ACC leads all conferences with 10 ticketed for postseason games
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Defending national champion Clemson’s return to the College Football Playoff for the fifth consecutive year highlighted a Sunday in which the Atlantic Coast Conference landed a nation-leading 10 bowl bids.
The five-time ACC Champion Tigers (13-0) are No. 3 in the CFP Top 25 poll and will face No. 2 Ohio State (13-0) in the CFP Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28.
If the Tigers advance past the Buckeyes, they will face No. 1 LSU (13-0) or No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1) for the CFP National Championship at 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 13, in New Orleans.
Clemson is bidding for the program’s fourth national football championship and the fourth by an ACC team in the last seven seasons.
Both CFP semifinals and the national championship game will be carried live by ESPN.
Clemson’s five overall CFP selections tie Alabama for the most of any school in the six-year history of the Playoff’s existence. The ACC has placed a team in the Playoff in each of those six years. The Tigers earned the No. 1 seed in 2015 and in 2017, and were the No. 2 seed in 2016 and 2018. Florida State was seeded No. 3 as the conference champion in 2014.
Clemson and Ohio State also met in the Fiesta Bowl as part of the 2016 CFP Semifinal, where the No. 2 Tigers blanked the No. 3 Buckeyes 31-0.
The ACC is one of just two conferences that has placed a team in the CFP or the BCS Championship in each of the last seven years.
Since 2013, the ACC is second among all conferences with 75 postseason appearances in addition to leading in national championships with three.
Sunday also saw ACC Coastal Division Champion Virginia (9-4) accept an invitation to play Florida in the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. That game is scheduled to kick off on Monday, Dec. 30, at 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN.
The game will mark No. 24 Virginia’s first appearance in the Orange Bowl and first in any “New Year’s Six” game. It will be UVA’s 21st overall bowl appearance and third consecutive under fourth-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall. No. 9 Florida is 10-2 and finished second in the SEC’s East Division.
Virginia Tech (8-4), which received a bid to the Belk Bowl, will be appearing in a bowl game for the 27th consecutive year, extending the longest active streak in college football.
Boston College (6-6), Florida State (6-6) Louisville (7-5), Miami (6-6), North Carolina (6-6), Pitt (7-5) and Wake Forest (8-4) are also bound for bowl games.
Over the last four years, the ACC has placed 42 teams in bowl games, tying for the best among all conferences. For the 19th consecutive season, the ACC has earned at least six bowl bids. The ACC ranks second among all conferences with 137 bowl appearances since 2005.
Boston College is headed to the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl and will face No. 21 Cincinnati (10-3). The game is set for Thursday, Jan. 2, at 3 p.m., at historic Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The Eagles are 14-12 all-time in bowl games. Last season’s First Responder Bowl in Dallas was cancelled due to inclement weather in the first quarter with BC leading No. 23 Boise State 7-0.
This year’s bowl appearance marks the fourth straight for Boston College and the sixth bowl trip in the previous seven seasons.
Florida State will face Arizona State (7-5) in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday, Dec. 31 (2 p.m., CBS). The Seminoles will appear in the postseason for an NCAA-best 38th time in the last 40 seasons. The Seminoles will return to the Sun Bowl for the first time since 1966 and also played in the 1954 Sun Bowl, which was the second bowl appearance in program history.
Florida State leads the all-time series with Arizona State 3-1 and has won three straight games against the Sun Devils. The Seminoles are 9-2 all-time against current members of the Pac-12.
Louisville has accepted a bid to play Mississippi State (6-6) in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday, Dec. 30, at Nissan Stadium. The game will kick off at 4 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.
This will be Louisville’s second appearance in the Music City Bowl. The Cardinals defeated Texas A&M 27-21 in the 2015 bowl behind a bowl-record 226 yards rushing from quarterback Lamar Jackson. This year’s bowl appearance will be the 23rd school history. Louisville coach Scott Satterfield, the 2019 ACC Coach of the Year, will lead a team to a bowl game for the fifth time in his career.
Miami will travel to the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl to take on Louisiana Tech (9-3) at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26 (ESPN). This marks the 43rd time in school history that the Hurricanes have competed in a bowl game and the seventh consecutive year.
It will be the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools and the first head-to-head contest since 2004. Miami won each of the four previous meetings.
North Carolina has been selected to play in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman against Temple (8-4). Kickoff is noon on Friday, Dec. 27, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland (ESPN).
UNC will be making its first trip to the Military Bowl and will face Temple for the first time. The Tar Heels will play in their 34th bowl game and first since 2016.
Pitt is bound for Detroit and the Quick Lane Bowl versus Eastern Michigan (6-6) on Dec. 26 (8 p.m., ESPN). It marks Pitt’s 35th all-time bowl appearance and fourth under the direction of Coach Pat Narduzzi. The Panthers enter the postseason with a 7-5 overall record and can win eight games for the third time under Narduzzi.
Pitt and Eastern Michigan have played twice before, most recently in 2007, a 27-3 Pitt victory at Heinz Field. The initial meeting was in 1995, when the Panthers defeated the Eagles, 66-30, in Pitt Stadium.
Virginia Tech will face Kentucky (7-5) in the Belk Bowl at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 31 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina (ESPN). The contest will mark the first meeting between the two schools since 1987. This year’s game will be Tech’s second trek to the Belk Bowl under head coach Justin Fuente. The Hokies completed the largest second-half comeback in school history in the 2016 Belk Bowl, rattling off 35 unanswered points for a 35-24 victory over Arkansas.
Virginia Tech’s current bowl streak of 27 consecutive seasons is the third-longest streak in college football history behind Nebraska’s 35-year streak (1969-2002) and Michigan’s 33-year stretch (1975-2006). Virginia Tech’s current bowl streak began with a 45-20 win over Indiana in the 1993 Independence Bowl under head coach Frank Beamer.
Wake Forest will be matched Big Ten representative Michigan State (6-6) in the New Pinstripe Bowl on Friday, Dec. 27, at New York’s Yankee Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN with kickoff at 3:20 p.m.
The Demon Deacons will be facing the Spartans for the first time in school history. Wake Forest will be making its school-record fourth consecutive bowl appearance under head coach Dave Clawson. Among all programs nationally with at least 10 bowl game appearances, the Deacons are 9-4 to rank fourth nationally in winning percentage (.692).