With losses to the two teams ahead of them, the Hurricanes are in desperate help from other programs if they stand any chance of sneaking back into the Coastal race.
The Tar Heels have won all four of their conference games this season, but two of their tougher games are at the end of their schedule. The problem is that Miami needs them to lose at least three games.
With four games remaining for both teams, North Carolina has a three-game lead in the division due to the first tie-breaker being the head-to-head win over the Hurricanes.
The remaining schedule for the Tar Heels is at Virginia, at Wake Forest, home against Georgia Tech, and home against NC State. Two of those teams are ranked while Georgia Tech has proven itself to be a formidable opponent each week, and Virginia isn’t exactly a pushover.
Head Coach Mario Cristobal is in a position where his team almost needs to win every remaining game. Those four games are home against Florida State, at Georgia Tech, at Clemson, and home against Pittsburgh. If they lose one of those games, they would finish at 5-3 in the ACC. North Carolina would have to win just one of their final four to finish with the same record and win the tiebreaker.
This week, Miami must win. If they lose to the Seminoles, they fall to 2-3 in conference play. The only way they could stay alive at that point is for UNC to lose all four of their games.
The most realistic way for the Hurricanes to have a chance at the division title is probably a three-way tie. And even then, we are getting into an extremely specific finish with the Tar Heels needing to lose specific games and Miami having to win at least three of their last four, playing their best football of the season for a month straight.
This is probably the last week we can even mention the ACC Championship game. It has felt futile for a few weeks, but it still is technically possible, no matter how much of a long shot. Losing to Duke was probably the game that ended any chances of a trip to Charlotte, but with North Carolina playing the way they have, it was extremely important to winning that game and they didn’t. But no matter what, it is still important Miami plays out the rest of the season, wins some big games, and gathers momentum heading into bowl season and the offseason.