Here’s a look at who each of the contenders has left on the schedule:
Maryland: Troy St., Clemson, at NC St., West Virginia
Florida State: at Clemson, NC State, at Florida, GA Tech
North Carolina: at GA Tech, Wake Forest, Duke, SMU
Clemson: Florida State, at Maryland, at S. Carolina, Duke
Georgia Tech: N. Carolina, at Virginia, at Wake Forest, Georgia, at Florida St.
Here is what would have to happen for each team to capture the Conference Title:
Maryland: Maryland holds the tiebreaker over North Carolina and GA Tech. FSU holds the tiebreaker over MD. The Terps and Clemson will play on Nov. 10 in Maryland. The best scenario for the Terps would be to win out and have FSU lose one game, although all of the Noles’ remaining games are winnable. There could be a three-way tie for the championship if NC, MD, and FSU all win out (because NC would have beaten FSU, FSU beat MD, and MD beat NC). If MD wins out, they will capture at least a share of the ACC title.
Florida State: The Seminoles hold the tiebreaker over MD, while they lose the tie to NC. FSU must still play GATech and Clemson. If FSU wins out, they are guaranteed a share of the title. If MD and NC both lose 1 game while FSU wins out, they will again be the lone conference champion. If NC loses one game (and by far the most likely would be to GT), FSU would be the champion by the tiebreaker even if MD wins out also. However, if MD gets beat again, the Noles would lose the tie to NC if both FSU and UNC win out. The worst possible thing for FSU would be a tie between them and NC.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels hold the tiebreaker over FSU and Clemson. They would lose the tie to MD, and they play GT on Thursday night (11/1). A tie between FSU and NC would give the title to NC, but a tie with MD would give it to MD. The Noles must match MD to capture even a share of the conference title.
Clemson and GA Tech: For Clemson or GT to have any shot, MD, FSU, and NC must lose at least 1 more game each. Clemson holds the tie over GT, while losing a tie to NC. The Tigers still have to play FSU and MD. GT loses a tie to MD and Clemson, while losing a tie to MD. They still must play FSU and NC. The chances of either of these teams being the conference champion is very unlikely.
Summing it up:
It looks like the ACC is going to come down to Maryland, Florida State, and North Carolina. UNC has by far the easiest schedule of that group, and if they win at GT on Thursday, they will almost surely share the title. Maryland has only two conference games left, one at home and one on the road. A tie for the conference title in the ACC looks unavoidable at this point. But, as we’ve seen so far this college football season, nothing is given to anyone.
The Mad Dash for the Bowl Games
The Teams with a shot (with their remaining games):
--Maryland: (5-1, 7-1) Troy State, Clemson, at NCState, W. VA
--Florida State: (4-1, 5-2) at Clemson, NCState, at UFla, GATech
--North Carolina: (4-1, 5-3) at GT, WForest, Duke, SMU
--Clemson: (3-2, 5-2) FSU, at MD, at SCar, Duke
--GA Tech: (2-2, 5-2) NC, at VA, at WForest, GA, at FSU
--NC State: (2-3, 4-3) at Duke, at FSU, MD, Ohio
--Virginia: (2-4, 3-5) WForest, GATech, VATech, Penn State
--Wake Forest (1-4, 3-4) at VA, at NC, GATech, No. Ill
Here’s what needs to happen for each of these teams:
Maryland: They’re in a bowl and just trying to get into a better one. They’ve got a shot to finish 10-1 and end the season with 4 straight wins. A BCS bowl is definitely not out of the question, and the more FSU loses, the better for the Terps.
Florida State: The Seminoles must win at least one more game to become bowl eligible, and I don’t think they’ll have much of a problem. They can and will likely lose only 1 more game (to Florida) and finish 8-3. A decent bowl (possibly BCS, depending on what else happens) is in store for Florida State.
North Carolina: UNC has rebounded wonderfully after an 0-3 start. Easy games against WF, Duke, and SMU should easily get the Tar Heels bowling, and a BCS bowl is not out of the question. An 8-4 season should be the worst-case scenario for UNC.
Clemson: The Tigers have not played great at times this year, and the schedule is not favorable at all for Clemson the rest of the way. A game against Duke should get them bowl eligible for sure. Looking at their record now and the schedule ahead, a 7-4 record would be nice for Clemson.
GA Tech: The GT schedule is not a pretty one if you’re a Jackets fan. Home games against UNC and GA are never easy as is a road trip to FSU. Two other road trips, to VA and WF, are against teams who, if they play well, can beat GT. An 8-4 record from GT looks like a safe bet at this point.
NC State: Games against Duke and Ohio should give the ‘Pack 6 wins and a bowl. If they can somehow get 7 wins, things will be looking up for NCState in the future.
Virginia: A schedule too tough leaves this team sitting at home for the holidays.
Wake Forest: The Deacons have played well at times, but not well enough. It would take a near-miracle for WF to go bowling this year.
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