Re-Mapping the Road to Tampa
Entering the final month of the season, it's time to re-assess the Atlantic Division race. I'm fairly certain the last time we did this, Wake Forest appeared to have the inside track in terms of remaining schedule. But after showing now signs of offensive life in consecutive losses, it might not matter whom the Deacons play (moreover, the perception of their Nov. 8 game against Virgina has changed significantly).
We'll begin by reviewing the standings (conference record and remaining games only, as that's all that's relevant to this discussion).
Maryland.....3-1..........at Va. Tech, North Carolina, Florida State, at BC
Fla. State.....3-1..........at Ga. Tech, Clemson, BC, at Maryland
BC...............2-2..........Clemson, at Florida State, at Wake, Maryland
Wake...........2-2..........Duke, Virginia, at N.C. State, BC
Clemson......1-3..........at BC, at Florida State, Duke, at Virginia
N.C. State....0-4..........at Duke, Wake, at North Carolina, Miami
With as unpredictable as this league has been all season, it's hard to say who has the advantage there, especially because Maryland, Florida State and Boston College have yet to play each other.
Maryland has taken an early advantage in division record (3-0), which could be a tiebreaker in the event of a multi-team tie in which head-to-head records don't decide anything. Boston College is also unbeaten in the division, but the Eagles have played just one division foe (N.C. State) and close out with nothing but division games.
If Wake Forest could get its act together, it could still be a factor, with three of its final four at home and a 2-1 division record that includes a win over Florida State. The Demon Deacons would obviously lose a head-to-head tiebreaker with Maryland by a score of 26-0.
That brings us to Florida State. The Seminoles have somewhat quietly won four straight to stand at 6-1. It's looking more and more like the Maryland-Florida State game on Nov. 22 could decide the division. Even if one team were to slip up once between now and then, each could hand the other a second loss and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with a win in College Park.
Of course, in this league, you can't make any kind of assumption. I don't think N.C. State can win the division, but beyond that, who knows?
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