The Tigers will be in the College Football Playoff with a win against UNC, and will likely head to the Peach Bowl or Fiesta Bowl with a loss in Charlotte next Saturday. That destination will be determined by North Carolina’s ranking. If the Tar Heels make the playoff, Clemson will play in Atlanta. If they don’t, the Tigers head to the Fiesta.
Projection: College Football Playoff
A win versus Clemson gives the committee an interesting debate. Oklahoma is a lock for the top 4, as is the winner of the Big Ten championship game. Stanford will climb in the polls this week after beating Notre Dame, and would be difficult to beat out should the Cardinal win the PAC 12 championship game. With a loss, an at-large bid in the New Years Six is an even longer shot as North Carolina will be behind Florida State in the pecking order. A worst-case scenario would be a loss to Clemson with Notre Dame dropping from the New Years Six, in which case the Heels would drop to a bowl like the TaxSlayer or Belk.
Projection: Russell Athletic Bowl
FSU’s a lock for the Peach Bowl unless UNC beats Clemson. If the Heels win, they’re a lock for the Russell Athletic.
Projection: Peach Bowl
The loss to Miami became meaningless when Virginia Tech beat Virginia. Because all signs point to the Hokies as a Pool 1 bowl selection, 8-win teams can’t drop out of the Pool 1 bowls.
Projection: Pinstripe Bowl
A comeback win against hapless Kentucky may have saved the Cardinals from a lower tier bowl, but they’ll have to sweat out bowl selection after a very disappointing season.
Projection: Sun Bowl
Likewise with Pitt, if the Hokies are selected for the Belk Bowl, the Hurricanes can’t drop out of the Pool 1 bowls. Being gifted a win by ACC officials ended up being a big deal after all.
Projection: TaxSlayer Bowl
The Hokies aren’t a great football team, but the Frank Beamer story will earn Virginia Tech a bowl bump.
Projection: Belk Bowl
The “loss” against Miami will end up costing Duke after all, but the way in which the team reacted to the “loss” is the bigger culprit. Duke’s still in the running for the Pinstripe Bowl, but Kevin White will have some work to do on that sales pitch to have Duke ahead of Louisville.
Projection: Military Bowl
The local media will spend a few weeks clowning Shreveport, but with the new bowl tie-ins and a game against the SEC, it’s not the embarrassment it was when UNC played in front of dozens of fans under Everett Withers. NC State could have back-doored their way into Charlotte if Virginia Tech had lost.
Projection: Independence Bowl