The Miami Hurricanes football team may be reeling after losing to Middle Tennessee State, but the hopes for an Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game appearance are still alive.
It may seem like a long shot to hope for a division title after losing to a Conference USA team, but with the entire conference schedule ahead and many teams in the Coastal Division struggling against Group of Five opponents as well, we should still be hopeful.
With only one team in the division having a conference win, the entire season is still ahead of the Hurricanes regarding the division race's outlook. So this is who Miami fans should be rooting for in week five when every other team in the conference plays, 12 of which are playing each other.
Saturday, October 1
Louisville @ Boston College, Noon
The first game of the week for the ACC is between the only two teams in the conference who have lost two conference games this season. Both teams are in the Atlantic Division, so neither team winning affects the Hurricanes.
All season, I have been rooting against Louisville in toss-up games due to its success in recruiting South Florida. We should continue doing the same, rooting for Boston College in a game that otherwise doesn’t matter.
Wake Forest @ Florida State; 3:30 p.m.
In the first of two games between ranked opponents, the Florida State Seminoles get their biggest test of the season and try to stay undefeated. Wake Forest lost in overtime to Clemson last week for their first loss of the season.
All Miami fans are always cheering for a Seminoles loss. This is the first of three straight games against ranked teams, so it would be nice to see them lose all three of those.
Virginia Tech @ North Carolina; 3:30 p.m.
The Virginia Tech Hokies are the only team in the Coastal Division to win an ACC game so far, beating Boston College back in week two. They take on North Carolina this week in a big divisional game.
With the Hokies not exactly looking like a huge threat this season, rooting for them to upset the Tar Heels on the road seems like the right way to go. North Carolina is coming off a loss to Notre Dame and has struggled to stop just about every team they have played, but they still have more talent than a lot of the teams in the division. The winner of this game could find themselves towards the top of the division for much of the season.
Wagner @ Syracuse; 5 p.m.
The Syracuse Orange have been one of the biggest surprises in college football this season. At 4-0 and two wins in the ACC, they are ranked in the coaches' poll and received votes in the AP Poll. Wagner is 0-3 and doesn’t seem to be any threat to a decent team. So the Orange should easily get to 5-0.
NC State @ Clemson; 7:30 p.m.
For the second consecutive week, the fifth-ranked Clemson Tigers take on a ranked team. They snuck out a win on the road against Wake Forest last week and get NC State at home in week five.
The Wolfpack have not dominated this season like they probably should have, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be rooting for them. The Tigers may be the face of the ACC over the last decade, but all Miami fans should be sick of them and want some new blood to rise to the top of the conference.
Virginia @ Duke; 7:30 p.m.
In another game between Coastal teams, Duke is tied for the best record in the division at 3-1 while Virginia is 2-2 with a conference loss. The Blue Devils lost to Kansas last week while the Cavaliers lost a nail-biter to Syracuse.
Duke may not be the most talented team, but they are not a team to take lightly in the division. Virginia and quarterback Brennan Armstrong look like shells of themselves. This doesn’t feel like an extremely consequential game between two of the less talented teams in the Coastal.
With a lot to learn about the Blue Devils still, the Cavaliers are who Hurricane fans should root for since it doesn’t seem like they have much to gain from winning while Duke feels like they could rise from this win.
Georgia Tech @ Pittsburgh; 8 p.m.
The most important game of the week for Miami is between the likely favorite in the division and a program that just fired its head coach. Pittsburgh is looking to repeat in the ACC and can get their first conference win of the season against Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets have lost three of their first four games, leading to the firing of Geoff Collins. If Georgia Tech and their interim coach Brent Key could hand the Panthers a conference loss, that would help the Hurricanes in their battle for a division title.