The Washington Times - October 31, 2008, 09:40PM

You go around the Gossett team house, and there’s certainly a belief among players and coaches that Maryland could win the ACC‘s Atlantic Division.

There’s no blaming them. The Terrapins are in a share of first, and can claim the division title with four wins in November.


But what if I told you that with just a little bit of help, the Terps would capture the division with an even split in November?

Now, they’d have to win the right two games —- Florida State and Boston College. But those two games would make Maryland 5-0 in the division and pretty much hand the Terps any imaginable tiebreaker, even at 5-3.

Since Clemson and N.C. State already have at least three losses and Boston College would too if it loses to Maryland, it would require only these two things to occur:

* Florida State loses to Georgia Tech OR Clemson OR Boston College

* Wake Forest loses to Duke OR Virginia OR N.C. State OR Boston College

You want an even simpler scenario that doesn’t require any external help? How about this:

If Maryland wins its two remaining division games and also topples either Virginia Tech or North Carolina, the Terps head to Tampa at 6-2.

In short, the Terps will be playing with house money when they visit Blacksburg. Rather than bolstering their title hopes —- which remain pinned on the final two games regardless of outcome —- the Terps really face more of a “hearts and minds” opportunity to convince outsiders of their legitimacy.

Here’s guessing that makes the whole Thursday night/Blacksburg/Beamerball scenario a lot less frightening.

—- Patrick Stevens