Miami Football: Predicting the Hurricanes' Chances of Winning the ACC Coastal

David MayerCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 22: Miami Hurricanes players celebrates after Mike James #5 caught a 10-yard touchdown pass with 27 seconds left in regulation to tie the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on September 22, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Miami won 42-36 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Who would have ever thought that this year's Miami Hurricanes would still be in the hunt for an ACC championship?

Especially after losing three straight games before last week's bye and having one of the worst defenses in the country.

Believe it or not, with Duke losing to Florida State last week, the Hurricanes control their own destiny in making it to the ACC Championship.

As it stands now, Miami, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech all have two losses in the ACC. We can remove North Carolina from that list as they are not eligible to play in any bowl game this year due to NCAA sanctions.

So this week's game against Virginia Tech is massive right now if Miami wants any shot at the league title.

With a victory against the Hokies, the Hurricanes will own the tie-breaker against them and if Duke loses to Clemson on Saturday—I would bet my house that they do—it will leave Miami alone in first place.

Breaking down all three teams' schedules, there is no doubt in my mind that the Hurricanes have the easiest road to the title.

After Virginia Tech the Hurricanes play Virginia, South Florida and Duke to end the season. Those teams have a combined record of 10-15.

Virginia Tech still has Florida State, Boston College and Virginia—who combine for a 12-13 record—but like I said, the Hurricanes would own the tie-breaker if they beat the Hokies.

Duke on the other hand has to play Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami (14-10 combined record). Although the Blue Devils have the harder schedule, they have played better than both Virginia Tech and Miami this season.

What the Hurricanes need to do to win the coastal is simple—beat Virginia and Duke. The South Florida game is irrelevant as they play in the Big East.

My prediction is that Virginia Tech loses to Miami and Florida State and finishes the ACC with a 4-4 record which would eliminate them for the ACC championship.

Duke will lose to Clemson this weekend and fall behind Miami with an ACC record of 3-3 while Miami wins Thursday's game and takes the lead with a 4-2 record.

The Blue Devils then have a bye week before playing in Georgia Tech (in Atlanta) on Nov. 17. I honestly believe Georgia Tech beats Duke and the Blue Devils head into the Hurricane game with a 3-4 record in the ACC.

Yes, what that means is the Hurricanes will be coastal division champions on Nov. 17 because they are going to beat the Hokies on Thursday and the Cavaliers on Nov. 10.

Even if Duke beats Miami in the last game of the season, the Hurricanes will have already clinched the division.

So, basically, this Thursday's game against Virginia Tech is larger than life for Miami if they want a chance to head to the ACC Championship—which may all be irrelevant if the school decides to skip the ACC and bowl bids due to incoming sanctions.

*Note: Georgia Tech is technically still in the hunt with just three losses, but Miami and Virginia Tech hold tie-breakers if they all tied. I do not think the Yellow Jackets will win all three ACC games they have left, so I omitted them in my prediction.