The top 6 of the final College Football Playoff rankings have been released and Alabama earned the final spot over Ohio State with Wisconsin ranked sixth. While many may not believe a top 6 can tell us much about a bowl projection, this year's top 6 gives us a huge indication as to where Virginia Tech will go bowling.
With Alabama going to the playoff, the Orange Bowl is just about certain to take a Big 10 team over a SEC team with Ohio State and Wisconsin ranked fifth and sixth respectively. If that happens as expected, that means that the ACC will gain a spot in the Citrus Bowl. That spot in the Citrus Bowl will likely go to Notre Dame unless the Fighting Irish make a surprising jump in the final playoff rankings that send them to a New Year's Six Bowl.
If Notre Dame does go to the Citrus Bowl as expected, the Camping World Bowl has the next pick followed by the Tier 1 ACC bowls which includes the TaxSlayer and Pinstripe Bowls.
The Camping World Bowl is the favorite at this point as they will most likely want to select Virginia Tech as the best ranked team available. The Hokies also benefit from the fact that VT has a fan base that is known for travelling well, making them a more appealing pick financially as well for the Camping World Bowl.
Virginia Tech has been to the Camping World Bowl before when it was the Russell Athletic Bowl. The Camping World Bowl could also create a very interesting matchup between an elite Hokies' defense and a very talented Oklahoma State offense (OSU likely will be Big 12 rep in the CW Bowl).
If there is one team that could stop Virginia Tech from going to the Camping World Bowl, it's Louisville. The main reason for this is simply due to the fact that the Cardinals have Lamar Jackson, something that would be very appealing to ESPN especially if Oklahoma State were to be the Big 12 representative. An Oklahoma State offense versus Lamar Jackson would likely be one of the highest scoring bowl games of the year and a very entertaining game, which likely would appeal more to ESPN.
Another reason why the Camping World Bowl could take Louisville or NC State over VT is due to the fact that the Hokies were just in Orlando last year for the ACC Championship. While that is unlikely to stop this form happening, it can't be ruled out.
If the Hokies don't go to the Camping World Bowl, Virginia Tech will most likely end up in the TaxSlayer Bowl, a bowl that may appeal to some fans more given how Jacksonville is a shorter trip and that this game would come on a Saturday rather than a Thursday. NC State would be the only other team likely considered here if Louisville went to the Camping World Bowl over VT.
If for some reason NC State and Louisville ended up with the Camping World and TaxSlayer spots, the Pinstripe Bowl would likely be VT's landing spot though that is very unlikely at this point.
Bowl Projection: Virginia Tech to the Camping World Bowl
At the end of the day, Virginia Tech is very likely to end up in the Camping World Bowl thanks largely to Alabama making the playoff over Ohio State and Wisconsin. That decision has set it up for a Big 10 team to go to the Orange Bowl and Notre Dame to go to the Citrus Bowl, clearing the way for the Hokies to go to the Camping World Bowl.
While there is a chance that the Camping World Bowl could choose Louisville purely due to the fact that they have Lamar Jackson, that seems unlikely at this point. In theory, the Camping World Bowl could choose NC State, but the only reason for that would be if they wanted the team that hasn't played in this bowl in the longest amount of time, that's the only reason.
Hokie fans, you can begin looking at airplane tickets and hotel reservations in Orlando. The Hokies are likely headed to the land of Disney for this year's bowl game.
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