Mike Huguenin, Rivals.com College Football Editor, has a story online here. In his story he predicts how the remaining undefeated teams will finish the season. He has us going 3-3 to finish at 9-3. He predicts Clemson will end the year at 10-2. He is not saying who will be the three teams that beat us, but I can guess one has to be Clemson. The other two are probably VPI and UGa. I can't argue that prediction is unreasonable, and if we don't start playing with more passion, it could get worse. I think we will certainly beat UVA and Duke, so the challenge to beat his prediction begins at Miami. That will make us 6-2 in conference play, assuming his prediction is right.
It gets more interesting when you look at his forecast for Clemson. Remember, this is all mid-week speculation.
He predicts the Tigers will finish at 10-2. I assume one of the losses will be to South Carolina. But, who is the other loss? You have to think they can beat Maryland and NC State, but any of the three other ACC teams could, on a good day, play them very close. They have UNC and Wake at home, but get us on the road. If he thinks they will lose to us, but win the two home games, that means he probably thinks we will lose to Miami. If I were a betting man (which I ain't) I would not bet against them at home.
It gets really interesting with VPI, who already has one conference loss. If they beat us, and we also lose to Clemson, VPI will have to lose two more games for us to play in the ACCCG. Assume they will win at Duke and UVA, and at home against BC. That leaves only Wake on the road and UNC at home. I have a hard time seeing how they lose both of those games.
Here is the fun part. If Clemson beats UNC, but the Heels win their other ACC games (including VPI), the Coastal Division will have a 3-way tie between us, UNC and VPI, all at 6-2 in the conference.
The first tie breaker is "Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams." All three teams would have 1-1 records against the other two. The next tie breaker is "Records of the tied teams within the division." All of us would be 4-1 in the division. Next comes "Record versus common non-divisional with the best overall Conference (divisional) and non-divisional record and proceeding through the other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within the division." If you understand this sentence, please advise me. I think it means, you start with Clemson since all of played them. We all would have lost, so no advantage there. Then you step through the rest of the common non-divisional opponents. All would be wins by all three. So no advantage there, either.
The next tie breaker is "The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the conclusion of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the ACC Championship Game." This is a mouthful, but the team with the highest BCS ranking is the likely division champion. We have a chance here, since we are higher ranked now. If we play Clemson a tight game, it is unlikely we will lose much in the BCS standings after that game. We will also need a close game against VPI, because a blowout on the heels of a loss to Clemson will probably knock us out of the polls. Assuming we are still ranked when we play Georgia, how we are affected by the computer rankings will depend on how Georgia is ranked at that time. They have two losses now and still have to play Florida and Auburn. If we lose to a 4-loss UGA, we will dive in the rankings.
Now, all this is based on this one story on Rivals, so don't put too much into it. Personally, I think we will right the ship this weekend and beat UVA and Miami. Then we will beat either Clemson or VPI. I hope it's VPI, frankly, since that will get us to the ACCCG with a likely 7-1 record. This is far better than I dreamed before the season. If we play UGa with only one loss, it means we will have corrected the problems we are now seeing with the offense. UGa is a good team, but their defense is not designed to play us when all is working in the option.
All these scenarios are interesting to think about. What are your thoughts? Do you see errors in my analysis? Does anyone think we will win out?