We’re now into the month of November, and ACC teams have 2 or 3 conference games left on their docket. Virginia Tech and Clemson sit atop their respective divisions, and there’s no doubt that conference officials are hoping they both win out to stage what would be the most significant ACC Championship Game yet. No one can deny the appeal of a potential rematch between the Tigers and Hokies – Bank of America Stadium would be teeming with fans from both schools and I would expect the TV ratings to beat out previous ACC Championship Games. It might be one of the most intriguing matchups that weekend …
… if Clemson and Virginia Tech both win out.
So what happens if someone stumbles?
|Clemson||5-1||Wake Forest, @NCState||GT|
|Wake Forest||4-2||@Clemson, Maryland||VT, UNC|
|Florida State||4-2||Miami, UVA||Clemson, Wake|
Over in the Atlantic, things are pretty cut and dry. Clemson, Wake Forest, and Florida State are all still in contention for the division title. If Clemson beats Wake Forest next weekend, then it’s done – the Tigers will be the Atlantic Champions regardless of their final ACC game versus North Carolina State. If the Demon Deacons beat Clemson, they will be the driver’s seat, and a win over Maryland the following weekend would send Wake Forest to the ACC Championship game. If the Deacs beat Clemson but lose to Maryland, then they’ll need Clemson and Florida State to lose another game.
Florida State is still in it, and if you look at the standings they look like they’re right there, but they need some help. The Seminoles need to win out, have Clemson lose to Wake and NC State, and have Wake to lose to Maryland. The Noles lost to both the Tigers and Deacons, so they’re going to lose any tiebreaker involving those teams.
|Virginia Tech||4-1||@GT, UNC, @UVA||Clemson|
|Georgia Tech||4-2||VT, @Duke||UVA, Miami|
|Virginia||3-2||Duke, @FSU, VT||UNC, NCState|
|Miami||3-3||@FSU, BC||Maryland, VT, UVA|
Here in the Coastal, things are not yet so clear. Virginia Tech and Virginia still control their destiny - if one of them win out, they will represent the Coastal. If Georgia Tech wins out, they’ll need someone to beat UVA. And, as crazy it sounds, Miami isn’t eliminated from contention for the division title just yet. If Miami wins out, Virginia Tech loses its last three games, Georgia Tech beats Duke, and Virginia loses to Duke and Florida State, Miami and Georgia Tech will be tied atop the division. The Hurricanes would win that tiebreaker thanks to their victory over the Jackets. It’s not likely, but technically possible.
If the Hokies lose along the way, there are a variety of scenarios that will win them the division.
If Virginia Tech loses to Georgia Tech …
If the Hokies stumble in Atlanta on Thursday, we’ll have to become huge Blue Devils fans the following weekend and hope for a Duke upset over Georgia Tech the following weekend. Assuming the Devils pull that off, there are two scenarios that will put the Hokies in Charlotte after a loss to the Yellow Jackets:
- Wins over North Carolina and Virginia would put Virginia Tech in sole possession of first place.
- If Virginia Tech loses to North Carolina, we’ll need Virginia to beat both Duke and Florida State. A Hokie win in Hoo’ville would then create a 3-way tie at the top of the division. Since each team would be 1-1 versus the other two, it would fall to divisional records. The Hokies and Hoos would have 2 losses in the division (GT & UNC and UNC & VT, respectively), and the Jackets would have three (UVA, Miami, & Duke). That would eliminate Georgia Tech, and the head-to-head win over UVA would send Virginia Tech to the Championship Game in this scenario.
Both of those scenarios are predicated on the fact that if Virginia Tech loses on Thursday, they need Georgia Tech to lose to Duke. If Georgia Tech beats Virginia Tech and Duke, then either Georgia Tech or Virginia will win the division.
If Virginia Tech beats Georgia Tech …
If the Hokies win in Atlanta and they also beat North Carolina a week later, the status of the division champ will depend on our friends in Charlottesville. If Virginia Tech beats Georgia Tech and UNC, and Virginia beats Duke and Florida State, then the winner of the Virginia Tech at Virginia game on November 26th will go to Charlotte. If Virginia loses to Duke or Florida State, then the Hokies will go to the ACC Championship Game regardless of what happens in Scott Stadium at the end of the season.
If the Hokies beat the Jackets, but drop one to UNC, they will need to either beat the Cavaliers (which would give the Hokies the outright lead in the division), or they will need the Cavaliers lose to both Duke and Florida State (in which case the Hokies would win any possible tiebreaker).
Needless to say, the game in Atlanta has massive repercussions on the Hokies ability to win the division. If we lose, we’ll need some major help from other teams to make a return trip to the ACC Championship Game. If we win, it may setup a showdown in Charlottesville to determine who earns the division crown. The only game that we can afford to lose is the Thursday night game versus the Tarheels on November 17th. If we lose that one, but still beat Georgia Tech and UVA, then we’ll be back in Charlotte.