In case you missed it, the Canes beat Duke 40-21 on Saturday to finish the regular season at 8-4. This is the 2nd year in a row Miami finishes with an 8-4 record, and the first under new coach Mark Richt.
With more than enough wins to qualify for a bowl game, the only thing left for Miami to find out is not if they'll be bowling, but where. With the announcements set to take place in about 8 days after Conference Championship games, let's take a look at some of the places Miami may end up for their postseason game. (Note: I'm not doing matchups, just destination for Miami)
Tiers and things
Before we get to the bowl options, let's look at the ACC Bowl Tie-ins. They're split into tiers. It's simple, really. Take a look:
New Year's Six
If the ACC #1 team (Clemson or VT) isn't in the College Football Playoff, then they'll get one of the spots in the New Year's Six bowls (Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl) that aren't the CFB Semi-finals games.
Orange Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl are top choice options and will select teams in the NY6 portion of bowl slotting.
Tier 1 bowls
For those ACC teams who finish 3-6 in the conference (this includes Miami), they will be selected by/placed in tier 1 bowls. Those include the Belk Bowl, Hyundai Sun Bowl, New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl OR TaxSlayer Bowl — one of the last 2, Big Ten gets one game, ACC gets the other.
NOTE: last year, the ACC got the Music City Bowl and the Big Ten got TaxSlayer Bowl, so expect that placement to switch for this season.
Tier 2 bowls
There is another tier of bowls that's possible for ACC teams 3-6 to drop down to, if not selected for a Tier 1 bowl, such as the Military Bowl, Camping World Independence Bowl, Quick Lane Bowlm and St. Petersberg Bowl. This just depends on the selection order for the bowls. Some team(s) will slide to a tier 2 bowl.
This is unlikely to be Miami’s bowl placement, as there are 4 ACC teams with records worse than Miami’s who are bowl eligible. BUT, for full disclosure, if other conferences aren’t able to fulfill they’re bowl slot allocations, an ACC team could slot into the Birmingham Bowl in their place.
But, again, Miami is most likely going to make it into a Tier 1 bowl, so this is part of the bowl placement process with which you need not concern yourselves.
Since this matters, here they are (as of 11/27; regular season conference play completed):
1. Clemson (Atlantic Division Champion)
2. Virginia Tech (Coastal Division Champion)
3. Louisville 7-1
4. (tied) Florida State 5-3
4. (tied) North Carolina 5-3
4. (tied) Miami 5-3
4. (tied) Pittsburgh 5-3
So, basically, you're looking at Miami in the same group as Louisville, Florida State, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh as the ACC's 3-6 teams for bowl selection purposes. Fully expect Louisville to be one of the first teams selected so they’re only kind of in this tier.
Here’s what you opened this article for. These are the bowls available to Miami:
Belk Bowl, December 29, Charlotte, NC
The Canes will finally make it to Charlotte!!!....but not for the ACC Championship Game (which isn’t even there this year). The top ACC 3-6 slot, this game would put Miami against and SEC school from 3-8 in conference.
TaxSlayer Bowl, December 31, Jacksonville, FL
This is one of the slots for the ACC's 3-6 teams. Miami is in that group. It's a game in Florida, so that could bode well for Canes fans attending. They would be pitted against an SEC team anywhere from 3-8 in conference standing.
Pinstripe Bowl, December 28, New York, NY
This is one that is really intriguing. Miami as a city is what I like to call "Tropical New York", with a heavy transplant population. The school mirrors that, with a healthy percentage of the student body and alumni base hailing from the Northeast. Miami is still a marquee name, and for an event in NYC, that could be a perfect fit. This game would put the Canes against a Big Ten team finishing between 5-7 in conference.
Sun Bowl, December 30, El Paso, TX
We've done this one before — twice in recent years including last year — and I have no interest in doing it again. This would put Miami against the 5th place finisher from the Pac-12. I find it highly unlikely that Miami has a return trip to El Paso for a 2nd consecutive year and 3rd time in 7 seasons.
Quick Lane Bowl, December 26, Detroit, MI
This is a Tier 2 bowl, but I’m me and I want to mention it. This is my personal dream come true. I'm from Detroit, and I would love nothing more than to fold my trip home for Christmas into a trip to see the Canes play in a bowl game. This would put Miami up against a MAC team. Which, not to be cocky, should be easy money for the Canes, especially considering Western Michigan will likely be in a NY6 bowl, so it would be some other, lower MAC team in this game.
- Russell Athletic Bowl (December 28th, Orlando, FL). This is a premium bowl and one of the ACC teams above Miami will likely get that placement.
- Camping World Independence Bowl (December 26th, Shreveport, LA). Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt. This is a Tier 2 game, and Miami played there 2 years ago. Unlikely at best.
- Military Bowl (December 28th, Annapolis, MD). Not as high a chance as the above listed bowls IMO, but hey, stranger things have happened.
Many outlets have released bowl projections over the last month. Here are the latest projections, which I will update as the final projections start coming in:
SBNation.com: December 31st - Tax Slayer Bowl (Jacksonville, FL) vs Tennessee
ESPN.com ACC Blog: December 31st - Tax Slayer Bowl (Jacksonville, FL) vs Florida
CollegeFootballNews.com: December 31st - Tax Slayer Bowl (Jacksonville, FL) vs Arkansas
CBSSports.com: December 29th Belk Bowl (Charlotte, N.C.) vs. Georgia
SportsIllustrated.com: December 31st Tax Slayer Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla.) vs Arkansas
ESPN.com: Main Site: December 28th Pinstripe Bowl (New York City) vs. Minnesota
FoxSports.com: December 28th Russell Athletic Bowl (Orlando, Fla.) vs West Virginia
BleacherReport.com: December 31st Tax Slayer Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla.) vs Arkansas
SportingNews.com: December 30th Hyundai Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas) vs. Stanford
So, those are the options for where Miami might go bowling, at least in my estimation. Have a favorite? A least favorite? Leave a comment below.