Georgia Tech v Virginia Tech

Who faces Florida State? Sorting through ACC Coastal Division race


Here we are on November 11 and still no clear favorite in the ACC’s Coastal Division. Florida State has already wrapped up the Atlantic Division and is juts focusing on keeping up the BCS Championship pace while waiting to find out who they will face in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte at the end of the regular season. With Virginia Tech roughing up Miami on Saturday there are a number of scenarios that can play out in the Coastal race, which could make for a complicated mess.

Figuring out a two-team tiebreaker is simple, with head-to-head result serving as the first tiebreaker. But the ACC Coastal Division could see as many as four teams finish the season with an identical conference record. It is possible Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Duke, Miami and North Carolina could all finish with an ACC record of 5-3, which would be fun to break down using the ACC’s tiebreakers. The more likely scenario will see two or three teams finish with identical records, but here is a look at how this division shapes up the rest of the way, with the exception of Virginia.

Georgia Tech (6-3, 5-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: @ Clemson

Outlook: It is likely Georgia Tech loses on the road against Clemson, a team that still has a good shot to be selected for a BCS bowl game. With a potential loss at Clemson, Georgia Tech will end their ACC schedule with a mark of 5-3, with losses to Virginia Tech and Miami and wins against Duke, North Carolina and Pittsburgh. Georgia Tech would have a tough time reaching the ACC Championship Game for a second straight season with a loss at Clemson. If Georgia Tech can knock off the Tigers, then we will talk, but for now it does not look great for Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: Maryland, @ Virginia

Outlook: After smashing Miami, Virginia Tech looks to be the team to beat in the ACC Coastal despite having a head-to-head loss to Duke just a couple of weeks back. The Hokies have wins against Miami and Georgia Tech in addition to North Carolina and Pittsburgh, which could end up helping give Virginia Tech the edge in a three-team tiebreaker scenario. Virginia Tech may have the best remaining conference schedule, especially if the offense happens to bust out the way it did against the Hurricanes. Maryland is fading fast and Virginia has just two wins this season. The Hokies should finish with a 6-2 ACC record, and that should get them back to the ACC Championship Game to face Florida State.

Duke (7-2, 3-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: Miami, @ Wake Forest, @ North Carolina

Outlook: The toughest game on Duke’s schedule will be played this weekend, and they get it at home. A win against Miami would give the Blue Devils two huge wins against the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech, and the final two games are probable wins despite being on the road. If Duke can get the win against Miami and they finish the season with a 6-2 ACC mark, they will win a potential head-to-head tiebreaker with Virginia Tech in a two-team tie thanks to a 13-10 victory two weeks ago. However, if it comes down to a three-team situation, Duke starts to lose their advantage. For Duke, winning against Miami will make for the best possible scenario to reach the championship game.

Miami (7-2, 3-2 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: @ Duke, Virginia, @ Pittsburgh

Outlook: Miami is sinking fast and time is running out to plug the holes. Miami’s undefeated start and top ten ranking feel like a distant memory and the Hurricanes have the most difficult of the remaining conference schedules in the Coastal. Miami plays two game son the road, at Duke and at Pittsburgh, and they are capable of losing both. A win this weekend at Duke will give Miami an edge in tie-breaking procedures though as they would have wins against Georgia Tech and Duke, which would help eliminate the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils from some of the tie breakers, but Virginia Tech will have the upper hand with the head-to-head win. Miami probably has to win their final three games to even have a chance to reach a game that looked to be a certainty just a couple of weeks ago.

North Carolina (4-5, 3-3 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: @ Pittsburgh, Duke

Outlook: With losses to Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami already, North Carolina is essentially out of the equation. Mathematically they can still grab a share of the division championship, but the tiebreakers will not be kind to North Carolina if it comes down to that.

Pittsburgh (5-4, 2-3 ACC)

Remaining ACC Games: North Carolina, @ Syracuse, Miami

Outlook: After Virginia Tech, the ACC newcomers may have the most favorable schedule the rest of the way with home games against UNC and Miami and a road game at Syracuse. Depending on what Panthers team shows up, a 3-0 run here is not unrealistic. Oh it’s not exactly likely, but it is certainly not impossible. Pittsburgh has losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech that could hurt, but they would end up having wins against Miami, North Carolina and Duke that could come in handy.

When did Nick Saban realize he missed college football? His ‘first press conference’ in Miami

Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban watches play   against the   Carolina Panthers   September 25, 2005 in Miami.  The Dolphins defeated the Panthers 27  to 24.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
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Yeah, he’s playing to, using the vernacular of the political season, his very fervent base, but it’s still not the least bit surprising.

When Nick Saban left LSU for the job with the Miami Dolphins in 2004, there were more than a couple of observers who were surprised the coach would leave the college game to get back into the NFL. When Saban, after infamously denying it, left the Dolphins to take the job at Alabama after just two seasons, there were more than a couple of observers who were not surprised the coach made such a decision.

Why? Because Saban just seemed like a coach who could relate better to — some would say control more — college players than those in the NFL. With Verne Lundquist serving as a guest on Saban’s weekly radio show Thursday night, the retiring college football broadcaster asked the Alabama head coach, writes, “when in his Miami Dolphins tenure he realized he missed coaching college football?”

Saban’s answer was illuminating…

“Well, the day I landed in Miami and went to the first press conference,” Saban said. “I started to realize the difference between the NFL then and what the NFL was like before when I was in it with Bill Belichick from 1991-94 in Cleveland, before we had free agency, before the media had infiltrated sorta everything that was happening. I guess right then.”

… but not as illuminating as the coach, once again, addressing his version of the Drew Brees situation as it relates to the level control, or lack thereof, in the NFL compared to what he has in Tuscaloosa.

“When [the Brees situation] happened, I said I can’t control my destiny here,” Saban said. “I can’t control my destiny here. There’s too many things that, no matter how hard I work or no matter what I do, I can control my destiny better in college by working hard and making good choices and decisions and creating a good program for players. I think that happening made me lean back to coming back to college.”

Yes, Saban may have, in the eyes of some, unfinished business in the NFL. At 64 years old — he’ll be 65 Oct. 31 — don’t expect him, though, to at any point in the near or distant future to rectify that “hole” in his coaching résumé.

Long-time starting guard ruled out by Tar Heels for rest of season

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 17:  Quinshad Davis #14 and Caleb Peterson #70 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrate after a touchdown against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during their game at Kenan Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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As it turns out, the short-term hit North Carolina took to its offensive line last weekend will turn into a long-turn one.

Caleb Peterson (pictured, being uplifted) suffered a back injury earlier this month that kept him out of both the Virginia Tech (Oct. 8) and Miami (Oct. 15) games. Thursday night, the school announced that the offensive lineman will undergo surgery Friday at the Carrell Clinic in Dallas.

As a result, the senior guard will miss the remainder of the 2016 season. Peterson used his redshirt in 2012 and isn’t eligible for any type of waiver, meaning the 6-5, 300-pound lineman has likely seen his collegiate playing career come to an end.

In his Tar Heel career, Peterson had started a total of 42 games. He had a streak of 30 straight starts snapped when he missed the Tech game.

Following the 2015 season, Peterson was named second-team All-ACC by the league’s coaches.

In addition to Peterson, the football program also announced that Jonathan Smith underwent season-ending surgery Thursday to repair a fracture in his right foot. The freshman linebacker initially suffered the injury during practice in the week leading up to the game against the Hokies.

A three-star member of UNC’s 2016 recruiting class, Smith was rated as the No. 21 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 25 player at any position in the state of North Carolina. He had appeared in six games as a true freshman this season, and was credited with one tackle.

Beavers dealing with injury issues in their backfield

Oregon State running back Ryan Nall, right, looks back at California cornerback Darius Allensworth, left, during an 80-yard touchdown run in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Timothy J. Gonzalez)
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It’s looking more and more likely that Oregon State will be at less than full strength in their backfield when they line up against No. 5 Washington Saturday evening.

Leading rusher Ryan Nall aggravated a foot injury in last Saturday’s loss after just one carry and is officially listed as doubtful for the game against the Huskies. Nall did not practice Thursday and was still wearing a boot to protect the injured foot.

Additionally, Nall’s backup, Artavis Pierce, is dealing with a stinger and did not participate in the portion of practice open to the media, The Oregonian reported.

Nall currently leads the Beavers with 464 yards and six rushing touchdowns. He’s also third on the team with 13 receptions.

Pierce is second behind Nall with 262 yards.

If neither Nall nor Pierce are available, the bulk of the running game load would be shouldered by Tim Cook. The senior has carried the ball nine times this season for 22 yards.

TE Trey Dunkelberger set to transfer from Syracuse

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 08: The Syracuse Orange mascot with the cheerleaders during a game against the USC Trojans at MetLife Stadium on September 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Trey Dunkelberger changed positions earlier this year during spring practice. Seven months or so later, he’s changing programs.

The website JUCO Football Frenzy reported Wednesday that Dunkelberger had decided to transfer from Syracuse. The tight end “confirmed” the move in the form of retweeting the site’s original tweet.

The Syracuse Post-Standard subsequently confirmed the initial report via a text from the player himself, although the football program has yet to address the player’s status with the team moving forward.

Dunkelberger will be leaving the Orange as a graduate transfer, meaning he could move on to another FBS program and be eligible to play immediately in 2017. Next season will be his final year of eligibility.

After playing in one game last season, Dunkelberger has not seen the field yet on 2016. He moved from tight end to defensive end during spring practice, then back to tight end in summer camp.