Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn't it?
The subsequent years have been grim, with the ACC enduring five consecutive losing postseasons. The league's bowl record during that stretch is 15-27, a downtrodden 6-17 against the Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12 and SEC.
Prospects for a reversal in the next three weeks hinge on upsets.
Four of the ACC’s six bowl teams are underdogs,
The lone solid ACC fave is
Not to suggest Vegas knows all. Moreover, given the preposterous lag time between the regular season and most bowls, late December and early January are much more volatile than September, October and November.
For example, how to handicap the head coaching changes affecting half of the ACC's bowls? Or the injuries known and unknown?
And never forget the party factor. Some players, even teams, are more intent on carousing than practicing at the bowl venue.
Those caveats noted, a look at the ACC's postseason:
* Duke (6-6) vs.
Cincinnati upset Virginia Tech 27-24 in September. Two weeks later, the Hokies beat Duke 41-20. Draw your own conclusions. The pick: Bearcats, 35-28.
* Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Rutgers (9-3), Russell Athletic Bowl, Dec. 28: If you’re looking for pinball-machine,
With losses to Cincinnati and
The Wolfpack and Mike Glennon rank 20th nationally in passing offense; the Commodores are 10th in pass defense, 15th in scoring defense. The pick: Vandy, 21-17.
* Georgia Tech (6-7) vs.
The Trojans began the year atop the national polls but have dropped four of their last five outings. The Yellow Jackets won their last four ACC regular-season games to backdoor into the league title game. Cool historical note courtesy of the conference office: The last time these teams met, in 1973, Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver
With Tajh Boyd,
* Florida State (11-2) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1), Orange Bowl, Jan. 1: Ranked among the top 10 nationally in every major defensive statistic, the Seminoles must stop Jordan Lynch, who torched
This is quite the head-coaching debut for the Huskies' Rod Carey, elevated from offensive coordinator after Doeren's exit to N.C. State. The pick: FSU, 35-20.
That figures to a 2-4 ACC bowl season. Not what the conference needs, but pretty much what we've come to expect.
I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP