The Boston College football team Saturday accomplished its goal of becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2010, scoring an all-important sixth win with its 38-21 triumph over North Carolina State.
But the Eagles, who improved to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, know nothing is etched in stone, not even after Andre Williams bowled over the Wolfpack by running 42 times for an ACC-record 339 yards and two touchdowns.
BC has some more work to do in Saturday’s conference game at Maryland (6-4, 2-4) to cement its spot among the ACC’s bowl-eligible teams looking for one of the league’s nine bowl tie-ins in a field that could grow to 10 teams by the end of the weekend.
“I don’t think we were really talking about bowl destinations,’’ senior linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis said Monday. “I think we were just really happy that we were bowl eligible, especially after the last two [losing] seasons, so being bowl eligible was just enough as it is right there.
“Now, we understand that we’re bowl eligible, but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to get picked for a bowl.’’
Second-ranked Florida State (10-0, 8-0) likely will get the nod to face No. 1 Alabama in the Bowl Championship Series title game Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif. Clemson (9-1, 7-1), which was ranked seventh in the latest BCS standings, is likely to earn the conference’s second BCS spot in the Jan. 1 Orange Bowl.
It would leave a pool of six bowl-eligible squads — No. 25 Duke (8-2, 4-2), Virginia Tech (7-4, 4-3), and Miami (7-3, 3-3), with Georgia Tech, Maryland, and BC all at 6-4 with two games to play — to fill the ACC’s six remaining slots.
But that pool could become even more crowded with North Carolina (5-5, 4-3) hosting Old Dominion and Pittsburgh (5-5, 2-4) facing Syracuse (5-5, 3-3) Saturday at the Carrier Dome. UNC and either Pitt or Syracuse would become the league’s ninth and 10th bowl eligible teams, creating an even greater sense of urgency for BC to win at Maryland and at Syracuse Nov. 30.
“Now, being in the ACC does help us,’’ Pierre-Louis said. “But getting another win and, potentially, another win after that would definitely seal the deal.’’
After the BCS selections are made, the order of the ACC’s bowl selections will be: 1. Chick-fil-A, Dec. 31 at Atlanta; 2. Russell Athletic Bowl, Dec. 28, Orlando; 3. Hyundai Sun Bowl, Dec. 31, El Paso; 4. Belk Bowl, Dec. 28, Charlotte, N.C.; 5. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 30, Nashville; 6. Advocare V100 Bowl, Dec. 31, Shreveport, La.; and The Military Bowl, Dec. 27, Annapolis, Md.
Duke, in the driver’s seat to represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship Game Dec. 7 in Charlotte, N.C., is likely to wind up as the league’s representative in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
With the BCS, Orange, and Chick-fil-A seemingly slotted, BC’s best-case scenario would be to win out to avoid getting squeezed out in a game of postseason musical chairs. If they were to extend their winning streak to five games, the Eagles would be an eight-win team, putting them in contention for a trip to the Russell Athletic Bowl opposite an American Athletic Conference opponent.
Seven wins could land the Eagles in the Sun Bowl against a Pac-12 opponent, the Belk Bowl against an American Athletic Conference opponent, the Music City Bowl against a Southeastern Conference team, or the Advocare V100 against an SEC opponent. But BC could get shut out of the Belk and Music City bowls, which would be looking to land either North Carolina or Virginia Tech.
It could take seven wins for BC to even garner consideration for The Military Bowl in Annapolis, where the Terrapins dearly would love to land.
But given Maryland’s contentious departure from the ACC this season, league officials could banish the Big Ten-bound Terrapins to Shreveport as a punitive — if not, fitting — parting shot. Georgia Tech then would make an attractive candidate for Annapolis, where Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson coached the Midshipmen and implemented the same triple-option spread offense he now runs at Georgia Tech.
“Our team has a got a great mentality, a great outlook, a great attitude and, as we said [Sunday], we had some great moments, but those aren’t defining moments,’’ said coach Steve Addazio, referring to the celebration following BC’s fifth and final home win of the season, punctuated by Williams’s record performance.
“It’s time for us to go get win No. 7. It’s all about win No. 7,’’ Addazio said. “We’ve set new goals and set new standards and we just really enjoy competing as a team and what that means.’’Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.