It wasn’t long ago that Georgia Tech‘s chances at making the ACC Championship game were all but dead after two consecutive conference and division losses to Virginia Tech and Miami. But the wonderful part of college football is how quickly things can change, and what some unlikely upsets can do to shift the landscape.
Right now the Yellow Jackets are on the outside looking in, and it’s still an unlikely scenario that they end up representing the Coastal Division in Charlotte on Dec. 7, but it’s not out of the question.
The Yellow Jackets have appeared in the ACC Championship three times, winning only once – a win that later had to be vacated due to NCAA sanctions.
First things first, the Yellow Jackets have to win out in their remaining conference games. Any further ACC losses will shut the door on any chance Tech has of making it to the championship. With only two conference games remaining, that might sound like a simple task, but those two games are against Pittsburgh (4-3, 2-2 ACC) and No. 8 Clemson (7-1, 5-1 ACC). Not exactly a walk in the park.
So let’s say the Jackets pull off the sweep and finish the season with just two conference losses. Unfortunately the two teams they lost to are in the same division, so a tied conference record with either Miami or Virginia Tech would give either of those teams the upper hand in the standings.
Virginia Tech suffered an unlikely loss to Duke last week, giving them their first conference loss. Their remaining ACC games are against Boston College (6-2, 3-1 ACC), Miami (7-0, 3-0 ACC), Maryland (5-3, 1-3 ACC) and Virginia (2-6, 0-4 ACC). The only truly likely loss that wouldn’t be considered a fairly big upset is to Miami…who just happens to be one of the teams that Georgia Tech needs to lose. It’s quite possible the Boston College could pull of a win against the Hokies, so two more ACC losses for VT isn’t very far-fetched.
Miami is about to take on undefeated Florida State, and then has to face Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-1 ACC), Duke (6-2, 2-2 ACC), Virginia and Pittsburgh. The Yellow Jackets would need the Hurricanes to amass three losses out of that remaining schedule. So assuming the Seminoles take care of business at Doak Campbell Stadium this weekend, who would the other Miami losses come against?
Regardless of who wins the Virginia Tech-Miami tilt, the Jackets will still need a lot of help from the bottom feeders in the conference to pile on a couple of more losses for each team. The best case scenario would be for Virginia Tech to beat Miami, and then hope for Duke and Pittsburgh to finish the job on the Hurricanes.
The Jackets aren’t mathematically eliminated yet, but the equation would make even this year’s Georgia Tech valedictorian sweat a bit.