1. Clemson Tigers: The Tigers destroyed UNC, during the ACC Championship game, 39-10. Previous starting QB, DJ Uiagalelei, was benched in favor of true freshmen, Cade Klubnik, who went 20 of 24 for 279-yards, one TD, and added a rushing score as well. Things did not go so well for Clemson during the postseason. Facing off against the then No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers, at the Capital One Orange Bowl, the Tigers fell behind 14-0 and never recovered. Klubnik ran for a score but threw two costly late interceptions. On top of that the Clemson kicking game struggled mightily with the Tigers missing three of their five field goal attempts. Ultimately the Vols won 31-14. Regardless of the loss, the Tigers are still the clear leader of the ACC.
2. Florida State Seminoles: OR ARE THEY?! Man, ya’ll better be watching out for the ‘Noles next year. FSU finished the season on a six-game winning streak, including a 35-32 win over the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cheez-It Bowl.
3. Louisville Cardinals: The Cardinals defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats, 24-7, which is kind of fun since the Louisville head coach had taken the Cinci job, but Satterfield didn’t coach either of the teams during the… Wasabi Fenway Bowl. You know, sometimes I think the naming people might just be naming bowls as ridiculously as they can.
4. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Wake struggled at the end of the year, dropping four of their last five, but that didn’t stop Hartman and company from taking it to the Missouri Tigers at the… Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl! Yeah! You guys know that one! Anyway, the Deacons won, 27-17, but shortly thereafter Hartman entered the portal and next year will be playing for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
5. NC State Wolfpack: NCST slow-motion lost to the Maryland Terrapins, 16-12, during the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. There are a lot of food references in these bowl game names… anyway the Mayo Bowl was a bit sloppy with both teams turning the ball over twice and punting a whole lot.
6. Syracuse Orange: The Orange lost to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 28-20, during the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl. Going with yard maintenance names now. I wonder what makes them bad boys? Their attitude? Hmm… Anyway, I guess head coach, Dino Babers, did enough to keep his job for at least one more year.
7. Boston College Eagles: The Eagles had one of their worst seasons in recent memory and much of that had to do with a porous offensive line. Starting QB, Phil Jurkovec, transferred down the street to rival ACC squad, Pitt. Ouch. BC was the only Atlantic squad not to qualify for a bowl.
1. North Carolina Tar Heels: To no one’s surprise, the Heels were dominated during the ACC Championship game, but they did give the No. 15 Oregon Ducks a run for their money and almost pulled off the upset at the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl. That bowl name has seven words in it. UNC ended up losing 28-27, after entering the fourth quarter ahead 21-14.
2. Pittsburgh Panthers: The Panthers somehow put together a fantastic showing against the No. 18 UCLA Bruins and won the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, 37-35! I say “somehow,” because Pitt lost their starting QB, Kedon Slovis, to the transfer portal and RB phenom, Israel Abanikanda, skipped the bowl game and declared for the NFL Draft. The Panthers came from behind to win with a 16-point fourth quarter effort, including a 47-yard field goal to take the lead as time ran out.
3. Duke Blue Devils: Talk about a turnaround. Last year the Blue Devils were 3-9 and completely defeated in the ACC (0-8). This year they finish the season 9-4, 5-3 in the ACC, and won the MILITARY BOWL PRESENTED BY PERATON. I just feel like that bowl should be in all caps. The Blue Devils handled the Central Florida Golden Knights, 30-13. Mike Elko definitely earned that 2022 ACC Coach of the Year honor. Whelp… that’s all the bowl teams from the Atlantic.
4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Understandably, the Jackets are hemorrhaging talent into the portal. It’s back to full rebuild time for GT.
5. Miami Hurricanes: I’d love to predict the demise of this team, but Cristobal has brought in the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation, and it features two five-star offensive lineman. They failed to earn a bowl this year but considering the talent already present and the injection of young talent don’t expect them to miss the postseason next year.
6. Virginia Tech Hokies: Brent Pry’s first full offseason is certainly more encouraging than his first season!
7. Virginia Cavaliers: Tony Elliott and company have the hardest coaching job in the ACC. Several starters entered the portal, and the squad is still reeling from the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of three UVA football players.
1. Clemson Tigers
2. Florida State Seminoles
3. North Carolina Tar Heels
4. Louisville Cardinals
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
6. Pittsburgh Panthers
7. Duke Blue Devils
8. NC State Wolfpack
9. Syracuse Orange
10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
11. Miami Hurricanes
12. Virginia Tech Hokies
13. Virginia Cavaliers
14. Boston College Eagles