2012 BCS AQ Conference Profile: Atlantic Coast Conference

BCS Know How will take you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2012 season. Short and sweet previews begin with the ACC. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

Active Since: 1953

Current Member Schools:

Atlantic Division: Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, Maryland Terrapins, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Coastal Division: Duke Blue Devils, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes, North Carolina Tar Heels, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies (12)

Bowl Affiliations: Orange Bowl (BCS), Military Bowl, Belk Bowl, Independence Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Music City Bowl, Sun Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl (8)

2011 Results:
Conference Champion — Clemson Tigers (10-4, 6-2, Coastal Division Champion)
Conference Runner-up — Virginia Tech Hokies (11-3, 7-1, Atlantic Division Champion)
BCS Bowl Results: 2012 Orange Bowl: West Virginia 70 vs. Clemson 33; 2012 Sugar Bowl: Michigan 23 vs. Virginia Tech 20
Overall Bowl Record: 2-6

2012 Outlook: Up, down and up again, Clemson spent the early part of the 2011 season as a top-10 team. Stumbles mid-season broke any chance of a national title shot for the Tigers, but a Clemson ACC championship game victory over Virginia Tech brought the ACC two BCS bids for the first time in conference history.

With an unparalleled season in that respect in the review mirror, can the ACC again deliver top-flight talent on a national stage? The pieces seem in place, as Florida State — BCS bowl-less since 2006 — is a preseason top-10 team and the consistent Hokies figure to play a role in the national discussion somewhere down the line.

A conference that hasn’t participated in the BCS title game since 2003 may have a shot with the Seminoles in 2012. but a so0n-to-be-outdated BCS title shot or not, the ACC is certainly a force to reckon with.

Heisman Hopefuls: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas; North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard; Florida State QB E.J. Manuel

BCS Know How’s 2012 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Florida State Seminoles
Conference Runner-up — Virginia Tech Hokies
BCS Bids — Florida State — Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists: None

Michigan Gets By Virginia Tech at SEC-less Sugar Bowl in OT, 23-20

Michigan kicker Brandan Gibbons nailed a 37-yard field goal in the first overtime to give Michigan its first BCS bowl victory since the 2000 Orange Bowl as the Wolverines topped Virginia Tech in a hard-fought Sugar Bowl, 23-20.

Neither team came out of the gates firing, but persistent play from both ends made the game a back-and-forth battle of attrition. Michigan would head out to a 17-6 lead midway through the second quarter, but the Hokies were not fazed. On the strength of four Justin Myer field goals, Virginia Tech climbed all the way back, and had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation. Michigan’s defense stood tall when it needed to the most, however, and the Hokies settled for a field goal that send the game to overtime.

Myer was unable to convert a field goal attempt on the Hokies first drive, his first miss in his five attempts on the night, which set up Gibbons’ three point try after the Wolverines were visibly setting up the kicker for his attempt at the game-winner. A stutter step as the ball was hiked did not faze Gibbons, and the Wolverines proved victorious in New Orleans.

Clemson On Its Way to The Orange Bowl Following ACC Title Game Victory

An underdog coming into the ACC Championship Game, the Clemson Tigers stunned Virginia Tech, topping the Hokies 38-10 to secure the ACC’s automatic bid to the BCS and the conference crown.

With the victory, Clemson is assured of a spot in the Orange Bowl, as the bowl holds a contract with the ACC to host the conference’s champion if they are not headed to the BCS national title game.

Clemson is likely to be faced with the Big East’s conference champion, projected to be West Virginia, in the Miami-based BCS bowl that has seen plenty of exciting matchups throughout its storied history.

Clemson is led by quarterback Tahj Boyd, who helped bring the Tigers back into national prominence, and for a time, had the Tigers angling for a shot at a BCS title game berth. Faltering midway through the season prevented the Tigers from continuing to be contenders in that conversation, but a victory in Saturday’s ACC championship game certainly helped to emphasize the program’s revitalization.

2011 BCS AQ Conference Profiles: Atlantic Coast Conference

Welcome to the 2011 college football season! BCS Know How will be taking you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences and five non-AQ conferences with profiles of each conference. We begin with the ACC. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other 10 conferences.

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

Active Since: 1953

Current Member Schools:

Atlantic Division: Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, Maryland Terrapins, North Carolina State Wolfpack, Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Coastal Division: Duke Blue Devils, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Miami (Fl.) Hurricanes, North Carolina Tar Heels, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies. (12)

Bowl Affiliations: Orange Bowl (BCS), Independence Bowl, Belk Bowl, Military Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Music City Bowl, Sun Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl (8)

2010 Results:
Conference Champion – Virginia Tech Hokies (11-3, 8-0, Coastal Division Champion)
Conference Runner-up – Florida State Seminoles (10-4, 6-2, Atlantic Division Champion)
BCS Bowl Result: 2011 Orange Bowl: Stanford 40 vs. Virginia Tech 12
Overall Bowl Record: 4-5

2011 Outlook: A consistently strong conference, the ACC delivers each year with talent from top to bottom.

2011 seems to be no different, as resurgent Miami, NC State, North Carolina and Boston College join the ranks of recent powers Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia Tech as legitimate contender’s for the conference’s BCS bid.

Can Virginia Tech make it two conference championships in a row, or will Florida State take that next step? Or could it be any of the handful of other teams seemingly on their way up?

Heisman Hopefuls: Virginia Tech RB David Wilson, Maryland QB Danny O’Brien, Florida State QB E.J. Manuel

BCS Know How’s 2011 Predictions:
Conference Champion – Florida State Seminoles
Conference Runner-up – Virginia Tech Hokies
BCS Bids – Florida State – Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists: None

Virginia Tech On Their Way to the Orange Bowl

Virginia Tech used a masterful performance from quarterback Tyrod Taylor and a well-rounded attack to take down Florida State in the ACC Championship Game and claim an ACC title and Orange Bowl bid.

By winning the ACC Championship Game but not making their way to the national title game, the Hokies will fulfill the ACC’s contractual agreement with the ACC and act as the host of the Orange Bowl, which will be held January 3 in Miami, Fl.

The Hokies had an inauspicious start to their 2010 season, losing two straight to Oregon State and FCS James Madison, however since that embarrassing loss to a FCS team, the Hokies have reeled off 11 straight victories.

The Hokies’ opponent is yet to be decided in the Orange Bowl, but will likely either be the Big East champions or the Stanford Cardinal.

This will be Virginia Tech’s fifth appearance in a BCS bowl and third Orange Bowl appearance in four years.

Florida State Clinches Spot in ACC Championship Game

Maryland’s upset 38-31 victory over NC State on Saturday has given the ACC Atlantic Division title to the Florida State Seminoles, and in turn, a berth in the ACC Championship Game to be held next Saturday, December 4.

Florida State had not been in control of its own destiny on Saturday, instead playing Florida in a non-conference rivalry game while Maryland and NC State played in the game that would decide the Atlantic victor.

The Seminoles were convincing in their 31-7 victory over Florida, however the game could not effect the race for the spot in the ACC Championship Game.

An NC State victory would have given the Wolfpack the Atlantic crown and sent them on their way to Charlotte, North Carolina to play for the ACC’s automatic BCS bowl bid and likely trip to the Orange Bowl. However with a chance to control their own BCS destiny, the Wolfpack fell just short against the Terrapins.

The Virginia Tech Hokies will be awaiting the Seminoles after they clinched their spot in the game last weekend, and rounded out their ACC schedule on Saturday with a convincing victory over Virginia.

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Rundown Week 12

Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Florida State (8-3, 6-2; Atlantic Division) and Virginia Tech (9-2, 7-0; Clinched Coastal Division)

Lurking: North Carolina State (8-3, 5-2; Atlantic Division)

Game of Last Week: North Carolina State 29 vs. North Carolina 25. Down nine points late, NC State used a couple of exciting plays to stay alive in the Atlantic Division race until its final weekend.

Game of Next Week: NC State vs. Maryland. A victory for the Wolfpack would give them the Atlantic Division crown, while a Maryland victory would hand the title to Florida State.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida State Seminoles, Virginia Tech Hokies, Maryland Terrapins, North Carolina State Wolfpack, North Carolina Tar Heels, Miami Hurricanes, Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (10-0, 7-0)

Lurking: Stanford (10-1, 7-1)

Game of Last Week: Oregon State 36 vs. USC 7. USC continued its historic struggles in the state of Oregon, falling to Oregon State yet again, this time barely putting up a fight while Matt Barkley had to leave the game after injuring his ankle.

Game of Next Week: Oregon vs. Arizona. What will likely be Oregon’s final matchup against a ranked team until bowl season may be the final time Oregon could be in danger of falling victim to an upset.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal.

SEC

Conference Leaders: South Carolina (8-3, 5-3; East Division) and Auburn (11-0, 7-0; West Division) have clinched their respective conference titles and will play in the SEC Championship Game on December 4th.

Game of Last Week: Arkansas 38 vs. Mississippi State 31. The Bulldogs and Razorbacks went back and forth on Saturday, neither team ever taking control until Arkansas finally was able to contain the Bulldog offense in the second overtime.

Game of Next Week: Auburn vs. Alabama. The Iron Bowl. Two top-12 teams. A chance for the No. 2 team in the country to fall victim to its instate rival looking for a season-defining win. What could be better?

Bowl Eligible Teams: LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Arkansas Razorbacks, South Carolina Gamecocks, Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats.

Virginia Tech Clinches a Spot in the ACC Championship Game

With their victory over Miami on Saturday, the Virginia Tech Hokies clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game, to be held December 4th in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Hokies started the season with two crushing losses to Boise State and FCS James Madison, but rebounded and are now the only remaining team in the ACC to be undefeated through conference play.

The Hokies play Virginia next weekend, and a win there would give them a perfect 8-0 run through their ACC schedule and 10 straight wins headed into the ACC Championship Game.

The Hokies will either face the Florida State Seminoles or the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the ACC Championship Game.

If the Maryland Terrapins beat NC State next Saturday, the Hokies will face Florida State, however if the Wolfpack beat the Terrapins, the Hokies will see NC State on the other sideline.

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Rundown Week 11

Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Florida State (7-3, 5-2; Atlantic Division) and Virginia Tech (8-2, 6-0; Coastal Division)

Lurking: Maryland (7-3, 4-2; Atlantic Division) and Miami (7-3, 5-2; Coastal Division)

Game of Last Week: Florida State 16 vs. Clemson 13. Kicker Dustin Hopkins blasted a 55-yard game-winning kick to give the Seminoles a win after two crushing losses in previous weeks.

Game of Next Week: Virginia Tech vs. Miami. A victory here will give Virginia Tech the Coastal Division crown, while a Miami victory leaves the conference race up for grabs on the final weekend.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida State Seminoles, Virginia Tech Hokies, Maryland Terrapins, North Carolina State Wolfpack, North Carolina Tar Heels, Miami Hurricanes.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (10-0, 7-0)

Lurking: Stanford (9-1, 6-1)

Game of Last Week: Oregon 15 vs. California 13. The Bears were able to do what many had tried and failed to do — stop Oregon’s explosive offense. But even a valiant effort on defense just wasn’t enough as a missed field goal doomed the Bears and allowed Oregon to remain undefeated and at No. 1 in the BCS.

Game of Next Week: Stanford vs. California. Just a week after giving Oregon all kinds of trouble, the Bears will welcome Stanford to Berkeley for the revival of the rivalry game, hoping to knock the Cardinal out of the BCS at-large race.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal.

SEC

Conference Leaders: South Carolina (7-3, 5-3; East Division) and Auburn (11-0, 7-0; West Division) have clinched their respective conference titles and will play in the SEC Championship Game on December 4th.

Game of Last Week: Auburn 49 vs. Georgia 31. A recently revitalized Georgia team gave the Tigers all they could handle for about three quarters until Cam Newton and Auburn pulled away and clinched the SEC West crown.

Game of Next Week: Arkansas vs. Mississippi State. A very important game in terms of bowl positioning and for Arkansas, a slim chance of keeping a BCS at-large bid hope alive.

Bowl Eligible Teams: LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Arkansas Razorbacks, South Carolina Gamecocks, Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats.

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Rundown Week Ten

Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Florida State (6-3, 4-2; Atlantic Division) and Virginia Tech (7-2, 5-0; Coastal Division)

Lurking: North Carolina State (6-2, 3-2; Atlantic Division) and Miami (6-3, 4-2; Coastal Division)

Game of Last Week: North Carolina 37 vs. Florida State 35. With a chance to extend their lead on the Atlantic Division, the Seminoles botched two opportunities to put the game away and kept the race open for another week.

Game of Next Week: Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina. The Hokies are undefeated in ACC conference play, but will be tested on the road in against the Tar Heels.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida State Seminoles, Virginia Tech Hokies, Maryland Terrapins, North Carolina State Wolfpack, North Carolina Tar Heels, Miami Hurricanes.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (8-0, 5-0)

Lurking: Stanford (8-1, 5-1)

Game of Last Week: USC 34 vs. Arizona State 33. For the first time this season, the Trojans were not the victims of a last-second field goal attempt and hung on for this thrilling victory.

Game of Next Week: Oregon vs. California. The chances for an upset of the Ducks are certainly dwindling, but the Bears could prove to be a tough road test for the Ducks this late in the season.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal.

SEC

Conference Leaders: South Carolina (6-3, 4-3; East Division) and Auburn (10-0, 6-0; West Division)

Lurking: Florida (6-3, 4-3; East Division) and LSU (8-1, 5-1; West Division)

Game of Last Week: LSU 24 vs. Alabama 21. The Crimson Tide still had a sliver of hope to take the 2010 season all the way to a repeat national title, but those hopes came crashing down on Saturday as LSU beat the Tide with fourth-down gambles and gritty play.

Game of Next Week: South Carolina vs. Florida. This one is for the East Division crown and a berth in the SEC title game.

Bowl Eligible Teams: LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Arkansas Razorbacks, South Carolina Gamecocks, Florida Gators.