Who Could Our Bowl Opponents Be (Emerald)?

Posted by: Avinash on Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

emerald bowlWell, guess what. After bashing the conference for weeks, it looks like I’ll be watching ACC football these next two weeks. What goes around comes around I guess.

Here are the likelihood of bowls, in order: Emerald Bowl (most likely), Sun Bowl (possible), Las Vegas (doubtful), Holiday Bowl (pipe dream). If Ragnarok is correct, by all likelihood, the Emerald Bowl is in our sights, because you know UCLA is going to pull some amazing shit and beat either Oregon or USC. However, if UCLA loses out, and Oregon State loses one of its last two, AND we win out, then there’s a good probability we go to the Sun Bowl. Certainly looks likely, but whatever, this year has been anything but predictable in the Pac-10.

So I’m going to take a look at the top 3 bowls, post by post. Time to roll our possibilities out.

So we’d get the ACC #5/#6/#7 this year, which just seems completely unfair on paper. Of course UCLA completely embarrassed the conference last year by spotting 44 to turgid Florida State, but that is why Karl Dorrell is Karl Dorrell. I actually think the Sun Bowl is still within our reach, although I’m sure most Cal fans would prefer to lose at Washington and stay in San Francisco then spending New Year’s Eve in male escort-friendly El Paso.

Who’s currently battling it out in there for sub-mediocrity in the consistently medicore Atlantic Coast Conference?


fsusluttyCurrently occupying the positions are Wake Forest, NC State, and Florida State. We can probably count out the Seminoles–they were here last year, and I don’t think the Emerald wants a repeat ACC team. Nevertheless, if Florida State does return, fresh off their second year of phasing out academics, I’ll be a little concerned–their run D is top-notch, giving up only 100 yards a game. Of course, considering the quality of ACC running backs of late, this probably doesn’t mean too much.
Naturally, FSU has its own troubles running the ball (120 yards per game–their leading rusher averages around a superb 65), and getting into the end zone (24 points per game), but they keep their opponents out too (20 points per game)–a typical, plodding, 21st century Bobby Bowden season. Plus it’d be fun to see the appropriately named De’Cody Fagg march into Castro on a Saturday night.

Naturally, as a childhood Gator fan, I would love to crush the Seminoles and their moronic fans. USC fans might be empty, but FSU fans are worthless. These are the people that make NASCAR a legit sport. I despise this team.

Wake Forest: They beat Duke by 5 points. They lost to Nebraska at home. They were smacked around by Clemson 44-10 last week. The teams they’ve beaten are a combined 24-36. Their two signature wins are Navy and Florida State. That’s about all I know on this team. To say I’m underwhelmed would be a drastic understatement. I might get a chance to see them in two weeks if ESPN decides to broadcast Wake Forest-Vanderbilt; we’ll see what happens. Probably Vandy massacring them. I literally have nothing to say about this school. Except their mascot scares the hell out of me.

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This leads us to NC State, who still isn’t bowl-eligible. After starting the season 1-5, including an awesome loss to my dad’s old employer, UCF, the Wolfpack have strung together four wins against the powerful contingent of East Carolina, Virginia, Miami and North Carolina. Not exactly the SEC East right there, just raging ACC redneckery. NC State’s run offense is even worse than Florida State–their leading rusher Jamelle Eugene averages a mighty 60 yards per game.

They also give up an outstanding 185 yards on the ground per game, which would probably be about 385 yards in any other conference. 185 of anything (yards, point guards, fertile women) is a lot in the ACC. Their turnover differential is fourth to last in all of Division I. I will be sorely disappointed if we do not crush the Wolfpack if we play them. Nevertheless, we do have some small measure of revenge to exact–remember our prompt exit in the NCAA tournament two years ago? I think you know who took us out.

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The winner of NC State-Wake Forest could very well be our bowl opponent, barring a drastic collapse by…the dream matchup lying within reach for the Emerald sponsors–Boston College, who would have to lose at Clemson or Miami at home, and hope either Wake Forest or NC State wins out to vault up to 4th in the ACC. I watched this team play Virginia Tech; I have slight fear in Matt Ryan and no fear of anyone else. I’m fairly confident even our immobile defensive line can generate pressure on that smallish offensive line, and the secondary should have a fairly easy deal with what is looking like a mediocre receiving corps of the Screaming Eagles. And that defense? 109th against the pass. That’s worse than Stanford. Unfortunately…they have a lot of picks. Hold your breadth, Bears.


Plus their fans are astonishingly far far worse than USC’s. Imagine mixing the worst of USC self-absorption with Bostonian smugness, and you have a BC fan. I mean, look at what they do to poor Rudy (and I hate Notre Dame). I would feel happy sending those Eagles back cross-country picked of their feathers.

And then there’s Georgia Tech, who has a decent chance of sneaking into this spot if they beat North Carolina next week. This team worries me, but also might need to be cancelled due to mercy laws. Georgia Tech sucks. Their quarterback Taylor Bennett has thrown 4 TDs and 8 INTs all year. They rank 114th of 119 in passing efficiency. But their ineptitude in the passing game leads to heavy power running offense, and you all know what I think of our ability to constantly stop the run. The defense is fairly solid, one of the best in all of college football exactly, but again it’s exaggerated by the quality of their opponents (they’ve beaten Notre Dame, Samford, Army, Duke, Miami, and a decent Clemson team. Yuck.).

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If we jump out to a 14 point lead in this one, we win. If it’s close…we probably still win, but I’ll be hopelessly embarrassed if the Bears weren’t able to put away the Yellow Jackets. Because after all, beating down Chan Gailey is the right thing to do.

Other teams have an outside chance, but it’s way out there in the fringes. See Cal fans? We don’t have it that bad. Imagine if we had to root for any of these teams. And this is an off year for us.

Games of interest to follow these teams (all times PST)
Maryland at FSU, North Carolina at Georgia Tech, 9 AM, ESPN Gameplan
NC State at Wake Forest, 1 PM, ESPNU
Boston College at Clemson, 4:45 PM, ESPN2
Miami at Boston College, 9 AM, ESPN2 (tenative)
Maryland at NC State, 9 AM, ESPN Gameplan
Georgia at Georgia Tech, 12:30 PM, ABC regional (most likely only locally on the South/East Coast)
FSU at Florida, 2 PM, CBS
Wake Forest at Vanderbilt, TBA

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