Picking bowl games is increasingly becoming a chore. There’s 41 of them now.
After a so-so run through non-conference play (finishing strong with a 3-1 record in ACC-SEC rivalry weekend) and a 4-7 mark last postseason, Clemson’s conference is an underdog in 7-of-9 matchups, including the Tigers’ Playoff semifinal (+3 1/2 to Oklahoma).
For reference, the SEC has 8-of-10 teams favored, including all seven SEC West teams – after going 1-4 as a division last bowl season.
The ACC has three of the seven teams as underdogs with better records against Power 5 teams this bowl season: Clemson, Duke (+2 against Indiana) and UNC (+3 against Baylor).
Among Playoff teams, the Tigers are given the third-best odds at the title (11-2), behind Alabama (10-11) and Oklahoma (9-4). Michigan State isn’t far behind Clemson (6-1).
ACC Bowl Schedule
Sun Bowl (El Paso): Miami vs. Washington State – 2 p.m. (CBS)
Pinstripe (NYC): Duke vs. Indiana – 3:30 (ABC)
Independence (Shreveport): Virginia Tech vs. Tulsa – 5:45 (ESPN)
Military (D.C.): Pittsburgh vs. No. 21 Navy – 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Russell Athletic (Orlando): No. 10 UNC vs. No. 17 Baylor – 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Belk (Charlotte): NC State vs. Miss. State – 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Music City (Nashville): – Louisville vs. Texas A&M – 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Chick-fil-A (Atlanta): No. 9 FSU vs. No. 19 Houston – Noon (ESPN)
Orange (Miami): No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Oklahoma – 4 p.m. (ESPN)
What the numbers say
Football Study Hall’s probabilities expects the ACC to narrowly grab a winning record:
54 percent for Clemson, 39 percent for UNC, 46 percent for State, 80 percent for FSU, 59 percent for Miami, 75 percent for VT, 42 percent for Duke, 35 percent for Pitt and 57 percent for Louisville.
ESPN’s Football Power Index, which has done markedly better predicting games than ranking teams, has the ACC going 5-4 as well, flipping on the Clemson, Duke, Pitt and Louisville results:
Clemson 37.1, UNC 41.1, FSU 72.8, VT 81, State 39.4, Pitt 51.9, LOU 40.2, Miami 51.1, Duke 59.4.