November 17, 2008

ACC Football: The Path to Tampa

Can the Fridge lead the Terps to Tampa?

With 2 weeks of ACC football remaining, a shocking number of teams (9) still have a chance to make it to the ACC Championship Game in Tampa, but only 3 teams control their own destinies. Here's a breakdown of each team's path:

Maryland - The only team with only 2 losses in the Atlantic Division, the Terps control their own destiny, with FSU at home and BC on the road remaining. If BC loses to Wake, the Terps only need one victory from those two games, as they would win the 2 team tiebreaker with Wake or the 3 team tiebreaker with Wake and FSU (based on division record). If BC wins at Wake, Maryland vs. BC will be a showdown for the Championship game, regardless of Maryland's performance vs. FSU. CORRECTION: If BC wins at Wake and Maryland loses to FSU, the Terps cannot go to Tampa.

Boston College - The only other team in control of its destiny in the Atlantic, BC must win both of the last two games (at Wake and vs. Maryland) to make the title game. No other combination will work for the Eagles.

Wake Forest - The Demon Deacons must defeat BC next week to finish 5-3 in conference, and they would need Maryland to lose to both FSU and BC to go to Tampa. That would result in a 2-way tie with FSU at 5-3, and Wake's victory at FSU would break the tie. If Maryland wins either game, they win the tiebreaker over Wake.

Florida State - The Noles need the most help, but it's still possible. They have to beat the Terps, BC must beat Wake, and then the Terps must beat BC. That would leave Wake and BC with 4 losses, and FSU's victory over Maryland would break the tie at 3 losses. That is the only way FSU is the representative of the Atlantic division.

The Hurricanes are poised to return to dominance.

Miami - The only team with 2 losses in the Coastal, the Hurricanes will go to Tampa if they can win out.

Other than the option of Miami with 2 losses, this is simpler to consider by possible permutations of the 5 teams which can finish with 3 losses. All tiebreakers considered are for teams with 3 losses because either GT or Miami will finish with 3 or fewer losses. To finish with 3 losses, all teams must win out except Miami, which can afford one loss in some cases.

GT wins tiebreakers consisting of: (GT), (GT, Miami)
Miami wins tiebreakers of: (Miami), (Miami, UVA), (Miami, VT), (Miami, GT, UVA), (Miami, VT, UNC), (Miami, UVA, UNC)
VT wins tiebreakers of: (VT, GT), (VT, GT, UNC), (VT, GT, Miami), (GT, Miami, UNC, VT)
UVA wins tiebreakers of: (UVA, GT), (UVA, GT, UNC), (GT, Miami, UNC, UVA)
UNC wins tiebreakers of: (UNC, GT), (UNC, Miami), (UNC, Miami, GT)

So what does that mean in words?

Georgia Tech - The Jackets need a ton of help. GT must beat Miami to have any chance. UVA and VT must both finish with 4+ conference losses, which means at least one of them must lose next week, and then the team that lost must win the game between the VT and UVA. AND North Carolina must lose at least one of their last two games (Duke and NC State). Then GT (and possibly Miami) would finish with 3 losses, and the Jackets would be headed to Tampa.

North Carolina - The Heels must win out. Then Miami must lose at least once, and UVA and VT must finish with 4+ losses, as for GT. UNC can win the tiebreaker with Miami and GT, but can't win any tiebreaker involving UVA or VT.

Virginia Tech - The Hokies must win out as well, and they need help. If Miami loses twice, VT is the champ because they win all tiebreakers with everyone else. If Miami only loses once, the Hokies need GT in the tiebreaker, so GT must beat Miami. VT is eliminated by a Miami victory over GT.

Virginia - The Cavs must win out, and Miami must lose to GT. In addition, if Miami beats NCST, the Cavs still go to Tampa if UNC wins out also. If Miami loses both remaining games, Virginia controls its own destiny.

Miami - A victory over GT almost clinches the division, as the only tiebreaker they wouldn't win is head-to-head with UNC. A loss to GT would have the opposite effect, as the 3-team breaker with UVA and GT is the only one the Canes could win.

The last two weeks should be exciting with lots of good but not great teams... We can only wait and see.


Brien said...

Awesome, thanks for doing that. It's crazy that there are still so many possibilities left for the ACC.

Jeremy said...

Thanks Russell. I was having an argument with a buddy last night (a Wake fan) over what possible ways the Deacs could still make the ACCCG assuming the Terps lose on Saturday. Time to forward him your post.

Hmm... a Terps-Miami ACCCG? That would be a lot of fun.

Nikhil Verma said...

So I guess Duke's not eligible, huh?

J-Red said...

We have to find a better acronym than ACCCG. Even a space makes it better, like ACC CG. I like ACC Championship more. It seems more important that way.

And I would love to get the Canes in that game.