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Wake Won't Lack For Motivation

You certainly won't hear coaches or players talking this way -- and they might not even be thinking this way -- but with a win Saturday, Wake Forest can essentially wrap up the ACC's Atlantic Division title. How can that be in mid-October? It doesn't seem like much of a stretch when you look at the standings and the remaining schedules.

First, the standings (league record only, as that's all that matters for this discussion)

Team...................Record
Wake Forest........2-0
Florida State........1-1
Boston College....1-1
Maryland..............1-1
Clemson..............1-2
N.C. State............0-2

Hardly a convincing lead at first glance, but then consider that the Deacons' two wins are over Florida State and Clemson. That means if Wake wins Saturday, it will own the head-to-head tiebreakers against all its top competition in the division (Boston College, surely, will return to earth during its upcoming three-game stretch against Va. Tech, UNC and Clemson), and thus the Deacons would have to lose twice, if not three times, to fall out of the top spot. That seems unlikely given a remaining schedule that looks like this:

Oct. 25: at Miami
Nov. 1: Duke
Nov. 8: Virginia
Nov. 15: at N.C. State
Nov. 22: Boston College
Nov. 29: Vanderbilt (non-conference)

Maryland would enjoy similar tiebreaker advantages if it can win Saturday, but because the Terps already have the league loss to Virginia, their margin of error the rest of the way would not be as great.

Virginia Tech is in a somewhat similar position in the Coastal Division, having already posted wins over Georgia Tech and North Carolina. The standings in that division look like this:

Virginia Tech........2-0
Georgia Tech.......2-1
North Carolina.....1-1
Duke....................1-1
Virginia.................1-1
Miami...................0-2

With wins over their stiffest division competition (Duke or U-Va. are improved, but I'm not convinced either is ready for prime time), the Hokies would have to lose twice to cede control of the division. The Hokies face a somewhat path the rest of the way.

Saturday...at Boston College
Oct. 25.....at Florida State
Nov. 6.......Maryland
Nov. 13.....at Miami
Nov. 22.....Duke
Nov. 29.....Virginia

This Virginia Tech team has plenty of apparent flaws, but because the Hokies pulled out wins over the Yellow Jackets and at Chapel Hill, the odds are they will be playing in Tampa in December.

By Matthew Rennie  |  October 13, 2008; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Comments

Prediction:

Wake Forest -- 34
Maryland -- 10

Maryland will finish with a 5-7 record.

I am happy that Maryland is no longer recruiting Tavon Austin.

Jelani Jenkins, Travis Hawkins and Isaac Holmes will be signing with the University of Florida.

Go Tar Heels !

Posted by: Gary | October 14, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

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