If those considered “in the know” are to be believed, then Wake Forest has an excellent chance to head to Tampa for the Gasparilla Bowl on December 20th at 8 PM. The Deacs would take on a team from the American Athletic Conference, and that very well could be the Central Florida Knights if they were to lose today to Memphis in the AAC title game.
Wake defeated the AAC champs in Temple in the Military Bowl two years ago, and if Tampa comes to fruition then it would be almost an ideal scenario once again given what the options are across the board.
When looking at potential bowl games for a 6-6 Power Five team you really want to play a good opponent, get a good location, and be home for the holidays. All the boxes would be checked on this one when you consider the Deacs would be looking at a pool of four teams from the AAC. Those teams are: Memphis, South Florida, Cincinnati, and Central Florida. All of those teams are higher than Wake in the S&P+ rankings, and all but South Florida are in the top 31 in the nation currently.
If Wake faced off against USF then it would be on the Bulls homefield, so that throws in another cool twist so the Deacs can test what they are made of.
In addition to the opponent, Tampa is a warm location for Wake fans to travel to, and since the bowl game is on Thursday December 20th it would mean everybody could be home for the holidays as well.
Most of this speculation and scuttlebutt comes courtesy of Joe Giglio, who is probably the best at ACC bowl placement when considering one place of conglomeration. He has posted several things on the Twitter Machine that indicate Tampa is the most likely place the Deacs will land.
I believe Wake Forest will be in Tampa for Gasparilla Bowl https://t.co/SeCF7cE66l— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) December 1, 2018
I have also heard from a couple of folks that I trust that Wake and Tampa have a good relationship at the moment and both seem excited to make this work out.
One of the biggest questions I had was whether or not the result of the Virginia Tech-Marshall game today could impact this. At first glance it would seem that the Hokies would need to win to push it to 11 ACC teams for 10 bowl spots, but based on what I have heard, this does not seem to be an issue and Wake to Tampa could work out anyway.
Either way, as of publishing time, the Hokies are romping Marshall 31-6 in the 3rd quarter, so that consternation will likely be unnecessary in an hour.
Here are the bowl tie-ins from the official ACC website.
Regardless, we will know tomorrow what fate belies the Deacs, but if the rumors are true then Wake Forest once again has lucked out with their bowl destination. We will have everything broken down for you guys once everything officially falls into place!