgia (9-3) 24 (Overtime)

          • Running back Zach Laskey made up for a lackluster passing day from quarterback Justin Thomas, rushing 26 times for 140 yards and three touchdowns.
          • Georgia Tech fell behind 24-21 with 18 seconds left in the fourth, but quickly tied it on a 53-yard Harrison Butker field goal as time expired.
          • Laskey scored what would prove to be the game winning points on a two yard run in overtime. Defensive back D.J. White clinched the game for the Yellow Jackets on the next series with a redzone interception.

  • Georgia had two redzone fumbles in the first half, keeping the score at 7-7 through the first half hour.
  • Georgia Tech may now be the hottest team heading into Conference Championship week, winning their last five games by an average of 22.8 points.
  • The win was only the third for the Yellow Jackets since the turn of the century against their instate rival. The series now sits at 64-40-5 in the Bulldogs favor

Bowl Implications:  Even if they were to fall to Florida State next week, the Yellow Jackets will likely end up in the Orange Bowl. Clemson appeared destined for the Orange Bowl heading into the weekend, but will now take a tumble following Georgia Tech’s upset win.


Beamer’s Boys Do It Again

Virginia Tech (6-6) 24  Virginia (5-7) 20

          • Virginia Tech extended multiple streaks with their win over Virginia Friday. The Hokies have now had a .500 or better record and bowl appearance in 22 consecutive seasons under head coach Frank Beamer. It was also their 11th straight win over the Cavaliers. The Hokies also now have at least 10 interceptions for a 27th consecutive season (all also under Beamer)
          • Both teams scored touchdowns inside the final three minutes, with the final score coming on a touchdown pass to tight end Bucky Hodges for Virginia Tech with 1:48 remaining. Hodges also scored in the first half on a blocked punt recovery in the end zone, a recently absent former staple of the Hokie scoring diet.
          • Virginia forced three turnovers, including an interception that was returned three yards for a touchdown from lineman David Dean.
          • Virginia Tech’s Deon Newsome was ejected in the second quarter for launching with the crown of his helmet on a hit. Replays showed the call to be questionable, as the launch was evident, but the crown was not down.
          • Hokie running back J.C. Coleman finally broke the 100 yard rushing mark, finishing with 118 yards on 18 attempts. Coleman has been promoted to starter due to several injuries to all key Virginia Tech running backs.

Bowl Implications: Virginia Tech could find themselves in the Military Bowl based on geography alone, since they are close to the D.C. area. If East Carolina makes it to the Military Bowl then the Hokies will be forced into a different second-tier bowl. Virginia is not bowl eligible in 2014, making it the 4th time in 5 years under recently extended head coach Mike London, that the team has found itself minus the extra practices, and home for the holidays.


Swinney Superior In South Carolina

#21 Clemson (9-3) 35  South Carolina (6-6) 17

          • Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was 14 of 19 passing, with 269 yards and two touchdowns. Head coach Dabo Swinney said Watson was playing with a torn ACL he suffered the week before in practice.
          • Tigers running back Wayne Gallman had a big game, rushing 27 times for 191 yards and a touchdown.
          • Artavis Scott was Clemson’s leading receiver, hauling in seven receptions for 185 yards (26.4 average) and two touchdowns.
          • The Tigers now rank first overall in the nation in total defense, surrendering 259.6 yards per game in 2014
          • This was Clemson’s first win over rival South Carolina in their last six meetings. Clemson now leads the Palmetto bowl 66-42-4 since the first meeting in 1896.

Bowl Implications: Clemson will almost certainly be bumped from the Orange Bowl spot and should end up in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.


NC State Wins Battle Of Tobacco Road

NC State (7-5) 35 North Carolina (6-6) 7

          • Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett was only 9 of 11 with 66 passing yards, but led the team in rushing with 167 yards on 14 attemts with a touchdown.
          • NC State running back Shadrach Thornton also had a big game, rushing 28 times for 161 yards and one score.
          • Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams was held in check, completing 11 of his 22 passes for 97 yards, with one interception. Williams left the game in the early moments of the second half with a leg injury, and did not return.
          • North Carolina finished an up and down season at .500. They often looked like a different team from week-to-week. Last week they beat then ranked Duke by 25, only to almost get shutout this week by the Wolfpack.

Bowl Implications: The Wolfpack should remain local in their home state and play in North Carolina’s Belk Bowl. North Carolina will find themselves in a second-tier bowl, possibly as an at-large, or in the Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA).


Louisville Wins Wild One At Home

#22 Louisville (9-3) 44  Kentucky (5-7) 40

          • The rival schools took part in a pre-game kerfluffle that even included Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino and Wildcats assistant Daniel Berezowitz.

  •  Louisville quarterback Kyle Bolin threw for 381 yards on 21 of 31 passing, with three touchdowns. All three of those touchdowns were caught by receiver DeVante Parker, who finished with 180 yards on the day.
  • Running back Stanley Williams had a big game for Kentucky, turning 18 carries into 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
  • The game saw seven lead change, the final one coming with 2:47 left in the game on a four yard touchdown run for Louisville from Brandon Radcliff.
  • Petrino became the third coach in Louisville history to guide the team to at least 50 wins in their career at the school.

Bowl Implications: Louisville will get a spot in either the Music City Bowl in Nashville or the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, likely the former.


Pitt Becomes Eligible With Win Over Miami

Pittsburgh (6-6) 35  Miami (6-6) 23

          • Pittsburgh took the lead 2:11 into the game, and never relinquished it as they lead wire-to-wire. With the win the Panthers finished at .500 and are now bowl-eligible.
          • James Conner continued to lead Pittsburgh, rushing 16 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The scores gave him 24 touchdowns in 2014 for the Panthers.
          • Freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya continued to impress for the Hurricanes, throwing for almost 300 yards (296) on 45 attempts, with two touchdowns.
          • Both teams finished at 6-6, but are headed in opposite directions. Pittsburgh won convincingly in their last two contests, while Miami has now dropped three straight.

Bowl Implications: Pittsburgh could receive an at-large bowl bid, or find their way into the Military or Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. Miami should stay close to home and play in the Bitcoin Bowl in St. Petersburg.


Duke Ends Dreadful Wake Forest Season

Duke (9-3) 41  Wake Forest (3-9) 21

          • Duke put the game out of reach early with two touchdowns that came nine seconds apart in the first quarter.
          • Blue Devils quarterback Anthony Boone completed 19 of 31 passes for 275 yards. Receivers Issac Blakeney and Jamison Crowder each had over 100 yards receiving.
          • Wake Forest has struggled mightily on offense this season, but managed 315 yards Saturday. Quarterback John Wolford lead the Demon Deacons, throwing for 251 yards and a season high three touchdowns.

Bowl Implications:  In what amounts to unusual disappointment, a 9-3 Duke club will probably find their way to the Music City or Pinstripe bowl, with a trip to New York more likely. When the season began, the faithful envisioned a Coastal Crown repeat. Wake Forest did not finish bowl eligible this season.


Boston College Eagles Soar Over Syracuse

Boston College (7-5) 28  Syracuse (3-9) 7

          • Eagles quarterback Tyler Murphy set an ACC single-season quarterback rushing yards with 1,079 in 2014. Saturday he rushed for 20 yards, and threw for another 160 and one touchdown.
          • Syracuse lone touchdown came with 1:43 left in the first quarter to tie the score at seven. They finished the game with only eight first downs, and 128 total yards on offense.
          • Syracuse failed to qualify for a bowl for the first time since 2011.


Bowl Implications:  Boston College will likely lose a potential spot in the Sun Bowl to Notre Dame. Instead they could end up in Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl.

Outlook: The bowl season is shaping up to be another exciting one for the ACC. Florida State should represent the conference in the first ever College Football Playoff, unless Georgia Tech can shock the world as they did against their rivals on Saturday. Clemson will likely fall short of a second consecutive Orange Bowl appearance, but should still represent the conference well. Stay with us for coverage of those bowl games, and all of the second-tier ACC bowl contests as well.

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