Louisville’s Bowl won’t be known until this weekend after Championship games are played. But just to make everyone aware of the landscape, here is what we know.
ACC Title Game Implications
Georgia Tech is a LOCK for the Orange Bowl. With a Yellow Jacket win, GT won’t be ranked high enough to crack the College Football Playoff and is guaranteed a spot in Miami.
FSU with a loss would then more than likely gain an at-large spot in the Selection Committee Bowl Games aka “The New Year’s Six” – Cotton, Fiesta, or Peach (Orange already with GT, and Sugar/Rose being Playoff in 2014-15).
If things play out with an FSU victory over Georgia Tech, GT still goes to the Orange (based on Committee Rankings) and the Seminoles go to the College Football Playoff.
Russell Athletic Selection
The Russell Athletic Bowl gets 1st pick after the College Football Playoff & Orange Bowl are slotted. The choice will be Clemson as they are the next highest rated team and will square off against a Big 12 opponent.
The Bowl can choose who it wants here, but there is little doubt that the ACC would choose the higher ranked Clemson who also owns a head-to-head victory over the Cards.
Big Ten Title Game Implications – This is what we are watching
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State is a BIG game for the ACC’s bowl selections. IF the Big Ten sends a team to the Orange Bowl (in this case a winning Wisconsin Big Ten Champion) then the ACC would have a team in the Citrus Bowl.
Also it is very possible that Ohio State could win the Big Ten Title game and remain outside of the College Football Playoff. This will greatly be impacted by how the committee votes tomorrow in who replaces Mississippi State at #4 (TCU, Ohio State, or Baylor) and how those teams fare during Championship Week.
Also Alabama, Oregon, FSU, TCU, and Baylor all have games (with TCU being the only easy match-up). The Buckeyes have a bunch of ways into the College Football Playoff but everything hinges on Ohio State beating Wisconsin.
Odds are that Ohio State misses out and the Big Ten does send either Wisconsin or Ohio State to the Orange Bowl. Giving the ACC an extra Bowl slot in the Citrus Bowl, Louisville would be the highest ranked ACC team available. The Citrus Bowl is a January 1st game vs. an SEC team.
Tier 1 Games: Sun, Belk, Pinstripe, & either Gator/Music City
If the Big Ten does not send a team to the Orange Bowl, then Louisville would fall into the Tier 1 group of games identified as the Sun Bowl, Belk Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, and either the Gator Bowl or Music City (Gator/Music City split these bowls with a 3 appearances in 6 years split).
The remaining teams that weren’t qualified or selected for the above bowl games, including Notre Dame are pooled and then the committee selects the best bowl match-ups for the ACC. Notre Dame can not be selected before Louisville or Duke are slotted (based on record). Selections are expected to be based on geography, opponents, avoiding regular season rematches, etc.
The general feeling is that if Louisville is available the Cards will end up in the Gator Bowl/Music City bowl slot and will be determined based on how the bowl wants to use its ‘floater’ between the Big Ten & ACC. In this scenario Louisville & Duke must be slotted first and I would expect the discussion to steer Louisville towards Nashville vs. a SEC school based on the Cardinals’ season and proximity.
Louisville is much more favorable than Iowa or Minnesota for both the Gator & Music City Bowls, and I can see the Gator relenting in favor of Minnesota or Iowa. This would also open the Belk or Pinstripe for the Duke/Notre Dame discussion. The Music City Bowl is 12/30 at LP Field.
(NOTE: Louisville vs. Kentucky Basketball is December 27th.)