The Atlantic Coast Conference qualified 11 of their 14 college football programs for bowls! Those bowl games kick-off today when Memphis takes on Wake Forest. Check out Gobbler Country’s ACC Bowl Game Guide for times, places, and pithy commentary!
Memphis Tigers (8-5) vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-6)
What: Jared Birmingham Bowl
Where: Birmingham, AL
When: Saturday, December 22, Noon Eastern
Head coach Dave Clawson and the Demon Deacons are making their third consecutive post-season appearance. Memphis gave the high-flying Central Florida Golden Knights a scare, entering the fourth quarter of the AAC championship with a lead, but ultimately fell to UCF, 56-41. The Tigers will be quite the handful for WF, particularly RB Darrell Henderson, who carried the ball 214 times for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns. Fun fact: Henderson is the #2 rusher in the FBS this year.
Boston College Eagles (7-5) vs Boise State Broncos (10-3)
What: Servpro First Responder Bowl
Where: Dallas, TX
When: Wednesday, December 26, 1:30 PM Eastern
Another middle-tier ACC team is facing off a Group-of-Five contender that lost their championship game. No. 25 Boise State fell to Fresno State, in overtime, 19-16. BC finished the season on a three-game slide, losing to Clemson, FSU, and Syracuse. Offensive coordinator, Scot Leoffler, accepted the head gig at Bowling Green, and the Eagles will need everything that AJ Dillon and Anthony Brown can muster if they hope to overcome the Broncos.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6) vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5)
What: Quick Lane Bowl
Where: Detroit, MI
When: Wednesday, December 26, 5:15 PM Eastern
Paul Johnson will be coaching his final game with the Yellow Jackets after announcing his retirement at the close of the regular season. GT already has their next general lined up in former Temple coach, Geoff Collins. Georgia Tech’s triple option should line up nicely against a Minnesota rushing defense that has allowed a 5.2-yard average per carry and 170 yards rushing per game.
Temple Owls (8-4) vs Duke Blue Devils (7-5)
What: Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Where: Shreveport, LA
When: Thursday, December 27, 1:30 PM Eastern
As mentioned above, Temple will be without Coach Collins, but they have snatched Miami’s defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, as their next head coach. Duke’s signal caller, Daniel Jones, might be playing his last game for head coach Daniel Cutcliffe as many think the 6’ 5” QB will be heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.
Miami-Florida Hurricanes (7-5) vs Wisconsin Badgers (7-5)
What: New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Where: New York, New York
When: Thursday, December 27, 5:15 PM Eastern
Alright! Not only is this the ACC’s first Power 5 matchup, it’s a straight rematch from last season when Wisconsin defeated Miami, 34-24, during the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl. Miami’s defense will be called upon to keep the ‘Canes in the game, as it has so many times this year. Wisconsin sophomore sensation RB, Jonathan Taylor, has 1,989 yards and 15 TDs on the season. Sporting a 7.1-yard average per carry means Miami will have their hands full. Fun fact: Taylor is the #1 rusher in the FBS this year. How serendipitous for the ACC to roll the two top RBs in bowl games!
No. 16 West Virginia Mountaineers (8-3) vs No.20 Syracuse Orange (9-3)
What: Camping World Bowl
Where: Orlando, FL
When: Friday, December 28, 5:15 PM Easter
After Clemson, Dino Babers’ Syracuse squad is the lone ranked team in the ACC. That is upsetting. I extra can’t stand WVU but watching two of the most exciting QBs in CFB go head-to-head is exciting. I will most certainly be heading home early from work to watch this one. Maybe the ACC can regain some respect if Eric Dungey and Syracuse unseat Will Grier and WVU. Edit: Turns out Mr. Grier has decided to forego his Camping World Bowl experience in preparation of he 2019 NFL Draft... So, he won’t be playing on Friday...
South Carolina Gamecocks (7-5) vs Virginia Cavaliers (7-5)
What: Belk Bowl
Where: Charlotte, NC
When: Saturday, December 29, Noon Eastern
UVA makes a consecutive bowl game for the first time since… I’m pretty sure since James Madison designed part of the campus. And before some Hoos fill up the comments talking about Hokie ignorance… I know it was John Adams… What’s that? Enough with the joke, get to the point? Alright, alright… UVA lost three of their last four, but they do have a victory over Liberty to build on. They had a chance to finally halt two streaks: VT’s now adolescent aged winning streak over them and the Hokie’s active bowl streak. Neither happened, excuses were offered, but South Carolina is a great opportunity for the Cavaliers to finish with an eight-win season since… THOMAS JEFFERSON INVENTED THE LIGHT BULB. I think I got that right. Just ask a Hoo, they’ll clear it up, they love to talk about the guy.
No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) vs No. 2 Clemson Tigers (13-0)
What: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic – CFP Semifinal
Where: Arlington, TX
When: Saturday, December 29, 4:00 PM Eastern
I am pretty confident that the Clemson defense will stymie the balanced Irish offensive and that Travis Etienne is going to go off for approximately one-billion yards per carry. OR, maybe Notre Dame is going to do what they’ve done all year and surprise good teams… Nah. May money is on BAMA vs CLEM Round Nine, or whatever it is on now.
Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2) vs Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6)
What: Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman (seriously, that whole thing is the bowl name?!)
Where: Annapolis, MD
When: Monday, December 31, Noon Eastern
Uhh… expect we will have much to say about this game, so I won’t go into detail other than… GO HOKIES!!!
Stanford Cardinal (8-4) vs Pittsburgh Panthers (7-6)
What: Hyundai Sun Bowl
Where: El Paso, TX
When: Monday, December 31, 2:00 PM Eastern
Congratulations on losing to Clemson in the ACC Championship! Your consolation prize is… probably losing to Stanford and Bryce Love in the… what? Love is sitting out the Sun Bowl and preparing for the draft? Oh… well, maybe Pitt’s multifaceted running game can overcome!
N.C. State Wolfpack (9-3) vs No. 19 Texas A&M Aggies (8-4)
What: Taxslayer Gator Bowl
Where: Jacksonville, GL
When: Monday, December 31, 6:30 PM Eastern
The Aggies won the most ridiculous football of the year when they defeated No. 7 LSU, 74-72 in 7OT to close out the season. More points were scored in OT than in regulation. Perhaps the experience residing within NCST will assist them, but the ‘Pack will have a tough opponent in Jimbo Fisher’s new program.