1. If Georgia Tech defeats Duke on Saturday, it’s possible the Yellow Jackets could win the ACC Coastal Division title on Sunday.
With a win over South Florida on Saturday, Miami will become bowl-eligible. The school, which is under NCAA investigation, has said it will make an announcement regarding its decision on a self-imposed postseason ban after it becomes eligible. Last year, Miami made its announcement the day after it became bowl-eligible, also after a win over South Florida.
If Miami removes itself from the postseason, it will be ineligible to play for the ACC title. In that situation, a Tech win over Duke would give the Jackets the Coastal title with a 5-3 league record and send them to the ACC title game in Charlotte on Dec. 1.
Two NCAA rules experts said it would be in Miami’s interest to take the ban to show its contrition to the NCAA’s committee on infractions.
“I would suppose that they’re probably in line for a multiple-year postseason ban, so it might make sense at this point to get it over with and take it now,” said John Infante, a former NCAA compliance director at two colleges and the author of the acclaimed Bylaw Blog.
“I just think it’d be the best thing for them to do,” said David Ridpath, also a former compliance director at two schools and a sports-administration professor at Ohio University. “I think you have to look more to the future.”
The decision is a gamble either way. There is no way to know conclusively if the infractions committee will give Miami another postseason ban if the school doesn’t do so itself. However, if Miami accepts a bowl bid this year, which would enable the Hurricanes to play in the ACC championship game if it beats Duke on Nov. 24, it’s possible Miami could have a stronger team next year or 2014 be banned from the postseason. Last season, Ohio State was under investigation, but, believing it wouldn’t receive a bowl ban, accepted an invitation to the Gator Bowl.
But the Buckeyes did receive a ban and, as a result, this season’s team, which is 10-0 and ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, has no chance to play in the postseason.
“Ohio State’s experience, it wouldn’t surprise me if that was playing into (Miami’s) decision,” Infante said.
2. Tech quarterback Vad Lee and Duke quarterback Sean Renfree have strong ties to their Saturday opponent. Renfree committed to Tech in 2007, recruited by former coach Chan Gailey. After his hire, coach Paul Johnson made a call to Renfree, a pro-style quarterback.
“I said, ‘This is probably not going to fit you,’” Johnson said. “He said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ I said, ‘Whatever we can do to help you (let us know). I wish you luck.’ He’s had a great career. Made a good choice.”
Lee grew up in Durham, N.C., and developed a close relationship with Duke coach David Cutcliffe and assistants.
“Vad was over here a lot,” Cutcliffe said on the ACC coaches teleconference. “The (high) school is not very far away. Just used to sit and talk.”
Cutcliffe spoke with fondness and respect for Lee, who said Tuesday that “I love the coaching staff there.”
“He’s a fine young man, fine family,” Cutcliffe said. “And, I’ll be honest with you, I’m very proud of Vad and what he’s accomplished.”
3. Kickers David Scully and Justin Moore will not play because of injuries, meaning that walk-on Chris Tanner will play for the second game in a row. Tanner took kickoffs, field goals and extra points Saturday in the win over North Carolina. He made both of his field-goal attempts and all eight extra points.
Safety Jemea Thomas was held out of practice Wednesday with an undisclosed injury. Johnson said he expected him to return Thursday. Johnson maintained his stance that offensive tackle Will Jackson probably will not play with a shoulder injury.
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Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog