Virginia Tech is heading to a bowl game for the first time under Brent Pry after beating UVA 55-17 to pick up their sixth win of the season. Here's a look at the latest bowl projections less than a week before the Hokies find out their bowl destination.
- CBS Sports: Military Bowl vs Memphis
- ESPN's Mark Schlabach: Duke's Mayo Bowl vs Kentucky
- ESPN's Kyle Bonagura: Holiday Bowl vs Oregon State
- 247 Sports: Fenway Bowl vs UTSA
- The Athletic: Duke's Mayo Bowl vs Kentucky
- Sporting News: Pinstripe Bowl vs Wisconsin
- FOX Sports: Military Bowl vs SMU
- Athlon Sports: Military Bowl vs SMU
- Action Network: Military Bowl vs SMU
The Military Bowl continues to be at the top of the projections with the Duke's Mayo Bowl seeming like the most likely bowl if it isn't Annapolis. The Holiday and Sun also feel in play depending on how things play out for the ACC.
We discussed last week why Virginia Tech makes sense as the top target for the Military Bowl compared to Miami, Georgia Tech, Duke, or other schools in that realm. VT being the local school with tons of alums in Washington D.C. who would love to have a close game makes Annapolis a popular choice.
The Duke's Mayo Bowl does feel like it is very much in play depending on how things sort out. North Carolina and NC State have both played in this bowl in the past two years which likely rules either them out. In the same way, projecting VT to the Pinstripe Bowl doesn't make much sense in my view.
Notre Dame seems likely to head for a Florida bowl like the Pop Tarts or Gator taking them out of the picture. Clemson is likely a top target of the Duke's Mayo given that they haven't hosted the Tigers since 2010 and would certainly be a massive attendance draw.
There's been a lot of speculation about the Holiday Bowl for the Tigers which is a little surprising given how the Holiday and Mayo Bowls are basically on the same tier, and you'd think the bowl in the ACC's hub would get preference in this case.
If Clemson doesn't end up in Charlotte, then this likely comes down to Virginia Tech and in-state Duke. The Blue Devils haven't played in this bowl since 2012 and do have a significant about of their fans within three hours. Duke also had the better overall record this season at 7-5 which does matter.
However, Virginia Tech has a large presence of alums in Charlotte and a fan base that offers a lot more ticket sale potential. Additionally, the Charlotte Sports Foundation seems to love hosting VT including earlier this month as part of the Ally Tipoff.
If Clemson doesn't go to the Mayo Bowl, then it likely comes down to Virginia Tech and Duke. And though the ACC doesn't have a formal bowl tier system anymore, Charlotte likely gets preference over Annapolis.
However, there are a couple reasons why ACC bowl projections remain a little all over the place.
First is the fact that the Jordan Travis injury has raised some media doubts about Florida State making the CFB Playoff even if they beat Louisville and go 13-0. Personally, I think that's made up hoopla just to create an additional storyline going into conference championship week.
If somehow FSU were to win but get left out of the CFB Playoff (which would be an embarrassment for the sport of college football), then FSU would take the Orange Bowl spot and Louisville would fall out of the New Year's Six bowls, pushing everyone else down a notch including VT on the informal order of sorts.
That's very unlikely at this point, but something to monitor.
Second, Andy Bitter of Tech Sideline made a good note on the TSL Podcast about how the Reliaquest Bowl will take an ACC team if a Big 10 team gets the Orange Bowl spot opposite the ACC, which would obviously have a significant domino effect.
The SEC Championship may play a big role in deciding that. If Georgia beats Alabama, Ohio State will almost certainly take the Orange Bowl spot over the Crimson Tide. If Alabama wins, the SEC likely gets that Orange Bowl spot instead of the Big 10. If it is Ohio State in the Orange Bowl, that opens up another premium bowl in the Reliaquest in Tampa that will slide everyone up including Virginia Tech.
Military and Duke's Mayo feel like the most likely bowl landing spots at this point those trips west to the Holiday or Sun Bowls shouldn't be ruled out either.