With last week’s crazy loss to Miami, you went from looking for a way to sneak closer to the top 12 over the past few weeks to looking for a way to get to Charlotte as the Coastal Champions and stay in the top tier of post-season bowl games. All with one play, because that’s how polls work. You still control your own destiny, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t fully expect that Miami result to become even larger than it is right now. Even though the result against Notre Dame won’t count in the ACC standings, Pitt is the obvious target to cheer against this weekend. A Notre Dame win keeps the Irish out of the ACC bowl allotment and in the New Years Six bowls, and a Pitt loss in a super-important game to that program may have the Panthers reeling a bit coming into Durham next Saturday. Much like with Georgia Tech, Notre Dame can stun Pitt this weekend, and you can finish them off a week later. Both Miami and Virginia sit one game behind you in the standings, but this is an easy choice. The Hurricanes own the head-to-head tie breaker, and with games left against UNC and Pitt, you’re probably going to want Miami to win those two games. You definitely want them to lose this one, though.
Two games clear of Virginia and Miami, you don’t care much about the goings on in the Coastal right now. It’s all about the CFP Poll, and starting outside of the rankings isn’t a great start to trying to creep up towards the Top 12 to be eligible for a New Years Six game, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking around trying to figure out what needs to happen to get there. Toledo already lost this week, which opens up a spot in the CFP Top 25 that’s there for the taking. 21st ranked Northwestern plays Penn State, and while the James Franklin era in Happy Valley has largely been gross and disappointing, Penn State can win that game (+2.5 points). Ole Miss is a 10 point favorite over Arkansas, but with how SEC gets overrated so easily, you never know. It would help for the #18 team to lose. Undefeated Memphis won’t drop out of the rankings with a loss, but they’re playing Navy for the conference title, essentially, so that’s a potential loss for sure. You know who the committee would probably LOVE to drop from the rankings though? Florida State. If #1 Clemson rolls over the Seminoles in convincing fashion, the Noles are likely done, and you could jump into the 2nd spot in the ACC. That won’t help you if Notre Dame loses too, so cheer against Pitt as well.
North Carolina State
It’s really pretty gross looking at what you’re striving for right now. The goal, at this point, is to make a Pool 1 bowl, and the only way you’ll get there is to have Notre Dame stay in the New Years Six. Pitt must lose, or you can start booking hotel rooms in Annapolis or Detroit (Annapolis would be fun as hell, though). You also need Louisville to lose because they’re in front of you in the standings and would be picked over you in the bowl selection at this point, even though they’re 4-4 and you’re 5-3. Dear God. You need a 4 loss team to lose because they’re in third place in your division, and they might lose because they play 3-5 Syracuse and they needed an insane amount of mistakes to beat 3-5 Wake Forest last weekend. The Atlantic Division, outside of Clemson, is gross this year. Just don’t lose to Boston College, because then you’d be in a last place tie in that gross division. And you also want UNC to lose so you’re not the only NC team without a divisional championship. Your best bet … win out, hope Notre Dame wins out, and hope for Louisville and either Pitt or Miami to completely fall apart.
Cheer against Duke when Harry Giles announces his college decision today. And probably just completely ignore Duke/UNC tomorrow because you’ll feel dirty either way.