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Whereabouts unknown

Several bowls are possible destinations

No matter what happens in the remaining four games of the regular season, one thing is certain: Boston College will be playing in a bowl game for the ninth consecutive year. The question is, which bowl game?

Right now, there seem to be four possible scenarios:

1. If the Eagles go 12-0, then win the Atlantic Coast Conference title game Dec. 1, they will be in either the BCS title game in New Orleans or the Orange Bowl, which is contractually required to take the ACC champion if it is not in the BCS title game.

2. If the Eagles go 12-0 and lose the ACC championship game, they are likely headed to a BCS game as an at-large team.

The ACC never has had two BCS teams, but this has been an unusual year. The Big Ten has no legitimate candidates for an at-large slot, other than Ohio State. Neither does the Big East or Southeastern Conference, other than Louisiana State. The Pac-10 has Oregon, Arizona State, and perhaps Southern Cal, and the Big 12 has Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

If Hawaii finishes 12-0, it should get one of the at-large BCS slots as long as it is no lower than 12th in the BCS standings. The Warriors are No. 14 right now but figure to move up since many of the teams ahead of them play each other.

With four at-large slots, even if you include Hawaii, BC's chances of a BCS spot at 12-1 appear good. Where? BCS rules state that bowls losing their conference champions to the title game get first pick. If the BCS title game is Ohio State vs. LSU, that means the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl would get the first two picks, and a 12-1 BC with a potential Heisman Trophy winner in Matt Ryan could be a good draw against Oregon or even Arizona State.

3. If BC loses once during the regular season and loses the ACC title game, it won't go to the Gator Bowl at 11-2. The Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta would be a possibility, but the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando seems more likely.

4. If the Eagles finish 9-3 or 8-4, a return to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte or the Music City Bowl in Nashville seems likely.

The bottom line is that, at 12-1, the Eagles would seem to have a parachute that lands them in their first BCS bowl.

Fullback is back

Fullback James McCluskey, who has been out with a knee injury for the past month, returned to practice yesterday . . . Freshman kicker Billy Bennett's back problems continue to plague him, so he could be doubtful for kickoff duties Saturday night against Florida State . . . With the 8 p.m. kickoff, there will be no postgame tailgate parties, but fans will be allowed to start tailgating three hours before kickoff instead of the normal two hours . . . The Nov. 10 game at Maryland has been picked up by ABC and will start at 8 p.m.

Florida State at BC
Saturday, 8 p.m.
Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill
TV, radio: Ch. 5, WEEI (850)

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