Florida State needs one more victory to become bowl eligible, and the ‘Noles will have the opportunity to do so in Gainesville against a Florida team in the exact same situation. Meanwhile, the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is solidified in one division, but the other division remains up for grabs. Pittsburgh has punched its bid to Charlotte in the Coastal, but the Atlantic will be decided this weekend between Clemson, NC State and Wake Forest.
I touched on each game and the scenarios for Clemson, NC State and Wake Forest.
#10 Wake Forest (9-2) vs. Boston College (6-5) - Saturday, Noon
Wake Forest lost its 13th consecutive game against Clemson in a 48-27 loss Nov. 20. For the Demon Deacons to earn an ACC Championship berth, they simply must win.
After trailing Florida State 26-3 in the second half, the Eagles mounted a second-half comeback against the ‘Noles but fell 26-23. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec threw for 148 yards on 10-of-24 passing. He scored twice (one passing, one rushing).
Cross Divisional/Non Conference:
#20 NC State (8-3) vs North Carolina (6-5) - Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The Wolfpack are coming off a 41-17 victory over Syracuse last Saturday. Although they fell to Wake Forest 45-42 Nov. 13, NC State has an opportunity to get to the ACC Championship with a win and a Wake Forest loss. The Wolfpack haven’t been to the ACC Championship since its inception in 2005.
Sam Howell (2,704 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions) returns for North Carolina after missing last week’s 34-14 win against Wofford. With the 2022 NFL Draft looming, this could be Howell’s last game in a Tar Heel uniform.
The Tar Heels won 48-21 in 2020.
Georgia Tech (3-8) vs. #1 Georgia (11-0) - Saturday, Noon
Like most of the country, the Yellow Jackets will be outmatched in every position on the field against the Bulldogs. Georgia Tech was shutout 55-0 against #8 Notre Dame last week, and this week could be much of the same.
The Georgia defense has been heralded as an all-time great, and for good reason. They allow 7.5 points per game and have multiple first round talents, including defensive tackle Jordan Davis.
Georgia Tech has not won in this rivalry since 2016.
Syracuse (5-6) vs. #18 Pittsburgh (9-2) - Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
After a 41-17 loss to NC State, the Orange must win their final regular season game to become bowl eligible.
The Panthers clinched the Coastal division for the first time since 2018 with a 48-38 win over Virginia. Pittsburgh might rest its starters with the ACC Championship on the horizon, but they might also push for a 10-win season and play starters.
Kentucky (8-3) vs. Louisville (6-5) - Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Kentucky has won two straight games, including a 56-16 drubbing of New Mexico State. With multiple head coaching positions open, this could be the last game for head coach Mark Stoops, who is a trendy name in coaching circles.
Louisville defeated Duke 62-22 win last week to earn its sixth win and become bowl eligible.
These rivals didn’t meet a year ago due to COVID-19 restrictions. Kentucky won 45-13 in 2019.
South Carolina (6-5) vs. Clemson (8-3) - Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Although it hasn’t been pretty, Clemson is on the verge on nine wins. In fact, the Tigers still have a chance at their seventh consecutive ACC Championship. Clemson needs to win and have losses from both Wake Forest and NC State.
Duke (3-8) vs. Miami (6-5) - Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Duke is allowing 51.4 points per game in its last five games. If the Blue Devils lose, they will finish with a winless record in conference.
Miami clinched bowl eligibility with a 38-26 victory against Virginia Tech last Saturday. Head Coach Manny Diaz could be coaching his final game for the Hurricanes, as fans seem to have moved on to hoping for Mario Cristobal to leave Oregon or Lane Kiffin to abandon Ole Miss.
Virginia (6-5) vs. Virginia Tech (5-6) - Saturday, 3:45 p.m
After a 6-2 start, injuries and poor defensive performances have steered the Cavaliers on a three-game losing streak. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong made his return from injury and threw for 487 yards and three touchdowns against Pittsburgh.
The Hokies put their name in the head coaching ring after firing Justin Fuente last week. Virginia Tech will try to replicate its success from last season, where they defeated the Cavaliers 33-15. It's a must-win if the Hokies wish to go bowling.