The Union Recorder

Local Sports

November 8, 2012

Parity hurting ACC's hunt for bowl-worthy teams

ATLANTA — Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech have losing records with three regular-season games remaining, leaving two of the nation's five-longest bowl streaks in jeopardy.

The Hokies and Yellow Jackets are not the only Atlantic Coast Conference teams with precarious postseason hopes.

The ACC may struggle to fill its eight bowl slots.

Saturday's North Carolina State-Wake Forest winner becomes only the fourth team to qualify, joining Florida State, Clemson and Duke.

North Carolina has a winning record but is ineligible due to NCAA sanctions. Miami, under NCAA investigation, could self-impose its second-straight bowl ban. Miami (5-4), which plays at Virginia on Saturday, needs one more win before it must make that decision.

No. 8 Florida State and No. 10 Clemson are the league's only ranked teams and Duke (6-4) has also qualified for a bowl for the first time since 1994.

Coaches say parity has made it difficult for more teams to emerge as bowl-worthy. It also could be there's just not a lot of good football teams in the ACC.

It doesn't say much for the league when Duke, third in line for bowl consideration, lost to Florida State and Clemson by a combined margin of 77 points the last two weeks. The Blue Devils also have an ugly 50-13 loss to Stanford. Duke's least lopsided loss was by 21 points to Virginia Tech.

ACC coaches talk about parity in the league behind the two powers, but the perception is the league simply lacks depth.

"Clearly the bottom line is that I think conferences are evaluated on how your top teams play and where they are," said Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson. "Florida State has the one loss. Clemson has the one loss. They're clearly the marquee teams of the conference this year.

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