ACC Bowl Primer
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is still enjoying the Holidays. Bowl season is already off to a great start, but the ACC teams finally get going tomorrow. The ACC had ten teams qualify for a bowl game this year. I'm going to take a look at all ten games and predict the winners. Hopefully all ten games will be played, as Covid is causing issues all over the sports world. There are multiple games are already facing questions, but I'm going to break down the games as they currently stand.
Monday, December 27th
Military Bowl Presented by Peraton
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium- Annapolis, MD
Boston College (6-6) vs East Carolina (7-5)- 2:30 PM ESPN
Regardless of what happens in this game, Boston College fans already have something to celebrate. Both Phil Jurkovec and Zay Flowers have announced that they will be returning to the Eagles for the 2022 season. Boston College was much better this season with Jurkovec in the lineup. The team was playing very well in November before getting shellacked by Wake Forest to end the season. ECU ended the season strong as well. They won 4 straight games against AAC foes before losing to playoff-bound Cincinnati in the final week of the season.
Line: Boston College -3, O/U 51.5
Pick: BC -3
Tuesday, December 28th
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Gerald J. Ford Stadium- Dallas, TX
Air Force (9-3) vs Louisville (6-6)- 3:15 PM ESPN
Air Force has a spectacular offense and they do it almost exclusively on the ground. They lead the country in rushing yards by over 60 yards per game. Air Force has won their last three games and should be able to score with Louisville. Louisville has been up and down all year and you never know which Louisville team you're going to get, but I'm going with Louisville in this one because they'll have the best player on the field in Malik Cunningham.
Line: Louisville -1.5, O/U 55.5
Pick: Louisville -1.5 & Over 55.5
San Diego County Credit Unit Holiday Bowl
Petco Park- San Diego, CA
UCLA (8-4) vs NC State (9-3)- 8 PM FOX
NC State is the first of three different ACC teams to play on a baseball field this bowl season. The Wolfpack had an incredible season, but still had plenty of what-ifs. They lost two ACC games by a combined 4 points. They finished the season off with an incredible come back over UNC and will look to win this game to get some momentum heading into a 2022 season that should be filled with expectations. Chip Kelly finally got his offense rolling at UCLA on the backs of Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet. They averaged 49.3 points over their last three games. I like NC State, but I'm going with UCLA in this one. I expect DTR to ball out and prove to his coach that he didn't need to bring in highly touted transfer Dillon Gabriel.
Line: NC State -1, O/U 59.5
Pick: UCLA ML
Wednesday, December 29th
Wasabi Fenway Bowl
Fenway Park- Boston, MA
SMU (8-4) vs Virginia (6-6)- 11 AM ESPN
UVA is in an interesting spot in this game by essentially having 2 head coaches at this time. Bronco Mendenhall has announced his retirement from college football and this will be his final game. The Cavaliers have already hired Clemson's OC Tony Elliott to be the new head guy, but he won't be involved in this game at all. SMU also is going through a coaching changeover as Sonny Dykes has moved on to take the TCU job. He is taking their offensive coordinator with him to TCU and the Mustangs top two receivers have already declared for the draft. They could struggle to find offense, but UVA's defense has helped out struggling offenses all year. Expect lots of points and for Brennan Armstrong to sling it all over Fenway. This could be the start of his 2022 Heisman campaign. I expect UVA to win one for Coach Mendenhall.
NOTE: It now looks like UVA isn't going to play in this game.
Line: UVA -2.5, O/U 71.5
Pick: UVA -2.5
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Yankee Stadium- Bronx, NY
Maryland (6-6) vs Virginia Tech (6-6)- 2:15 PM ESPN
Virginia Tech is going through a major changeover with Brent Pry taking over for Justin Fuente who was fired before the end of the season. J.C. Price will lead the Hokies into Yankee Stadium without their starting quarterback. Both Braxton Burmeister and Knox Kadum entering the transfer portal, it will be Connor Blumrick starting for the Hokies, who's top two receivers have also decided to transfer. The Hokies will probably try to run the ball on almost every down. Maryland is led by Taulia Tagovailoa and it was an accomplishment for them to get to 6 wins this year with as difficult as their schedule was. Maryland's best win of the year was over West Virginia, who Virginia Tech lost to earlier this year.
Line: Maryland -3.5, O/U 55
Pick: Maryland -3.5
Camping World Stadium- Orlando, FL
Clemson (9-3) vs Iowa State (7-5)- 5:45 PM ESPN
Clemson has lost both of their coordinators to Power Five head coaching jobs, but Dabo decided to promote from within, so there shouldn't be too much change from them on either side of the ball. Clemson has a top 5 defense in the country and struggled on offense earlier in the year, but started to figure it out towards the end of the season. They scored 30 or more points in their final 5 games. Iowa State will be without their running back, Breece Hall, as he has declared for the NFL draft. They'll lean on Brock Purdy to throw the ball more in this game, but they're without two of their receivers and they're going up against one of the best secondaries in the country. I don't know why this line isn't higher. Bet it up to a touchdown.
Line: Clemson -1, O/U 44
Pick: Clemson -6.5
Thursday, December 30th
Duke's Mayo Bowl
Bank of America Stadium- Charlotte, NC
North Carolina (6-6) vs South Carolina (6-6)- 11:30 AM ESPN
Carolina vs Carolina with the winning coach getting covered in mayonnaise. How could it get more intriguing than that? Sam Howell has announced that he's going to suit up for the Tar Heels and will try to continue putting up big numbers, but this time against an SEC defense. South Carolina has had some nice wins this year, but have also looked very average at other points. I expect Mack Brown to be covered Duke's Mayo at the end of this one, but look for the Gamecocks to keep it close.
Line: UNC -9, O/U 58.5
Pick: South Carolina +9
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Stadium- Atlanta, GA
Pittsburgh (11-2) vs Michigan State (10-2)- 7 PM ESPN
Unfortunately, this game is becoming more about who won't be playing instead of who will be playing. This would have been a fantastic matchup in the regular season, but opt-outs have pretty much made this game a 2022 preseason game. Sparty will be without their best player, Kenneth Walker III, who has already declared for the NFL Draft. The ACC champs will be without their best player as well, as Kenny Pickett has also declared for the draft. Offensive Coordinator, Mark Whipple, has also left the Panthers to take the same position at Nebraska. I have no idea what to expect out of Pittsburgh. I'm taking the Spartans in this one simply because they have less question marks.
Line: Michigan State -2.5, O/U 56
Pick: MSU -2.5
Friday, December 31st
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
TIAA Bank Field- Jacksonville, FL
Wake Forest (10-3) vs Rutgers (5-7)- 11 AM ESPN
Texas A&M was supposed to be playing in this game, but had to withdraw due to Covid. Rutgers was able to fill in as an alternate. Not that this is breaking news, but Rutgers isn't as good as Texas A&M. Wake Forest should be able to handle their business in this matchup and build towards what should be a successful 2022 season. Dave Clawson signed a contract extension to be the Demon Deacons head coach for the long haul. Sam Hartman will also be returning next year and Wake Forest should be able to compete for the Atlantic division again. Wake Forest should be able to score at will in this one.
Line: Wake Forest -14, O/U 61.5
Pick: Wake -14
Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Sun Bowl- El Paso, TX
Washington State (7-5) vs Miami (7-5)- 12 PM CBS
This is another game that is in question because Miami is supposedly dealing with Covid issues, so hopefully this game can be played. Both of these teams are being led by interim coaches, but Washington State has named Jake Dickert as the permanent coach. Miami has parted ways with Manny Diaz and dropped a ton of money in order to bring Mario Cristobal back to South Florida. Miami has high hopes for the future and rightfully so. Cristobal is a fantastic recruiter and should be able to make the Hurricanes relevant again. They've also got a great center piece to build around in Tyler Van Dyke. The freshman has looked the part during the 2nd half of the season. I think the Cristobal/Van Dyke combo will be competing for ACC Championships in the next couple of years. But all of that is in the future. This game has too much changeover and I'm not expecting a whole lot of excitement from it. Take the under.
Line: Even, O/U 59
Pick: Under 59