Miami Loss Opens Up Coastal Division...Again

By Ryan McCart

When Michael Rocco completed a touchdown pass to Jake McGee with six seconds left in the game, he not only won the game for Virginia, he also gave every team in the ACC’s Coastal Division (excluding North Carolina) a second chance. Miami ended up losing to Virginia 41-40, but the Hurricanes may have lost so much more.

The Coastal Division has been an absolute mess in 2012. When Virginia Tech decided to not show up for the entire season they left a massive power void, and there hasn’t been a single team willing to step up and fill it. The Hurricanes beat Virginia Tech in week 10, and the victory appeared to seal the division for the U. However, the loss to the Cavaliers completely removes that seal and leaves the division up for grabs.

North Carolina is the only team in the Coastal that can’t win the division because of NCAA sanctions. The other five teams in the Coastal have either three or four losses in conference and this race might have to be determined by a multitude of tiebreakers. At this point, it is totally impossible to predict who will win the Coastal.

All five teams that are eligible to win the division could do it. It’s amazing that this is the case with only two weeks left in the regular season. It is exciting, but it doesn’t mean that fans will see good football. There isn’t a single team in the Coastal that could even be considered elite. It is possible that a team with a 5-3 or even a 4-4 record in conference play will win the division.

After the final play of the ACC regular season, there will still possibly four teams vying for the division title. There is only one true knockout game in the next two weeks. Virginia and Virginia Tech are both 4-6 and will meet in the last week of the regular season. If both teams win next week, then the loser of that game will be knocked out of the division race and will not be bowl eligible.

At this point any of the five teams could win the division, and the way things have been going I would expect a few more surprise results to make this race even more of a mess. Duke has as good of a chance of winning as traditional powers Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech. Nobody knows how it will work out but stay tuned.

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