Barring anything crazy happening over the last few weeks of the season (yeah, right) or the teams listed next winning-out, FSU (13-0) will be going to the first ever College Football Playoff, Clemson (10-2) will be the ACC rep in the Orange Bowl and Duke (11-2) will probably head to the Russell Athletic. If the Cards win out though, and/or Duke loses a game, would the Russell Athletic Bowl want to take Louisville again? Quite possibly. Notre Dame took an ‘L’ to Arizona State, removing them from Playoff contention, but they could still land in a “New Year’s Day 6” access bowl if they don’t lose again. If the Irish play in either the Peach, Fiesta, Orange, or Cotton, they won’t take an ACC bowl. It’s weird to think that if the Cards beat the Irish in two weeks, Notre Dame – with 3 losses – will likely take a better bowl from Louisville based on their agreement with the ACC.
That leaves the second tier of bowls that the ACC will work to place their schools in for the best match-up and travel for fans. Those games are: Music City OR TaxSlayer vs. SEC; Belk vs. SEC; Sun vs. Pac-12; or the Pinstripe vs. the Big Ten. You can all but cross the Pinstripe off the list because BC will likely be the choice there. The Sun probably wouldn’t be the best option because it falls on the same day (and exact time) as the UofL-UK basketball game. However, that doesn’t mean that the bowl won’t pick them. The win over Boston College puts the Cards squarely in the hunt for the Music City in Nashville or TaxSlayer in Jacksonville (formerly the Gator). New this year is the agreement with the Big Ten and SEC for these games. Based on the best match-up, the ACC and Big Ten will rotate with each other between these two games to play someone from the SEC. For example, if Louisville gets selected for the TaxSlayer Bowl, a Big Ten team will play in the Music City and vice versa. There’s still a lot to play out, but these are the three bowl games to keep an eye on as the 2014 campaign wraps up.