In what can only be described as a successful postseason, ACC Football went 4-2 in it’s bowl match-ups, including an excellent win over a top tier SEC school in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Belk Bowl – Cincinnati 48, Duke 34
The Blue Devils held tough all game long and appeared to be going in for the go-ahead score before it all went terribly, terribly wrong and the Bearcats pulled out the win. Things are definitely looking up for Duke football, but this one was a tough pill to swallow.
Russell Athletic Bowl – Virginia Tech 13, Rutgers 10 ( OT )
In a game this author personally attended, the Hokies eked out an overtime win over the Scarlet Knights in one of the ugliest games of the bowl season. Offense was non-existent for both teams as just one offensive TD was scored all game. However, after being down 10-0 going into the 4th quarter, the Hokies did something they often fail to do and came back to win. Next up for the Hokies: Alabama in Atlanta to kick-off the 2013 season.
Music City Bowl – Vanderbilt 38, NC State 24
The SEC had the edge in this one, as the Commodores forced 5 TDs and beat the Wolfpack. NC State couldn’t really seem to get in sync and build momentum in the game. Debbie Yow’s new BFF (Dave Doeren) watched from the stands as her old BFF (James Franklin) pulled off the win.
Sun Bowl – Georgia Tech 21, USC 7
After getting a waiver to even play in a bowl game, the Yellow Jackets beat a Trojans team that either clearly didn’t want to be there or was terribly prepared for the game … or more likely, both. Lane Kiffin guided his team to being the first preseason #1 to finish unranked since the 60s. Georgia Tech looks like they have a player in Vad Lee, but their future fortunes will depend much more on a defense that needs to carry over it’s performance to next season.
Chick-fil-A Bowl - Clemson 25, LSU 24
In what was easily the best ACC bowl game of the season, the Tigers beat the Tigers (what?!) as Clemson hung in all game and took advantage of some questionable play calls by Les Miles to pull out the last second win. Tajh Boyd is a boss, that’s about all that can be said. Dude took a serious beating but came through in the end. Clemson looked like the sharpest and toughest ACC team to end the year.
Orange Bowl – Florida State 31, Northern Illinois 10
Ho-hum, the Seminoles beat a team they should have beaten and blah blah blah. At least the ACC got another BCS victory. No one will remember who it came against years down the road, but I suspect “BCS” victories won’t mean much anymore seeing as the BCS era is coming to a close next year. Anyway, this game was a bit closer a bit longer than people thought it would be, but FSU did what they do and won easily.
Coming into the bowl season, the ACC appeared to be a lock to win only one game, the Orange Bowl, so this postseason has to be considered a success any way you slice it. The bad news is that the bowl season has devolved into a generally meaningless series of exhibitions, so you can’t draw much from them… but conference pride, woooo! If it weren’t for the NC based schools, the ACC would have gone undefeated! (I keed, I keed…)