You’ll read plenty of bowl projections over the next few months. As BC fans already know, the bowls are far from merit based and numerous political and financial considerations come into play when deciding who goes where. Outside of winning the ACC Championship Game, everything is in play. Here are my early predictions on where BC might end up. (Sorry if this puts a damper on your day)
The BCS Championship Game
Biggest Obstacle: The schedule and national perception
Explanation: I am overly optimistic about the season, but let’s be real. BC would be the longest of long shots to make to the National Championship Game. We are outside the Top 25 in the Coaches poll and no unranked preseason team has finished the regular season as 1 or 2 in the BCS rankings in the formula’s short history. Even an undefeated season might keep us out given the polls and computer formulas. It would be my dream, but it is just not going to happen.
The Orange Bowl
Biggest Obstacle: Finishing atop the ACC Atlantic
Explanation: I actually like our chances at making it to the Orange Bowl because it is the only Bowl destination where BC could control its own destiny. Our ACC schedule is brutal so who we lose to is very important. To get to the Orange Bowl we need to win the division which makes intra division losses critical. So remember as the season approaches that a loss to Miami or Virginia Tech is not as harmful as a loss to Florida State or Clemson.
The Gator Bowl
Biggest Obstacle: Notre Dame
Explanation: I think Notre Dame is a lock for this bowl. The Irish are very young and unlikely to make a BCS game again. Yet with some of their luster restored look for the Gator folks to jump on their chance to grab Notre Dame in the Big East slot. While I think our fans would travel very well for a BC-ND matchup and provide a good TV rating, I doubt the bowl committee will roll the dice with a rematch of a regular season game. I also think the Irish would use their leverage to avoid playing us twice. And even if the Irish aren’t the pick, BC would have to be very special (11-1 or so) in order to get selected over teams like Clemson and Florida State who travel much better.
The Chick-Fil-A Bowl
Biggest Obstacle: Georgia Tech
Explanation: I’ve always felt that we would be a great team for the Chick/Peach Bowl. Given the proximity to UGA, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn, the game is almost always sold out. With the tickets sold, TV becomes the second focus and ratings is one area where BC consistently delivers in bowls. The obstacle will be the pressure on the Bowl Committee to take Georgia Tech. With UGA having played in the bowl last season, the Jackets will want their turn at the Atlanta postseason stage soon. If they are good enough they will probably get the call over BC.
Meineke Bowl (Charlotte)
Biggest Obstacle: History
Explanation: There is no way we are going back. Not for the third time in four years. We wouldn’t want it. Charlotte wouldn’t want it. The organizers would probably want Clemson or NC State.
Biggest Obstacle: Travel
Explanation: This game is in a good location (Orlando) against a Big Ten team, so I think most BC fans would be fairly happy with it. However it comes at a bad time -- late December. Flights and hotels are very expensive to Orlando that week. Would playing a midlevel Big Ten team be enough to get BC fans to travel? I don’t know. I would guess we would send less than 10,000 people and never hear the end of it.
Biggest Obstacle: BC fans' expectations
Explanation: Like the Peach Bowl, the location of this game in Nashville ensures pretty good attendance from the SEC side. I think the bowl organizers would probably like hosting BC again given their other choices. I think the problem would be selling this to BC fans. Even though it has been six years since we played there, it would feel like another lower-level, rehash bowl. I don’t think our turnout would be very good for this game.
San Francisco Bowl
Biggest Obstacle: The ACC bowl agreements
Explanation: If not for the ACC’s “within one loss” bowl rule, I think this game would be our permanent home. However if BC finishes with five or more wins in the ACC, it is nearly impossible for us to slide this far. However, four ACC wins makes San Fran a strong possibility.
Biggest Obstacle: Gene D.
Explanation: After the utter disappointment of our last trip there and the uncomfortable moments with the hosts, I don’t see us returning. I also think Gene D. would play ever card in the book to avoid a return trip as it would seem like a major step back for the program.