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

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. 

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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