Here we are, friends. After a 10-1 regular season, the Miami Hurricanes are heading to Charlotte, NC to face the Clemson Tigers in the ACC Championship game.
In past years, when Miami has not reached the ACCCG, I’ve written long pieces about the bowl game selection process including tiers and selection order.
Luckily for everybody, I don’t have to do that this year.
The fact that the Miami Hurricanes are going to a bowl game is widely known. But, by virtue of the 10-1 record and very high College Football Playoff ranking (yes, it’s going to drop this week, but it’s still very high, and that matters), Miami’s destinations for bowl season are thankfully limited.
Miami Hurricanes Bowl Scenarios
This is great because Miami’s bowl destination comes down to the ACC Championship game.
Destination if Miami wins the ACC Championship game
College Football Playoff. I know there’s a lot of debate online about this, but if Miami wins, they’re going to the College Football Playoff. They would be 11-1 on the year and have wins over Virginia Tech, Notre Dame (ranked 3rd when Miami destroyed them) and Clemson (likely ranked #1 when Miami beat them).
Additionally, the CFP committee is on record saying that the first tiebreaker when comparing teams of identical record would be “championships won”. For the full list, see below:
If it’s 1 loss Bama against 1 loss ACC champion Miami for the playoff, this is the CFP committee’s criteria for breaking the deadlock on similar teams pic.twitter.com/rvdYwsZe5j— Chris Wittyngham (@ChrisWittyngham) November 25, 2017
So for anyone thinking an 11-1 Alabama team would jump and 11-1 Miami team, I just don’t see it. Alabama didn’t even win their own division, let alone their conference. In this scenario, Miami won BOTH of those things.
Additionally, Miami has a stronger strength of schedule than Alabama, so that would be yet another thing to put Miami in over Bama, if it came to that.
Getting back to this hypothetical, Miami would then need to see where they are ranked to know which CFP semi-final they would head to. This year’s semi-finals are the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA and the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA.
An ACC Championship and Miami would be headed to one of those games, with a chance to play for a National Championship should they win.
Destination if Miami loses the ACC Championship Game
Much like the above option, this is cut and dry.
The winner of the ACC Championship game will (likely) head to the College Football Playoff. The loser of the ACC Championship Game would then be the highest ranked non-playoff team from the conference, and by default head to the Orange Bowl.
Bowl update:— Crooked Halery (@DavidHaleESPN) November 26, 2017
ACCCG winner -> playoff
ACCCG loser -> Orange
IF Orange takes B1G team, Citrus gets next pick, followed by Camping World.
By virtue of 8+ wins, NCSU, VT, Lou all guaranteed Tier 1 bowl (TS/MC, Belk, Pin, Sun) or better.
So, for Miami, the path forward is clear: a win in the ACCCG and the Canes are in the CFP semi-finals (location to be determined by ranking); a loss in the ACCCG and go back to Hard Rock Stadium again, but for the Orange Bowl.
Win and we’re going to the CFP semi-finals.
Lose and we’re going to the Orange Bowl.
Anything past that is a multi-tiered hypothetical which, honestly, won’t happen. Evaluate those if you like, but the stakes are clear, in my mind.
We’ll know Miami’s bowl destination at around 11pm on Saturday, December 2nd.
Until then, the motto is the same: Beat Clemson.