I got a tweet last night asking if Georgia Tech fans have a rooting interest in Thursday night’s Virginia-North Carolina game. My first response was, no, because, as I’d posted earlier, Tech can only win by beating Duke and either a) Duke loses to Miami or b) Miami self-imposes a postseason ban.
But then – because I am something of a dope – I wondered what would happen if Duke beat Tech, Miami self-imposed a postseason ban and then beat Duke. Some people wonder how they could safely land a probe on Mars. Others, like my friend Mike, wonder how they can bring clean drinking water to people in underdeveloped countries. I wonder about the outcomes of unlikely ties in the ACC Coastal Division. We all have our callings. Only some of them, though, cause their parents to be vague and avoid eye contact when explaining their children’s line of work.
So, anyway, should this happen, Miami would be 5-3 but ineligible and perhaps clawing its eyes out, Duke and Tech would be 4-4 and the three other Coastal Division teams could also finish 4-4. In my enduring efforts to dig into ACC Coastal Division tiebreaking minutiae, I can tell you that Tech can’t win if this happens. So, first, the Jackets absolutely need to beat Duke and have Duke beat Miami or Miami self-impose in order to get to Charlotte. As such, second, Tech fans don’t have a rooting interest in the Virginia-UNC game, unless they want to root against a particular outcome. Third, it looks like Virginia has no shot at Charlotte, but Duke and Virginia Tech do.
If you care to know why…
I think there are five possibilities.
North Carolina finishes 4-4 by beating Virginia Thursday night and losing to Maryland Nov. 24 to create a three-way tie. Duke would win this tiebreaker as it would be 2-0 in head-to-head. North Carolina could also finish 4-4 by losing to Virginia and beating Maryland. Duke still wins.
Virginia finishes 4-4 by beating North Carolina and Virginia Tech Nov. 24 for a three-way tie. Duke would win again because it would be 2-0 in head-to-head.
Virginia Tech finishes 4-4 by beating Boston College and Virginia. Virginia Tech would win since it beat both Duke and Georgia Tech.
Virginia Tech and UNC both finish 4-4. In this four-way tie, Virginia Tech would also win. In head-to-head competition, Virginia Tech and Duke would be 2-1 while UNC and Tech would be 1-2, eliminating them. Virginia Tech wins with its win over Duke. (It wouldn’t matter which route UNC took to get to 4-4 since division record wouldn’t be a factor.)
UNC and Virginia finish 4-4 for a four-way tie. Duke wins because it would be 3-0 head-to-head.
Thanks for reading. Next in the series will examine the ramifications of a Tech win, a zombie apocalypse and shares in Microsoft reaching a 52-week high on the Coastal race.
In case you missed it…
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog