With Florida State and Georgia Tech set to meet in the ACC Championship next Saturday, Week 13 is all about bowl positioning and getting a few marquee non-conference wins. Florida State, Clemson, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech take on SEC opponents, which is a chance for the ACC to get some much-needed national respect. Duke-Miami, Boston College-NC State, Virginia-Virginia Tech and Maryland-North Carolina are the final conference games for 2012.
Expansion never stops in college football and another domino fell on Monday: Maryland will be leaving the ACC to become the 13th member of the Big Ten.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh are set to join the ACC in 2013, which would have given the conference 14 teams. However, with the Terrapins set to depart, the ACC is back to 13 teams and unbalanced divisions for its long-term outlook.
The Coastal Division was still up for grabs after Saturday's action, but the Atlantic Division title was clinched by Florida State in Week 12. The Seminoles dominated Maryland to claim their second division title under Jimbo Fisher, while Clemson kept its at-large BCS hopes alive with a victory over NC State. Although the action on the field didn't sort out the Coastal, the champion was declared on Monday, as Miami self-imposed a postseason ban, which means Georgia Tech will meet Florida State in Charlotte.
Lost in the struggles of Maryland's offense and quarterback injuries this year has been the play of receiver Stefon Diggs. The true freshman has been a dynamic playmaker and could be a first-team All-ACC selection by the end of 2013.
Diggs continued his solid freshman campaign with a ridiculous one-handed catch against Florida State. The true freshman knew a big hit was coming from the Florida State defender, yet hung on for the reception.
With the season winding down, the Week 12 slate in the ACC could bring some much-needed clarity to the conference title game. If Florida State beats Maryland, the Seminoles would clinch the Atlantic Division title. The Coastal Division is still murky, but Duke and Miami would appear to have the inside track. However, Georgia Tech's late-season surge has it in the mix, while there's still uncertainty on whether or not the Hurricanes will be able to play in any postseason game this year.
Florida State and Clemson are clearly the ACC's best teams but after that is anyone's guess. North Carolina and Miami lost in Week 11, yet don't suffer a drop in the power rankings this week. With Duke on bye and Virginia Tech also losing, it's hard to find a No. 3 team in this week's poll. Virginia has been on the rise over the last two weeks but still needs two victories to get bowl eligible.
With Miami's win over Virginia Tech last week, the race to win the ACC Coastal and Atlantic Division is starting to clear. The Hurricanes hold an edge in the Coastal, while the Seminoles still have a one-game edge on Clemson. Miami hits the road to play Virginia this Saturday and can tighten its grip on the Coastal with a victory. The Week 11 slate of ACC games doesn't feature much in the way of national excitement, but there's some solid matchups with North Carolina hosting Georgia Tech and Notre Dame visiting Boston College.
The Coastal Division has been one of college football’s most difficult races to figure out this season but there could be some clarity after Miami’s win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night. The Hurricanes own a 4-2 record in ACC play and finish with matchups against Duke and Virginia. Florida State remains the conference’s No. 1 team, with Clemson a close second at 8-1 overall.
With only a couple of weeks of conference play remaining, it's crunch time for several teams in the ACC. Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech and Duke are fighting it out for the Coastal Division title, while Florida State holds a one-game advantage over Clemson. Maryland and Wake Forest are trying to get bowl eligible, while NC State is trying to win eight games for the third consecutive season.