Every team in FBS football is bowl eligible for the 2020 season, which means teams won’t be bound by the traditional six-win paradigm when it comes to playing postseason football.
But the conference’s bowl tie-ins remain in place, and the total inability of any other conference to have a lack of eligible teams means that those tie-ins loom large when it comes to the number of ACC teams that will be able to go bowling.
This week, two bowls with ACC tie-ins made the decision to skip the 2020-21 bowl season, as the Holiday Bowl and Fenway Bowl will not be played.
That leaves just nine games with guaranteed slots for ACC teams, and puts Pitt right on the borderline for getting an invite.
The Panthers are 3-3 entering play this week, tied at .500 for eighth-best among ACC teams with 2-2 Wake Forest. But the ACC bowl process does not follow straight overall or conference records, except that a team cannot be passed over for a team with more than one more loss than they have.
Florida State and Georgia Tech loom at 2-3 overall as teams that could pass over the Panthers, particularly the Seminoles, who have a geographic advantage when it comes to many of the southern bowl games.
While the six-win requirement has gone, if Pitt wants a realistic chance at bowl eligibility, the line to watch is now their placement in the ACC standings.
Florida State (2-3, 1-3) will visit Louisville (1-5, 1-4) at noon on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh. Wake Forest will host No. 19 Virginia Tech will follow at 3:30 p.m. on the regional sports networks.
Georgia Tech (2-3, 2-2) will travel to Boston College (3-2, 2-2) at 4 p.m. on ACC Network.
CONFIDENT IN CLEMSON
The No. 1 Clemson Tigers (5-0, 4-0) are heavy favorites to prevail over Syracuse (1-4, 1-3) at home. How heavy?
The Tigers are 46-point favorites over the Orange, which lost to non-conference opponent Liberty at home last week. If the point spread isn’t your thing, you could always bet the money line, where Clemson is -100,o0o.
One Clemson bettor did. According to FanDuel, a bettor placed an $8,600 bet on the Clemson money line. If the Tigers win, the bettor will net just $8.60 of profit.
Tigers running back Travis Etienne needs 129 rushing yards to break the ACC’s all-time career marks, which has been held by NC State’s Ted Brown.
That game kicks at noon on ACC Network.
BATTLE FOR CAROLINA
NC State (4-1, 4-1) is feeling good, despite Brown’s record being on the precipice of falling as the Wolfpack has won three straight games and is ranked at No. 23 in the AP Top 25.
But the Pack will have its hands full this Saturday, as they’re taking the short trip to Chapel Hill to face in-state rivals North Carolina (3-1, 3-1).
The Wolfpack has dominated the recent history between the teams, winning three of the last four and eight of the last 12 matchups.
But Mack Brown’s Tar Heels won 41-10 in Raleigh last year and enter as the No. 14 team in the nation.
The longtime rivals will kick at noon on ESPN.
TOP 10 AGAIN?
North Carolina fell out of the top 10 after last week’s unexpected loss at Florida State, but the ACC could get a third team back up there this week in Miami (4-1, 3-1).
The Hurricanes enter the week at No. 11 and are favored at home against Virginia (1-3, 1-3) at 8 p.m. on ACC Network.
No. 6 Oklahoma State will face No. 17 Iowa State and No. 9 Cincinnati will take on No. 16 SMU, and if either team slips up, the Hurricanes could once again claim a top-10 spot.
Of course, that would only make three ACC teams in the top 10 if Clemson and Notre Dame can avoid upsets.