Sometimes being in the ACC seems like sitting at the dorks' table in the cafeteria, but then you realize the conference is such a mediocre mess that even with a 3-2 conference record, you still have a path to being king of the dorks' table.
Whether or not Miami will still have a clear shot at that elusive Coastal Division championship and hence a shot at the ACC crown will become a lot clearer tomorrow when the 'Canes take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in a home game.
The 'Canes currently find themselves tied up in the traffic jam of the top of the Coastal Division with North Carolina and, of all friggin' teams, Duke (the ACC is so weird). Considering the 'Canes lost to NC, normally their destiny would be out of their hands, but the Tar Heels have been hit with a postseason ban, so they're ineligible for the ACC championship.
So, all Miami has to do to assure themselves a spot in the ACC's "big" game for the first time is run the board, and that's far from impossible. It's quite doable actually.
Despite this being a home game, and despite the fact the Hookies are a similar 4-4, with a lesser 2-3 ACC record, Miami is actually the slight underdog. Betters have VT up by about two points. That's about as insignificant as Romney's current polling lead in Florida. The game could go either way, but Miami would have to shake off a three-game losing streak. A win would also pretty much ruin any underdog chance VT has to come back and still claim the Coastal Division.
If they do win, their next test would be Virginia. They're 2-6. If the 'Canes can't overcome that, even on the road, their season deserves to be over. After that, there's an out-of-conference game against USF. That would be an embarrassment to lose, but insignificant to the ACC race.
Then it's off to Duke to finish the season, which, surprisingly, might actually be a really, really big game in that it could decide the division. Good lord, the ACC. Duke in a meaningful game! I mean really.
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Let's say Miami beats VT and Virginia. They'd come into the Duke game with a 5-2 conference record.
Duke probably won't win against Clemson this weekend, but let's say they do beat Georgia Tech in their penultimate game of the regular season. They'd come in with a 4-3 record. Assuming Miami is 5-2, Duke would just have to beat Miami, and they'd win the head-to-head tiebreaker after both teams finished with a 5-3 in conference record. (Although, it's also possible Virginia Tech finishes with a 5-3 record despite losing to Miami, which would complicate things, but to do that VT would have to beat FSU).
But before we get ahead of ourselves, Miami has to beat Virginia Tech. The fact that they could end up losing their division to Duke -- DUKE! -- should helpfully fire up the team (and the fanbase).