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Too Bad There’s Not A Mediocrity Bowl. The ACC Might Get Two Teams.

Just not a great year for ACC Football.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 ACC Championship Game - Pitt v Wake Forest
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 04: A.J. Woods (25) defensive back of Pitt. runs an interception back deep into Wake Forest territory during the ACC Football Championship game between the Pitt Panthers and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on December 4, 2021, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yes, ACC basketball is struggling. Struggled last year too when it came to poll standings, national championship contenders, NCAA tournament representation and success.

And yet ACC football has fared even worse this season, defining mediocrity in 2021.

Tacit recognition of this state of affairs is found in the fact that 4 of 15 head coaches who worked ACC sidelines this year are gone. No league squad finished in the top 15 in the final AP poll, a state of affairs that recalls the ACC’s pre-Florida State days.

The ACC’s prospects have drooped to such an extent, for the first time since the College Football Playoff was instituted in 2014 not even its best team qualified to compete for the national championship.

Football and basketball programs boast of their postseason participation. And while it’s true inclusion in the NIT, or other basketball tournaments not even sponsored by the NCAA (some of them pay-to-play), isn’t much of a recommendation, football bowl inclusion arguably counts for even less.

Break even on the playing field, and you’re in. Teams and those who follow them count wins and losses throughout the year, hoping to win six times regardless of opponents to qualify for a bowl. Rather a modest aspiration.

There are 42 bowl games, meaning 84 berths to fill. And, guess what? This year there are 84 bowl-eligible teams.

Twenty-one of those slots are occupied by squads that were 6-6. Add Hawaii, which got a spot in the Hawaii Bowl despite a 6-7 record, and better than one in four bowl participants finished with a breakeven record or worse.

Of the ACC’s 10 bowl teams, half finished the regular season with minimally adequate 6-6 records: BC, Louisville, UNC, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Despite getting bowl bids, both Virginia squads ended the season in the market for a new coach.

By the way, we would be delinquent if we failed to note a few bowl-naming oddities, among them the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl. Can anyone purchase a title sponsorship? And what about commercials? The ACC Network already runs ads by the discredited election denier and conspiracist, Mike Lindell of My Pillow, so it’s fair to wonder where the limits lie.

Foods are quite popular bowl tags, not all of them comestibles easily munched on the couch while watching football. There are bowls touting an Idaho Potato, a Smoothie, Cheez-It, Wasabi, Citrus, Chick-Fil-A Peach, Orange, Sugar, Cricket (well, some people eat them), and Duke’s Mayo featuring North and South Carolina.

Can’t you see Tar Heel fans deliciously sporting souvenir jerseys proclaiming Duke’s?

ACC Teams In 2021 Bowl Games
Team Record Bowl Bowl Date Opponent
BC 6-6 Military 12/27 East Carolina
Clemson 9-3 Cheez-It 12/29 Iowa State
Louisville 6-6 SERVPRO First Responder 12/28 Air Force
Miami 7-5 Tony the Tiger Sun 12/31 Washington St.
UNC 6-6 Duke's Mayo 12/30 South Carolina
NC State 9-3 San Diego Co. Credit Union 12/28 UCLA
Pittsburgh 11-2 Chick-Fil-A Peach 12/30 Michigan State
Virginia 6-6 Wasabi Fenway 12/29 SMU
Va. Tech 6-6 New Era Pinstripe 12/29 Maryland
Wake 11-2 Taxslayer Gator 12/31 Texas A&M
Notre Dame 11-1 Fiesta 12/31 Oklahoma State