November can be unforgiving. It separates champions from dreamers, extends seasons and ends them. It’s the must-win month, the final four weeks of the regular season. Some, of course, have it a little bit easier than others. Here’s a look at the three toughest schedules remaining in the ACC, and the three most favorable:
1. North Carolina: The Tar Heels still have to face the three best teams in the ACC – Virginia Tech, Florida State and NC State. UNC has been able to overcome suspensions and injuries for five wins this season, but can the Tar Heels overcome the Atlantic Division front-runners?
2. Maryland: The top criticism of the Terps is that they haven’t played anyone yet. Well, that’s about to change, starting this weekend. Maryland has back-to-back road trips to Miami and Virginia before finishing the season at home against the Atlantic Division front-runners, Florida State and NC State.
3. Clemson: It starts Saturday against NC State, and continues Nov. 13 with a road trip to Atlantic Division leader Florida State. A road trip to Wake Forest should produce a win, but that’s what many of us thought about the BC game. It won’t get any easier in the season finale against a ranked rival in South Carolina.
1. Boston College: The favorable schedule is why the Eagles’ still have legitimate bowl hopes. Yes, three of the remaining four are on the road, but the toughest of the three is at Syracuse. Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia have combined for an 8-16 record.
2. Virginia: The Cavaliers are three wins away from bowl eligibility, and it’s not out of the question with Duke, Maryland and Boston College up next. Virginia has the Terps at home, but three of the final four are on the road, including the season finale against rival Virginia Tech.
3. Duke: Nothing is easy for Duke, but the worst (a.k.a. Alabama, Miami and Virginia Tech) is behind the Blue Devils. Duke will have home-field advantage in three of the final four games and faces two of the ACC’s weaker teams in Virginia (4-4) and Boston College (3-5) before finishing the season against Georgia Tech and North Carolina.