I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to slip “Dumb and Dumber” into the blog, so, with that, let’s take a look at Georgia Tech’s outside (as in Canadian wilderness) chance to win the Coastal Division.
In reality, it’s not entirely unreasonable, particularly given how balanced the league seems to be. I guess “balanced” is a nice way of saying no one in the division seems to have a lot going for it. Every team in the league has a conference loss already and only North Carolina has yet to lose a division game, and the Tar Heels are ineligible to win the division because of their NCAA malfeasance.
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll have to assume Tech runs the table in the conference to finish 5-3, beating Boston College, Maryland (road), North Carolina (road) and Duke. Winning a division at 5-3 has precedent. Since splitting to two divisions in 2005, three teams (Florida State 2005, Boston College 2008, Virginia Tech 2008) have won with 5-3 conference records.
At 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the ACC, Tech may not seem like much of a candidate to accomplish this task. That said, the Jackets will be favored in each remaining ACC game but North Carolina (so said sports book director Jay Kornegay, sportsbook director at the Las Vegas Hilton, although that was before the firing of Al Groh, so not sure how that would impact the line.)
The win over Duke would grant the Jackets the tiebreaker, at which point the Blue Devils would just need one more league loss to finish 5-3 at best. Tech also has the tiebreaker over Virginia, which is 1-2 and also needs to take one more loss.
The more elusive element is getting Virginia Tech and Miami, both of which hold tiebreakers over the Jackets, to four losses. But both have difficult roads home, so it’s not entirely out of the question. Unlikely, certainly. For your reading pleasure, each school is listed with ACC record and division record. The games that would seem like the biggest pitfalls are bolded.
Virginia Tech (2-1, 2-1)
10/20 At Clemson (Tigers coming off a bye)
11/01 At Miami (Thursday night game, both teams will have off weekends prior)
11/08 Florida State (Seminoles coming off a bye)
11/17 at Boston College
It’s hard to envision the Hokies losing three in a row. Virginia has lost 12 of 13 to Virginia Tech, including each of the last three by 29 or more.
Duke (2-1, 1-1)
10/20 North Carolina
10/17 at Florida State
11/17 at Georgia Tech
The Blue Devils need one more win to be bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. It would be an exquisite collapse for Duke to reach 5-1 and then lose its final six games to miss out on a bowl.
Miami (3-1, 2-1)
10/20 Florida State
11/01 Virginia Tech
11/10 at Virginia
11/24 at Duke
This appears the most far-fetched leg of the scenario, which is saying something since Tech also needs Virginia Tech to lose three games in a row. For what it’s worth, Virginia has beaten Miami two years in a row. Duke has not beaten Miami since the Hurricanes joined the ACC. The Miami-Virginia Tech result is interchangeable – both teams need losses – but then the Hokies would need to lose to either Boston College or Virginia.
North Carolina (2-1, 2-0)
10/20 At Duke
10/27 N.C. State
11/10 Georgia Tech
11/15 at Virginia
Not a factor, except for that the Tar Heels would need to lose to Tech.
Virginia (1-2, 0-2)
10/20 Wake Forest
11/03 at N.C. State
11/15 North Carolina
11/24 at Virginia Tech
Should the Jackets run the table, they would need to just one more loss from the Cavaliers.
ACC tiebreaker policy here.
Thanks for reading. I’ll have more this afternoon from Paul Johnson’s weekly news conference, followed by notes in the evening.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog