Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
The same unpredictability as year ago is engulfing the ACC, when the clear-cut division winners didn’t emerge until the final two weeks of the season. This time it’s for a different reason -- the Atlantic Division just isn’t very good.
Unlike the Coastal Division, which boasts some true parity at the top, the Atlantic Division is simply muddled in mediocrity. Everyone has at least two losses already and only one team -- Wake Forest -- won this past weekend. In the Coastal Division, however, every team won on Saturday -- including Duke. I’m not sure that’s ever happened before. While the Blue Devils and Virginia have been making progress each of the past few weeks, teams like Boston College, NC State and Florida State seemed to have taken steps back.
For NC State and Florida State to be a combined 0-5 in conference play right now is a huge disappointment for the ACC, as both were expected to be legitimate contenders for the ACC title. If the ACC championship game were to be played this weekend, it wouldn’t even be a fair fight. Just look at what happened on Saturday.
We knew heading into the season that the Coastal Division was expected to be the stronger of the two, but there was no better illustration of the disparity between the divisions than what happened on Saturday in Virginia Tech's 48-14 thumping of Boston College. The Hokies completely dominated the Eagles on both sides of the ball, as BC was held to just 3 yards of total offense in the first half. And yet somehow, Boston College could still win the Atlantic Division because of its wins over Wake Forest and Florida State.
If Boston College and Virginia Tech would happen to meet in the ACC title game for a third straight season, ACC and Tampa officials should start giving away tickets -- yesterday.
The Coastal Division has three nationally ranked teams, including two -- Miami and Virginia Tech -- that could wind up in BCS bowls. The Atlantic Division has two teams with four losses each already in Florida State and Maryland.
We already saw Virginia Tech play Miami. On Saturday, we’ll see Virginia Tech travel to Georgia Tech. Odds are the ACC title game will have a hard time rivaling either of those this year.