The Washington Times - July 28, 2009, 09:20AM

RALEIGH, N.C. – It would be highly misleading to believe this simplistic exercise is the best way to determine in-conference schedule strength.

It’s certainly not the only way.

SEE RELATED:


But it is a way – even if you’re inclined to believe the actual opponents a team must deal with are taken into account.

In any case, every team plays each team from its division, plus three from the other division. So for an intradivision analysis, those three crossover games make a difference.

So like last year, I’ve opted to assign a point for playing the projected division winner, two for a projected runner-up and so on, coming up in the end with who has things supposedly “easier.” If you need a reminder, the voting results are here.

ATLANTIC

12: Maryland (1-Virginia Tech, 5-Virginia, 6-@Duke)
12: Wake Forest (2-@Georgia Tech, 4-Miami, 6-@Duke)
11: Clemson (2-@Georgia Tech, 4-@Miami; 5-Virginia)
10: N.C. State (1-@Virginia Tech, 3-North Carolina, 6-Duke)
9: Boston College (1-@Virginia Tech; 3-North Carolina; 5-@Virginia)
9: Florida State (2-Georgia Tech; 3-@North Carolina; 4-Miami)

COASTAL

14: Virginia Tech (3-N.C. State, 5-@Maryland, 6-Boston College)
13: Virginia (2-@Clemson, 5-@Maryland, 6-Boston College)
12: Duke (3-@N.C. State, 4-Wake Forest, 5-Maryland)
10: North Carolina (1-Florida State, 3-@N.C. State, 6-@Boston College)
7: Georgia Tech (1-@Florida State, 2-Clemson, 4-Wake Forest)
7: Miami (1-@Florida State, 2-Clemson, 4-@Wake Forest)

Conclusions? There’s hardly any tilt to the Atlantic Division, but (at least on paper) Virginia Tech has a far easier road in its crossover games than challengers Georgia Tech and Miami do.

It’s no sure thing it will make a difference. But it certainly could, and it will be worth revisiting this in November if the Hokies indeed take the Coastal Division yet again.

Patrick Stevens