Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Well, the bowls have been announced. You know what's coming next. Waaaay too early bowl predictions. These are often impossible to predict in December, let alone May, but there's no harm in trying. I'll admit: It would be much easier to find spots for everyone if Virginia Tech -- or anyone else for that matter -- did play in the national championship game.
It's hard to believe Virginia might be home for the holidays for two straight seasons, and with the way the confidence is brewing at Duke, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Blue Devils ahead of schedule.
So the tougher question is this: Who won't be in a bowl game in 2009? Boston College? Wake Forest? Virginia? Duke? All of them have question marks, but they've also got strengths and the potential to be better in the second half of the season. It only takes six wins. You don't have to be Texas to play in a bowl game. (But a win over Oklahoma certainly wouldn't hurt Miami.)
Here's the early prediction on how this might shake out:
FedEx Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Florida State
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl: NC State
Champs Sports Bowl: Miami
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl: Georgia Tech
Meineke Car Care Bowl: Clemson
Emerald Bowl: North Carolina
EagleBank Bowl: Maryland
GMAC Bowl: Wake Forest
At-large: Boston College
Out: Virginia, Duke
Final thought: It wouldn't surprise me if Duke won six games, but because the Blue Devils scheduled two FCS schools, they have to win seven to become bowl eligible. I think that's asking too much from David Cutcliffe in his second season, but knowing him, he'd love nothing more than to kindly prove me wrong.