The good news if there are now half as many permutations of results involving ACC Coastal Division contenders as there were at the start of the night.
Trouble is, there’s still 64 of them.
So there’s no reason for a giant chart. That’s just a headache and a half at this point (though it won’t be come Saturday when there will only be eight scenarios remaining). But it is possible to run through the easiest way for each team not named Duke (which is out of it) to win the division.
The Hokies just got precisely the help they needed tonight when Georgia Tech drilled Miami. Virginia Tech can lock up its third ACC title game appearance in four years if it can hold serve at home against Duke (likely to be Thaddeus Lewis-less) and Virginia. Frankly, that’s as close to a dream scenario as could be imagined.
The Tar Heels needed five results, and got one tonight when Miami lost. Carolina must defeat N.C. State in Chapel Hill and Duke up at Durham County High School Stadium Wallace Wade Stadium, so that part of the equation is doable. But they also need BOTH Virginia (vs. Clemson, at Virginia Tech) and Virginia Tech (vs. Duke, vs. Virginia) to trip up once.
That means if the Old Dominion teams defend their home fields on Saturday, the Tar Heels are toast.
Miami could have eliminated the Cavaliers tonight. Instead, if Virginia can win out against Clemson and at Virginia Tech and get another Miami loss next weekend (at N.C. State), the trip to Tampa is improbably handed to Lord Groh.
The Yellow Jackets are in the clubhouse at 5-3 in the league, which means they can sit back and watch everything fall apart around them. If it does in a truly major way —- like North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech all losing one of their final two games —- then Georgia Tech heads to the title game. Stranger things have happened.
Like Carolina, the Yellow Jackets can start looking at mid-to-lower-tier bowls if the Virginia teams sweep this weekend.
You think the Hurricanes are done? Not quite.
If Miami wins at N.C. State, Virginia defeats both Clemson and Virginia Tech and North Carolina loses once, then there is a three-way tie for the division lead between Miami, Virginia and Georgia Tech. Those teams split their round-robin, so it would go to divisional records. Miami and Virginia would be 3-2, and Georgia Tech is 2-3. The Yellow Jackets are eliminated, and the ‘Canes land in the title game by virtue of their overtime defeat of the Cavaliers.
—- Patrick Stevens