Figuring Out The ACC

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2008

As the season progresses, the ACC Championship picture has turned from a clear sunny day to a severe thunderstorm. Most people were picking Clemson and Virginia Tech to represent the conference in the championship game, but now Clemson has no shot and Virginia Tech has only half a team.

It seems eight teams have a shot of getting into the ACC Championship, but some could be eliminated as soon as this weekend.  Here's a look at the contenders remaining conference schedules.

North Carolina

At this moment, North Carolina is still alive.  Their 1-2 in the ACC Coastal division, but if they don't win this week their chances of a conference championship apperance are pretty much over. 

Boston College will be tough to beat, and coming off of their overtime loss against Virginia isn't going to help matters.  If they do get passed BC, things won't get easier as they play Georgia Tech next week.  Expect the Tar Heels to lose one of these games.

Wake Forest

They've had two horrible losses, one to Navy and a shutout last week against Maryland.  Navy doesn't matter in the ACC picture, and Wake Forest has one of the easier remaining conference schedules left.

Sitting at 2-1 in conference play in the Atlantic Division Wake will take on Miami, Duke and Virginia in the next three weeks.  These are all games they should win, but if Riley Skinner struggles Wake has a hard time competing.  They finish at NC State, which should be another win, and their biggest conference game remaining is Boston College.

The Wake, BC game may decide the Atlantic Divsion when it's all said and done.


Maryland has one of the tougher conference schedules remaining as they are set to play Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Florida State and Boston College.  As of now, they're 2-1 in the ACC with wins over Clemson and Wake, and their lone loss came against UVA who beat them 31-0.

Maryland has been pretty inconsistent all year, and I don't see them winning the Atlantic Division with their remaining schedule.  They should beat NC State this week, but once this team hits the road they're a completely different team (this is not a good thing).


The way UVA started the season I didn't think they would win two games.  I'm not kidding.  They lost to USC, which was expected, struggled against Richmond, and was absolutely dominated by Connecticut and Duke.

However, the Cavs have rebounded nicely winning three games in a row, against Maryland, East Carolina, and North Carolina in overtime.  Right now, they're tied at second in the Coastal Division with Virginia Tech, and have a huge game this weekend against Georgia Tech.

If the Cavs win this one they have a legitimate shot at making the conference championship game.  After this weekend, they play Miami and Clemson at home, and have away games against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. 

The Battle for the Commonwealth Cup may actually mean something for the Cavs and the Hokies this year, especially if they're tied at the top of the Coastal Division in the last week of the regular season.

Boston College

Boston College has had a very good season so far, but it finishes pretty tough with a lot of Atlantic Divisional opponents.  There last three games of the season are at Florida State, at Wake Forest and then at home against Maryland. 

They're 2-1 in the ACC, with wins over NC State and Virginia Tech.  Their lone loss was to Georgia Tech in the second week of the season.  They play UNC and Clemson in the coming weeks, but I'm still not sold on the Eagles.  They beat Virginia Tech, but only won by five points.  I say this because, Virginia Tech didn't put the ball in the endzone offensively or even step in the redzone one time. 

Their game against Florida State should be the deciding factor for the Atlantic Division representative in the ACC Championship.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech is a good defensive team, decent on special teams, but one of the worst teams in the nation on offense.  When I say one of the worst, the 114th ranked offensive team in the FBS out of 119.  How this team has won five games is beyond me.

I was at the Georgia Tech game, and really the only reason the Hokies won was because of the personal fouls the Yellow Jackets kept committing.  They struggled offensively with Furman and Western Kentucky, were helped out by injuring UNC quarterback T. J. Yates, and really, their only good win this year was at Nebraska.  Even against Nebraska a number of penalties moved the ball up the field.

I've been a Virginia Tech fan all my life, and never have I not looked forward to watching them play on Saturday's.  However, their offense is so bad it's hard to watch.  If they don't fix this immediatley they will have a hard time winning most of their games for the rest of the season.

This week against Florida State is their biggest remaining test, and I don't think they will come out on top.  Right now they're 2-1 in the Coastal Division, and need to win most of their remaining games to have a shot at the ACC Championship. 

After this week, Maryland, Miami, Duke and Virginia is how they will finish up.  If their offense can finally open the book to their season they should be fine.  If not, they have no chance of getting to the ACC Championship.

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech has had a very good season so far, with only one loss to Virginia Tech.  They nearly lost to Gardner-Webb a couple of weeks ago, but we'll just assume they were looking ahead to Clemson. 

The Yellow Jackets sit atop the Coastal Division at 3-1, and have Virginia, Florida State, Miami, and North Carolina remaining.  If Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech wind up with the same conference record, Virginia Tech holds the tie breaker.

Georgia Tech is capable of running the table for the rest of the season, but Virginia is a formidable opponent now, and Florida State will be a tough one.

Florida State

Florida State leads the ACC in scoring, but played pretty weak competition in their first three weeks.  They lost to Wake Forest, scoring only three points, and are number one in the Atlantic Division with a 2-1 conference record.

Florida State has Virginia Tech this week, and travel to Georgia Tech next week.  If they win these two games they'd be in good position.  However, I see them losing one if not both of these.

Christian Ponder has been okay at times, but has trouble throwing the ball against tough defenses.  Antone Smith is what this offense lives and dies with, and will need him to have two very good games in the next two weeks.

If the Seminoles get past these two teams, Clemson, BC, and Maryland will await.  The Boston College game should be the deciding factor for this division, if Florida State hasn't lost a number of conference games by this point in the season.

ACC Championship

Boston College vs. Virginia Tech

Boston College is probably the easiest to call here, but Virginia Tech will only get here if they find their offense.  If they do get to the championship game they will only be able to lose one more game this season, if not Georgia Tech will be the representative for the Coastal Division.


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