- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It’s strange but true - every ACC team was tagged with a conference loss by the time midnight struck Sunday.

It was the earliest date in league history that had happened (a team had gone undefeated in 33 of the ACC’s previous 55 seasons). And it opens up some significant possibilities heading into the final six weeks of the regular season in a conference that hasn’t had a team ranked in the top 15 since the preseason.

Four teams check in at 2-1 in the Atlantic Division, with Boston College facing a closing stretch against the other three schools at the top of its side of the conference (Florida State, Maryland and Wake Forest).

In the Coastal Division, Virginia Tech lost its outright lead with a loss at Boston College and must now visit Florida State. That means the winner of Saturday’s Virginia-Georgia Tech game could wind up in control of that half of the conference.

That’s the same Georgia Tech that was supposed to be rebuilding and the same Virginia left for dead three weeks ago at 1-3.

Certainly, that showdown in Atlanta will have some influence on how the wacky ACC unfolds.

Here’s 10 more games that have a chance to do the same:

Oct. 25

Boston College at North Carolina: With divisional losses to Virginia and Virginia Tech already absorbed, the Tar Heels don’t have much room left to maneuver. They had better upend Boston College on their way into their final bye week.

Virginia Tech at Florida State: Even with a loss at BC, the Hokies remain in control of the Coastal Division. The schedule becomes more manageable after this week with three of four at home in November. But a stinker in Tallahassee probably hands the division lead to Georgia Tech. On the other side, Florida State must be wary because of its loss to Wake Forest; the Seminoles can’t afford more than one loss the rest of the way.

Nov. 1

Florida State at Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are 3-1 in the ACC (6-1 overall) and get Virginia and Florida State in Atlanta the next two weeks. If Georgia Tech wins them both, it probably will be time to engrave Paul Johnson’s name on the conference’s coach of the year trophy.

Nov. 8

Georgia Tech at North Carolina: Has a good chance to be an elimination game for both teams - at least if they’re still in the chase.

Nov. 13

Virginia Tech at Miami: It’s easy to forget about the Hurricanes and their two conference losses. But suppose they topple Wake Forest and then exact some payback for a shutout loss at the Orange Bowl to Virginia? All of a sudden they’re 3-2 and get the Hokies at home on a Thursday night.

Nov. 15

Boston College at Florida State: There is no rest for the Eagles at any point going forward, and this shapes up to be the nastiest test of all. Boston College will be coming off a home game against Notre Dame - always a biggie for New England’s major Catholic school - and no doubt will need this for a divisional push.

Nov. 22

Boston College at Wake Forest: Assuming the Demon Deacons can regroup from Saturday’s humbling in College Park, they might be in the best shape of anyone. Their only remaining game against an Atlantic Division contender is the tussle with BC, and they avoid Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. There might be another loss lurking out there, but this is the biggest game left on Wake’s schedule.

Florida State at Maryland: The Terps have nabbed Florida State in the Seminoles’ last two trips to College Park, and a third would give Maryland some hope in the conference title chase. Florida State is probably the best team left on the Terps’ schedule … which means it’s the safest bet for a Maryland victory.

Nov. 29

Maryland at Boston College: This easily could turn out to be two 7-4 teams battling for a spot in the Champs Sports Bowl. Actually, Maryland would be battling for it because an 8-4 or 7-5 BC team would fall much further down the bowl pecking order. But it also could decide the Atlantic Division.

Virginia at Virginia Tech: If the extreme home/road Cavaliers can win at either Georgia Tech or Wake Forest, they just might have a chance to create havoc in the conference. That’s assuming they can win the Commonwealth Cup - something Virginia hasn’t done in Blacksburg since 1998.

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