For the 27th year in a row, Virginia Tech will be heading to a bowl game. The Hokies became bowl-eligible with a 36-17 victory over No. 19 Wake Forest. Quarterback Hendon Hooker passed for 242 yards in the victory and added 69 rushing yards and a score. Bud Foster’s defense held the high-powered Demon Deacons’ offense to just 307 yards and forced two turnovers.
Virginia Tech has made a bowl every season since 1993. That streak looked to be in doubt following a 45-10 home loss to Duke to fall to 2-2. VaTech rebounded and won 4 of their next 5. The Hokies and rival Virginia are the only two teams in the ACC Coastal that control their own destiny. Virginia Tech visits Georgia Tech on Saturday before hosting Pittsburgh. The Nov. 29 contest with rival Virginia in Charlottesville could decide who plays Clemson for the ACC crown.
Another newly bowl-eligible team is Illinois. The Fighting Illini became bowl-eligible by rallying from 25 points down and a 31-10 deficit entering the fourth quarter to defeat Michigan State 37-34. Illinois scored the winning touchdown with 5 seconds left on a 5-yard pass from Brandon Peters to Daniel Barker. Entering the year, the Illini were 9-27 in three seasons under head coach Lovie Smith. Illinois will be going bowling for the first time since 2014. Among P5 programs, only Kansas and Oregon State have longer bowl droughts.
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: Clemson (10-0), Wake Forest (7-2), Virginia (7-3), Pittsburgh (6-3), Virginia Tech (6-3), Miami (6-4)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Louisville (5-4), Florida State (5-5), Boston College (5-5)
- On the Brink: Duke (4-5), NC State (4-5), North Carolina (4-5), Syracuse (3-6)
- Eliminated: Georgia Tech (2-7)
- Overview: Virginia Tech and Miami each became bowl-eligible over the weekend with impressive home victories. Georgia Tech became the first ACC team to be eliminated from bowl contention. In the Atlantic, Syracuse must avoid losses to Duke, Louisville, and Wake to end the season with a bowl.
Big 12 (5)
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: Baylor (9-0), Oklahoma (8-1), Kansas State (6-3), Oklahoma State (6-3), Texas (6-3)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Iowa State (5-4)
- On the Brink: TCU (4-5), Texas Tech (4-5), Kansas (3-6), West Virginia (3-6)
- Eliminated: None
- Overview: Texas became bowl-eligible last week with a hard-fought 27-24 home victory over Kansas State. Among teams that aren’t bowl-eligible in the Big 12, only Iowa State has a winning record. Kansas must win out against already eligible Baylor and Oklahoma State while fending off upstart Iowa State. West Virginia has Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and TCU remaining. A loss for either of those two eliminates them from postseason play.
Big Ten (8)
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: Minnesota (9-0), Ohio State (9-0), Penn State (8-1), Indiana (7-2), Michigan (7-2), Wisconsin (7-2), Iowa (6-3), Illinois (6-4)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: None
- On the Brink: Michigan State (4-5), Nebraska (4-5), Purdue (4-6)
- Eliminated: Maryland (3-7), Rutgers (2-7), Northwestern (1-7)
- Overview: Illinois became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014 in a comeback win over Michigan State. Maryland lost its seventh game to become the third Big Ten team eliminated from bowl contention. Purdue has ranked Wisconsin and Indiana remaining on their schedule.
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: Oregon (8-1), Utah (8-1), Washington (6-4), USC (6-4)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Arizona State (5-4), California (5-4)
- On the Brink: Arizona (4-5), Oregon State (4-5), Stanford (4-5), UCLA (4-5), Washington State (4-5), Colorado (4-6)
- Eliminated: None
- Overview: Washington and USC scored road wins this past week to become bowl-eligible. The Pac-12 and Big 12 are the only two Power 5 conferences without a team that has been eliminated from bowl contention. The closest to the brink is Colorado. The Buffaloes have Washington and Utah left on their schedule.
- Bowl-Eligible Teams: LSU (9-0), Alabama (8-1), Georgia (8-1), Florida (8-2), Auburn (7-2), Texas A&M (6-3)
- Bowl-Eligible Hopefuls: Missouri (5-5), Tennessee (5-5)
- On the Brink: Kentucky (4-5), Mississippi State (4-5), Ole Miss (4-6), South Carolina (4-6)
- Eliminated: Vanderbilt (2-7), Arkansas (2-8)
- Overview: Vanderbilt’s bowl hopes died hard on Saturday with a 56-0 loss at Florida. Outside of the six SEC teams that are already bowl-eligible, not a single team in the conference has a winning record. Ole Miss has the hardest row to hoe, as they host #1 LSU this week before playing equally woeful Mississippi State. South Carolina’s isn’t much easier – they play Texas A&M before ending the season hosting #3 Clemson.