So you’re telling me there’s a chance

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

The University of Miami football team’s 2 game ACC and Coastal Division winning streak has opened up the possibility that they could in fact win the ACC Coastal Division.  First, let’s go through the current situation and tiebreaker.

Standings

COASTAL CONF OVERALL
Virginia Tech 3-1 7-1
Georgia Tech 3-2 6-2
Miami (FL) 2-2 4-3
Virginia 1-2 4-3
Duke 1-2 3-4
North Carolina 1-3 5-3

Tiebreaker

Three (or More) Team Tie
(Once tie has been reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker format is used)

  1. Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
  2. Records of the tied teams within the division.
  3. Head-to-head competition versus the team within the division with the best overall (divisional or conference) record, and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken first to last.
  4. Overall record for non-divisional teams.
  5. Combined record versus all common non-divisional teams.
  6. Record versus common non-divisional with the best overall Conference (divisional and non-divisional record) and proceeding through the other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within the division.
  7. The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the conclusion of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the ACC Championship Game.
  8. The representative shall be chosen by a draw.

What has to happen

The bottom line is that Virginia Tech has to lose twice.  If Miami is to win out in their Coastal division games, Duke and Virginia will get a 3rd loss.  If Virginia Tech loses one time, that leaves either a head-to-head tiebreaker between Miami and Virginia Tech at 2 losses (which Virginia Tech wins) or a 3-team tiebreaker between Miami, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.  In that scenario, the first tiebreaker of head-to-head wouldn’t yield any results, but the 2nd tiebreaker of Divisional record would break down as follows:

Miami = 4-1
Virginia Tech = 4-1
Georgia Tech = 3-2

That eliminates Georgia Tech, at which point it becomes a 2-team tiebreaker which Virginia Tech wins.

Will the Florida State game matter?

We’ve established that Virginia Tech has to lose twice.  But if you notice, I never claimed Miami had to win out.  They absolutely have to win the Virginia and Duke games.  But simply splitting the Florida State and Boston College games could get the ‘Canes into the ACC Championship Game.   How?

Virginia Tech is done with their ACC Atlantic games.  Their 4 remaining games are against the ACC Coastal.  If they were to lose 2 of those (which they have to do for Miami to have a chance), that would drop their Coastal record to 3-2.  So, if Georgia Tech were to lose to Clemson then win out, OR if North Carolina were to win out, OR if Virginia were to lose to Miami then win out, OR if Duke were to win out other than the Miami game, and 2 of those teams beat Virginia Tech, Miami will advance to the ACC Championship Game with 3 conference losses.  As an example, take the completely plausible scenario where Georgia Tech loses to Clemson and beats Virginia Tech and Duke, and North Carolina beats Virginia Tech, it will create one of the following scenarios:

Miami wins out
Miami = 6-2
Virginia Tech = 5-3
Georgia Tech = 5-3
North Carolina = 5-3 (at best)

OR

Miami loses to FSU
Miami = 5-3
Virginia Tech = 5-3
Georgia Tech = 5-3
North Carolina = 5-3

In this scenario, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head, where the records are

Miami = 2-1
Georgia Tech = 2-1
Virginia Tech = 1-2
North Carolina = 1-2

Virginia Tech and North Carolina are eliminated, and it goes to a 2-team tiebreaker, which Miami wins over Georgia Tech.

OR

Miami loses to FSU
Miami = 5-3
Virginia Tech = 5-3
Georgia Tech = 5-3

The first tiebreaker of head-to-head cancels, since all 3 teams are 1-1 against each other.  The second tiebreaker is divisional record.

Miami = 4-1
Virginia Tech = 3-2
Georgia Tech = 3-2

And Miami wins that tiebreaker.

There are obviously a million combinations here, but this holds true for all of them.  In a 3-loss tiebreaker with more than 2 teams involving Virginia Tech, Miami and ANY other combination of ACC Coastal teams assuming Miami does not lose another ACC Coastal Game (Virginia or Duke):

  1. Virginia Tech cannot get ahead of Miami on the head-to-head tiebreaker.  They still must play every other ACC Coastal team, and so their loss(es) will come to a team(s) involved in this 3-team tiebreaker.  At best, all 3 teams will be 1-1, necessitating the 2nd tiebreaker.
  2. Virginia Tech will necessarily be eliminated on the 2nd tiebreaker, Division record, because they max out at 3-2 in the Coastal Division, placing them behind 4-1 Miami.

So, Miami has must wins the next 2 games, but certainly does not have to win out.  There are a lot of scenarios that involve Virginia Tech losing 2 additional games (which they must do or Miami can’t win the ACC Coastal, whether they win out or not) that would result in Miami winning tiebreakers at 3-losses, provided Miami does not lose either of the next 2 games.

Remaining ACC Games for the Coastal teams

Duke
Virginia Tech
@Miami
@Virginia
Georgia Tech
@North Carolina

Georgia Tech
Clemson
Virginia Tech
@Duke

Miami
Virginia
Duke
@Florida State
Boston College

North Carolina
Wake Forest
@North Carolina State
@Virginia Tech
Duke

Virginia
@Miami
@Maryland
Duke
@Florida State
Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech
@Duke
@Georgia Tech
North Carolina
@Virginia

The ACC Coastal This Week
Thursday
8PM: Virginia @ Miami – ESPN

Saturday
12:30PM: Virginia Tech @ Duke – ESPN3/Gameplan/ACC Network
3:30PM: Wake Forest @ North Carolina – ESPNU
8:00PM: Clemson @ Georgia Tech – ABC

Outside of the obvious (Miami and Duke winning), it is beneficial for Miami if Clemson and North Carolina win.  This will keep alive the 3-loss, 3+ team tiebreaker scenario that would allow Miami to lose to FSU or BC and still win the ACC Coastal.

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