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Bowl Projections: Virginia Tech Almost Certainly Heading to Orange Bowl or Peach Bowl

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The bowl scenarios are pretty simple for Virginia Tech heading into the ACC Championship Game. Win and the Hokies will go to Miami for the Orange Bowl and likely face the Big East champion. Lose and they're likely heading to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl where they'll draw an SEC opponent.

Orange Bowl

Should the Hokies win Saturday and head to Miami Jan. 4, they will probably face either Cincinnati, Louisville or West Virginia from the Big East or Houston from Conference USA. The Orange Bowl has the final pick among this year's BCS bowls and almost assuredly will be left with the Big East champion.

Louisville currently sits at 5-2 in the Big East and will win the conference if Cincinnati loses at home this weekend against Connecticut. The Bearcats will represent the Big East in the BCS if they beat the Huskies and West Virginia loses at South Florida. The Mountaineers win the conference if they beat the Bulls and Cincinnati wins to force a three-way tie. In that scenario, West Virginia would probably be the highest-ranked Big East team in the BCS and win the bid.

Many Hokie fans would be thrilled with the opportunity to play rival West Virginia in the Orange Bowl to renew the Battle for the Black Diamond Trophy. However, there is a chance Tech would play Houston if the Mountaineers win the Big East and the Cougars beat Southern Miss in the CUSA Championship Game.

There is a strong possibility Michigan will quality for the BCS at-large pool if LSU beats Georgia. If the Wolverines stay ahead of Baylor and pass the Big Ten Championship Game loser in the BCS standings, they will finish in the Top 14 and qualify for an at-large.

With a large, affluent fan base coming off a couple of down years, Michigan would be a prime choice for the Sugar Bowl should LSU beat Georgia and play Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game. The Sugar Bowl would then be faced with the choice of picking West Virginia, and setting up a RichRod Bowl between the Wolverines and Mountaineers, or nearby Houston.

If Louisville or Cincinnati win the Big East, the choice is easy for the Sugar Bowl: Take Houston. If West Virginia is on the table, I think there's a possibility the ACC champion will see the Cougars in the Orange Bowl. Still, the most-likely scenario is ACC vs. Big East in Miami.

Peach Bowl

If the Hokies fall to Clemson for the second time this season and aren't selected for a BCS at-large bid, they will go to the Peach Bowl Dec. 31. There, they will face the fifth selection from the SEC, which will almost certainly be Auburn.

If LSU beats Georgia and plays Alabama in the BCSNCG, Georgia, Arkansas and South Carolina will probably be scooped up by the Citrus Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Hall of Fame Bowl. That would leave the Peach Bowl with to pick between Auburn and Florida. Without being forced to avoid a rematch between Clemson and Auburn, the odds are the Peach Bowl will pit Auburn against the Hokies.

Sugar Bowl

What about an at-large BCS berth? Well, getting there would be very difficult for the Hokies. First, Southern Miss has to beat Houston and TCU has to beat UNLV to leave the BCS without an non-AQ AQ. Then, the Hokies would have to stay in the Top 14 in the BCS standings and be a viable at-large selection. I think that's possible if LSU, Oklahoma State and Oregon all win this weekend.

Wins by OSU and Oregon would keep the Cowboys and Ducks from competing with the Hokies in the at-large pool and hopefully knock Oklahoma out of it as well.

If all of that happened, the Fiesta Bowl probably matches up Stanford with OSU and the Sugar Bowl will be left to pick between Boise State, Kansas State and the Hokies for the final BCS at-large spot. Given the showing by the Hokie faithful in their previous three trips to Bourbon Street, in that scenario I like Tech's chances of getting picked. Of course, the chances of getting to that scenario are extremely slim.


Percentages? Percentages. Orange Bowl: 50%. Peach Bowl: 49%. Sugar Bowl: ~1%.

Projections? Projections. Orange Bowl: vs. Louisville. Peach Bowl: vs. Auburn. Sugar Bowl: vs. Michigan.

Just beat Clemson, worry about the rest Sunday.

More Projections

Bill Connelly, SB Nation: Orange Bowl vs. West Virginia
Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: Orange Bowl vs. West Virginia
Mark Schlabach, ESPN: Orange Bowl vs. West Virginia
Brad Edwards, ESPN: Orange Bowl vs. West Virginia
Stewart Mandel, SI: Orange Bowl vs. West Virginia
Joey Johnston, NBC Sports: Orange Bowl vs. Houston