ACC’s Coastal Plain

All six teams in the “Coastal” half of the nationally-mocked ACC have one or two conference losses, and all have at least a reasonable shot playing in Raymond James Stadium on 12/6.  Given Clemson (3) and NCSU (4) already have more losses, all also appear to have a good shot at securing one of the ACC’s nine bowl tie-ins as well:

 

Team

11/1

11/8

11/15

11/22

11/29

Virginia

3-1

Miami

@ Wake

Bye

Clemson

@ VPI

GT

3-2

#16 FSU

@ #21 UNC

Bye

Miami (Thu)

OOC (UGA)

#21 UNC

2-2

Bye

GT

@ #25 UMD

NCSU

@ Duke

VPI

2-2

Bye

#25 UMD (Thu)

@ Miami (Thu)

Duke

Virginia

Miami

2-2

@Virginia

Bye

VPI (Thu)

@ GT (Thu)

@ NCSU

Duke

1-2

@ Wake

NCSU

@ Clemson

@ VPI

#21 UNC

Records and rankings (AP) as of 10/26

 

Several of Virginia’s remaining games – if not all four – look much more winnable than they did just a few weeks ago.  The Cavaliers embarrassed Miami 48-0 in the last game at the Orange Bowl in 2007, and the Canes come in with a 5-3 record identical to Virginia’s.  Unlike last year’s 5-3 Miami start – which yielded to a four-game losing streak to close the season – Randy Shannon’s group has won two conference games in a row, and lost nail-biters to UNC and FSU (both at home) by a combined six points.  Miami has allowed 31 points per game in the ACC compared to just 22 per contest through their first five conference games last season.  These Canes rank 11th in the 12-team ACC in scoring defense and 9th in total offense (99th nationally).

 

A month ago, Wake Forest was ranked 16th nationally after holding the ACC’s current leader in total & scoring offense (FSU) to three points in Tallahassee.  Wake also have wins over Clemson, Mississippi, and Baylor on its resume, but has looked pedestrian in losses to Navy, Maryland, and Miami.  In its four conference games, the Demon Deacons have averaged just 8.5 points per game and have not scored over 17 in their last five, after opening the season with 41 at Baylor and 30 against Ole Miss.  How they perform this weekend at home against Duke may be a better indication of the team Virginia will face in Winston-Salem on 11/8.  The Cavaliers will enter BB&T Field having beaten Wake three straight times, including a one-point victory last year in Charlottesville, and three-point win at home in 2003, and a four-point triumph on the road in 2002.

 

The Cavaliers have not played Clemson since 2004, when they won 30-10 in Charlottesville, but have won three of the past four matchups including two straight at home.  The wheels have seemingly come off the bus in Death Valley, with multiple coach firings, key injuries at QB and TB, and finger-pointing aplenty.  The Tigers are 1-3 in conference and boast wins over NCSU and The Citadel, both teams which have lost four games in a row.  Clemson has only lost three in a row – perhaps only because they were idle last week – but interim head man Dabo Swinney has instituted a “Tiger Walk” (in suits) before home games, removed cell phones from locker rooms & sidelines, and “invited and let the student body participate in practice.”  The Tigers face BC & FSU on the road, followed by a home contest against Duke before travelling to Charlottesville.  Virginia, meanwhile, will enter the game after a week off.

 

Lane Stadium has been a house of horrors for Virginia of late, with double-digit losses in each of the past four trips, and a combined point total of 19 over the last three visits to Blacksburg.  The Cavaliers held Tech to less than 25 points in all three of those games, but have given up 33 and 52 to the Hokies in the last two meetings in Charlottesville.  The Hokies are allowing 21 points per game in 2008 – up from 14 a year ago after ten weeks – but offensive statistics would indicate that this year’s game may not feature a ton of scoring.  Not to be out done in the national total offense rankings, VPI ranks 113th out of 119 teams, below fellow ACC Coastal scoreboard-lighters Virginia (97), Duke (98), Miami (99), and Wake Forest (100).  Before you ask the question, Georgia Tech is 72nd.  Like Wake, Virginia Tech will host Duke the week before hosting Virginia, and the Cavalier fans will be eager to see how healthy Tech’s banged-up quarterbacks are by that point in the season. 

 

Georgia Tech is the only Coastal team that has played five conference games, but faces back-to-back contests against ranked opponents as well what looks to be an improving Miami team.  Like GT, Virginia Tech has only one road contest remaining, and consecutive ESPN Thursday night games against Maryland (home) and Miami may decide the Hokies fate.  Duke is the only Coastal team with five games remaining, and must travel for three of them, including to both Clemson and Blacksburg.  UNC plays two of its final four on the road, but should be favored in each, unless Maryland knocks off Virginia Tech on 11/6.  Miami may have the toughest road to Tampa, with three outstanding road contests, and two Thursday games in a row.

 

In case you’re wondering, the ACC divisional tiebreakers are head-to-head competition, followed by in-division records.  Virginia Tech is currently the only Coastal team without a Coastal loss, and the two Virginia schools are the only with two Coastal victories.  Virginia will play three of its five Coastal games on the road, but is one of four Coastal members (UNC, Miami, Duke) who will play two of its three contests against Atlantic foes at home.  Comparing the Atlantic draws, Virginia does not play FSU or BC – who have both beaten Coastal squads already.  Virginia also misses our on NCSU, the conference’s only 0-4 team:

 

Team

Coastal Only

Atlantic #1

Atlantic #2

Atlantic #3

Virginia

2-1

UMD

@Wake

Clemson

GT

1-2

@ BC

@ Clemson

#16 FSU

#21 UNC

1-2

BC

@ #25 UMD

NCSU

VPI

2-0

@ BC

@ #16 FSU

#25 UMD (Thu)

Miami

1-1

#16 FSU

Wake

@ NCSU

Duke

1-2

Wake

NCSU

@ Clemson

Wins in green, losses in red; rankings (AP) as of 10/26

 

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One Response to “ACC’s Coastal Plain”

  1. Home Underdogs vs. Revenge « bryanerogers’s weblog Says:

    […] mentioned previously in this space, Miami’s defense has been gashed several times this year, allowing 20+ points to FSU (41), Duke […]

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