Coastal ‘chaos’ is in peak form in late-2019 — not a surprise to some. Despite losing to inferior Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech teams, the ‘Canes defeated Virginia during their homestand and pulled together to beat Pittsburgh and Florida State on the road — not to mention their dismantling of Louisville on senior day.
So, what has to happen for Miami in order to reach the ACC Championship?
Virginia and Pittsburgh need to lose once more in conference play, as Miami has the tie-breakers over them. The ‘trickier’ teams to predict are Virginia Tech and North Carolina — both of which are Coastal ‘contenders’ who have the edge over Miami.
Virginia Tech has 3 games remaining on the year — all coming against ACC-opponents — which should bode well for Miami’s chances. However, their opponents in those upcoming games are Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Virginia. It’s doubtful that Georgia Tech will upset the Hokies, but it’s the kind of help that Miami desperately needs.
Virginia has 1 in-conference game remaining — coming against rival Virginia Tech in their regular-season finale. This makes Miami’s path extremely delicate, as they need Virginia Tech to win this game, but will be relying on both Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh to hand the Hokies losses.
North Carolina also has the tiebreaker-advantage over Miami and has 2 ACC contests left in 2019. These games are both on the road for the Tar Heels — a visit to Pittsburgh this upcoming Thursday and a trip to rival NC State to conclude the regular season. A victory over Pittsburgh wouldn’t kill all hope, but it would leave 4-5 NC State as the only team that could eliminate the Tar Heels from the conversation.
Lastly, Pittsburgh sits slightly-above Miami in the standings with 2 conference losses but lost to Virginia in their season-opener. Pittsburgh’s 3 remaining games of 2019 come against North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. For Miami’s sake, Pittsburgh has to beat North Carolina and Virginia Tech, but lose to Boston College to secure their position.
All of this depends on Miami’s game against Duke though, as the ‘Canes have to focus on their own business before worrying about the tiebreaker rabbit-hole. If they beat the Blue Devils, then their chances are still alive. With so much luck being needed in this scenario, and with the unpredictability of college football, it seems near-impossible for Miami to make it back to Charlotte. However, if the ‘right’ teams lose in the coming weeks, hope persists.