Miami's loss to Virginia Tech opens up the ACC Coastal race

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Virginia Tech picked up a crucial win the ACC Coastal Division race by beating Miami. (USATSI)
Virginia Tech picked up a crucial win the ACC Coastal Division race by beating Miam. (USATSI)

Florida State punched a ticket to Charlotte for the ACC Championship game on Saturday, clinching the ACC's Atlantic Division title with a win at Wake Forest. Later in the day, Virginia Tech entered a rainy Sun Life Stadium and shook up the ACC's Coastal Division by capitalizing on Miami's mistakes and leaving with a 42-24 win.

In two weeks, Miami has gone from a Top 10 BCS hopeful to fighting for a spot in the ACC Championship Game. The message from the Hurricanes after the embarrassing loss to Florida State included a shot at redemption in December. With a loss to the Hokies, Miami will now need help just to get that opportunity.

Georgia Tech sets the stage: Georgia Tech travels to play Clemson this Thursday. It will be the Yellow Jackets' final ACC contest of the season, entering the conference play clubhouse at 6-2 or 5-3 after the game. Georgia Tech has a head-to-head advantage against Duke but not Virginia Tech or Miami.

Miami's path to Charlotte: The Hurricanes face a must-win on the road next week against Duke, likely falling from division title contention with a third conference loss. But even winning the final three games of the season (at Duke, Virginia, at Pittsburgh) will not be enough as Miami would lose a tiebreaker with Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes need to win out and Virginia Tech needs to lose.

Virginia Tech's path to Charlotte: The Hokies bounced back in a big way after back-to-back ACC losses and now sit in a great position to win its sixth Coastal Division titles in nine years of ACC division play. Because Virginia Tech holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against Miami and Georgia Tech, the Hokies need victories against Maryland and Virginia and at least one Duke loss to finish at 6-2 in ACC play and earn the title game bid.

Duke's path to Charlotte: The Blue Devils need Clemson to beat Georgia Tech on Thursday in order to avoid getting shut out in a head-to-head tiebreaker against the Yellow Jackets. If that happens, Duke needs to beat Miami, Wake Forest and North Carolina to finish the season 6-2 in ACC play with wins against Virginia Tech and Miami.

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