As Maryland walked off the field at Lane Stadium with a 27-24, overtime victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday, one thing became perfectly clear: The ACC is a lot deeper than most people think.
The triumph gave the Terrapins six wins on the season, matching their combined win total from the last two years, a span that saw the team suffer through winless streaks of six and eight while losing a total of 18 games.
Maryland has even more reason to celebrate as the victory makes the team bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.
Following Week 12’s slate of games, the ACC now has eight teams that are eligible for postseason play. Furthermore, another three teams have recorded five wins with two games left to play.
The ACC has eight bowl tie-ins (9 with a second BCS team). Could have 12 eligible teams. Get that paper, Swoffy. Get that paper.
— Greg Wallace (@gc_wallace) November 16, 2013
Only the SEC, with nine, can say that it has more bowl-eligible teams.
That’s a stunning turn of events for a conference that had long been dominated by the three-horse race of Florida State, Clemson and Virginia Tech. In fact, since 1991, the trio has won 19 of 22 conference titles.
However, 2013 has shaken things up a bit.
Although the Seminoles have already clinched the Atlantic Division, the future looks bright. Aside from the emergence of the Terrapins, Boston College has also made vast improvements in head coach Steve Addazio’s first year at the helm.
The Eagles have already won six games after winning just two a year ago. Surprisingly, the team holds the dubious honor of scoring the most points (34) against Florida State. Boston College even made the Tigers work for a 24-14 victory back on Oct. 12.
In the Coastal Division, the title is still up for grabs.
Following Week 12 play, five teams are still in the hunt. There is the possibility of at least four teams finishing with a 5-3 record in conference play.
After racing out to a 7-0 start, the biggest surprise was initially thought to be Miami. However, the team has stumbled in recent weeks. Not to mention, it’s hard to ignore the stellar play of Duke, having recorded the most wins in school history since 1994.
Needless to say, it’s a race that can easily come down to the wire.
Sure, upsetting the Seminoles in the ACC title will be a tall task for the Coastal Division champion. However, we’ve seen crazier things happen in college football.
Either way, the ACC wins.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.