After beating Virginia for the 14th-straight year in a 10-0 shutout, Virginia Tech rose in both the AP and Coaches Polls. Tonight, the Hokies also jumped in the College Football Playoff’s second-to-last rankings as expected.
— The Tech Lunch Pail (@techlunchpaild) November 29, 2017
Virginia Tech jumped three spots from 25th to 22nd in this week’s playoff rankings. The Hokies are the third highest ranked ACC team behind #1 Clemson and #7 Miami with NC State behind them ranked 24th while Notre Dame, a program of great interest to the Hokies’ bowl destination possibilities, came in 15th after their loss to Stanford.
The jump isn’t a surprise for the Hokies after taking care of their business last week at UVA while other schools around them were unable to get a win. With Clemson and Miami being the only above .500 ACC schools still with any games remaining, the Hokies have solidified their spot as the third-highest ranked ACC team in the poll.
So what does all of this mean?
With Virginia Tech being third in the poll among ACC schools, they do have a remote shot at receiving the ACC’s bid to the Orange Bowl. The only plausible scenario that I see where this could happen is if Miami beats Clemson in the ACC Championship, TCU beats Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship, Auburn beats Georgia in the SEC Championship, and Ohio State beats Wisconsin in the B1G (Big 10) Championship.
In this scenario; Auburn and Miami would be headed to the playoff while an 11-2 Clemson, 11-2 Oklahoma, 11-2 Ohio State, and 11-1 Alabama would take the final two spots (TCU being ranked 11th takes them out of the picture). In this scenario, it’s hard not to see Clemson being chosen over Oklahoma and Alabama given their win over Auburn and their stronger resume. While Ohio State would have a conference title, Oklahoma may push them down the totem pole because of their head-to-head win.
However, this is all far from certain so if you’re a Hokie fan, don’t expect to be making a trip to South Beach this bowl season.
The ranking that may affect the Hokies more is Notre Dame coming in at 15th. With Notre Dame dropping that far this week, it’s almost impossible to imagine the Fighting Irish climbing back into the top 10 and to a New Year’s Six bowl game. That means that the Fighting Irish will be a part of the ACC’s bowl pool for all non-New Year’s Six bowls and will almost certainly be the first team selected.
Because of that, you can throw out the possibility of VT in the Citrus Bowl. This also makes the Camping World Bowl more precarious as Notre Dame would take that spot if the Citrus Bowl took a B1G team instead of an ACC team. This scenario would happen if a SEC team received a spot in the Orange Bowl over a B1G team, something that is almost certain to happen if Wisconsin wins the B1G Championship and likely would still happen even if Ohio State wins it.
At this point, Virginia Tech’s most likely bowl destination is the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville with the runner-up being the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
Tonight’s rankings have given us a clearer picture as to where the Hokies will finish their regular season and for Hokie fans wanting to go to Orlando, that’s likely out of the picture.