BOSTON — Miami chose to stay home, self-imposing a bowl ban for the second straight year in the hopes of staving off more drastic punishments later.
The NCAA told North Carolina to sit this one out.
Boston College, Virginia and Maryland are out of bowl consideration, with too few wins to qualify. And unless Wake Forest and Virginia Tech can win this weekend, the Atlantic Coast Conference could have five teams in bowl games — the fewest for the league since 2000, before beginning an expansion that brought it to it 12 schools.
“I think the guys need to know what’s at stake,” said Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe, whose team plays Vanderbilt on Saturday. “We have smart guys at Wake Forest, and I think they know that it’s either win or go home. If we win, we have a chance to play again. If we don’t win, we’re not going to be playing in the postseason.”
Even if the Hokies and Demon Deacons reach the requisite six wins, the ACC would have seven bowl-eligible teams for eight bowl slots.
Virginia Tech has the third-longest bowl streak in the nation, reaching the postseason for 19 consecutive years. Coach Frank Beamer, whose team plays Virginia this weekend, said he doesn’t think the lack of bowl-eligible teams is a long-term problem for the conference.
“Absolutely, I think the league is strong,” he said. “I just think you prove yourself over the long haul.”
No. 10 Florida State, which has a non-conference game against Florida this weekend, has clinched a spot in the ACC title game against Georgia Tech on Dec. 1; the winner will go to the Orange Bowl. No. 12 Clemson would likely be the next choice for the bowls, potentially heading to the Chik-fil-A Bowl.
With six wins and the potential for seven, North Carolina State and Duke — which has not played in a bowl since the 1994 season — are in the next group.
Wake Forest and Virginia Tech could fill spots in the Dec. 28 Independence Bowl and the Dec. 31 Music City Bowl. But the league will not have a team to send to the Dec. 27 Military Bowl.
“You look at two of them, (it’s) not because of the lack of win total,” Virginia coach Mike London said of the Hurricanes and Tar Heels. “Outside of those situations, you’d have two teams that would very much be in the hunt of having opportunities to go to a bowl game.
“The circumstances surrounding that are unfortunate, because it dealt with rules and infractions and violations. But from a football, on-the-field standpoint, they garnered enough wins to be considered to be bowl-eligible.”
The five bowls the ACC has locked up pay about $28 million, or about $2.3 million per the 12 members schools. Because even schools facing NCAA penalties are allowed a slice of the conference’s financial pie.