Once again, the ACC’s mediocrity has lead to an exciting finish to the season. Several contenders for the crown remain in the running, and the ACC has managed to backload their schedule to the point that there several key games left. To add to the drama, each team has shown the ability to play up and down football, leaving a great deal of uncertainty. While greatness is preferred, a huge heaping of mediocrity makes for some good ole fashioned intrigue and fun.
3 teams win the ACC Atlantic by winning out: Florida State, NC State and………MARYLAND?!?!?! Clemson is also still right in the mix. Of these teams, only Maryland and Clemson have played each other. Standings:
- FSU: 4-0
- (tie) Maryland: 2-1
- (tie) NC State: 2-1
- Clemson: 2-2
Let’s be real, Maryland probably won’t factor into anything and they have already lost the tiebreaker with Clemson. The other 3 are right in it. Remaining schedules:
- FSU: @NC State, UNC, Clemson, @Maryland, Florida
- NC State: FSU, @Clemson, Wake Forest, @UNC, @Maryland
- Clemson: @BC, NC State, @FSU, @Wake Forest, South Carolina
These next 3 weeks are huge, starting with this Thursday. If NC State beats FSU on Thursday, then all 4 teams (including Maryland) will control their own destiny. Clemson is the only team needing help right now, needing an FSU loss to someone else. Clemson did manage to lose to 2 Coastal teams, so that will give them an advantage if there is a complicated tiebreaker. If FSU beats NC State on Thursday, they will have to completely implode to not win the ACC Atlantic. So, Thursday’s game will either result in clarity or further chaos. Given the way the ACC seems to shape up every year, bet on chaos.
2 teams currently control their own destiny: Virginia Tech and Miami. UNC and GT can still get back in the mix, but it will be really difficult (for UNC especially).
- Virginia Tech: 4-0
- Miami: 3-1
- Georgia Tech: 3-2
- North Carolina: 2-2
And the schedules:
- Virginia Tech: Georgia Tech, @UNC, @Miami, UVA
- Miami: @UVA, Maryland, @GT, VT, USF
- Georgia Tech: @Virginia Tech, Miami, Duke, @Georgia
- North Carolina: William &Mary, @FSU, VT, NC State, @Duke
-UNC needs a miracle. They have already managed to lose to Miami and GT, making it nearly impossible. They will need someone to lose an abhorrent game. In total, they need to win out, another loss for VT, 2 losses for Miami, and one loss for GT. RIP.
-Georgia Tech. 2 losses, both to the Atlantic though, so tiebreaker wise, they are fine. If they win out, they need another VT to get it done. Their hope is to win out and hope Miami beats VT. That will provide them a return trip to the ACC Championship game.
-Miami. Controls their own destiny. Barring a stunning loss to UVA or Maryland, it will come down to a 2 game stretch versus GT and VT. VT is a must win any way the ‘Canes look at it, while it is possible to survive a loss to GT. Losing the VT game would basically require VT to lose their other 3 games.
-Virginia Tech. A scheduling anomaly has allowed VT to somehow not play any of the other 4 top teams in ACC Coastal. That changes now. They do have margin for error, provided they beat Miami. A win there, and they can lose one other game and will still be the Coastal champions.
In the end, the pivotal game looks like it will be Miami and VT, even if either team loses a game in the lead-up.
Both divisions are very much up in the air, and once again, more than halfway through the season, the ACC is a muddled mess. Watching these teams pillow fight should be highly entertaining.