First, with an eye on the national scene, you got a good result last night when #20 Cal got pounded by UCLA. You also got a not-so-great result as Temple came from behind to beat ECU, but the Owls play Notre Dame next week so there’s another chance to jump ahead of Temple in the polls. 18th ranked Memphis is a 10 point favorite over Tulsa tonight, but this may be the Tigers’ last chance at a loss during the regular season, so hope for a major upset. A Texas Tech team who had TCU dead to rights plays #17 Oklahoma on Saturday, which is really the only matchup that a mid-top 20 team has this weekend that could possibly end in a loss.
In the ACC, don’t expect Virginia or Syracuse to challenge UNC or Pitt, respectively, but hope for it. A loss by either (or both) teams puts you in a great spot. Miami is the most obvious and most likely “helpful loss” as they take on Clemson, and you want the Tigers to keep winning to stay in the College Football Playoff picture. A Florida State loss to Georgia Tech would be nice but not necessary for anything other than hoping to get in front of the Noles in the bowl selection pecking order – which likely will only happen with the two-game differential that’s embedded in the bowl selection contracts.
After last night, cheer against your own team so Coach Ruff cleans house on the coaching staff.
For you, the UCLA win over Cal wasn’t great because the Bruins would likely head back into the Top 25 ahead of you when the polls come out, regardless of what you do against Virginia. The two ranked teams you most need to cheer against this weekend are also the two you need to worry about for the Coastal race … #25 Pitt and #23 Duke. Pitt’s not losing to Syracuse, so the best bet is to hope for a Virginia Tech win against Duke. Neither loss would help that much FOR NOW, because Pitt and Duke are your two opponents over the next two weeks, so losing to either head-to-head to give them the tie-breaker anyway. Still, from a program perspective, it would be nice to have a number beside your name.
You’re pretty much locked into a Pool 1 Bowl at this point barring a complete flame-out (Sun, Belk, TaxSlayer/Music City or Pinstripe), so the only factor outside of tanking that could hurt your cause is Clemson losing and dropping out of the playoff. Cheer against Miami … not like we needed to tell you that anyway.
And also cheer against State to lose ANOTHER game in Winston-Salem just for pure enjoyment, especially coming out last weekend’s win.
I’m not sure what you’re hoping for at this point. Wanting everyone around you to be as sad as you are? Then the obvious choices for teams to cheer against are UNC and Duke, because you probably don’t want to be any part of the local hype that would surround a match-up between 7-1 Duke and 7-1 UNC with both teams in the top 25. That would be absolute hell. Cheer against anyone who would help Duke or UNC (like Tulsa, Texas Tech, etc.).
More than anything, you need to win two more games (congrats, you have Syracuse and Boston College left on the schedule), and you need Clemson and Notre Dame to win out. With the rest of the league shaping out like it is, six wins could put you in a Pool 1 Bowl as long as Clemson and Notre Dame stay out of the ACC bowl lineup.
Duke. Always cheer against Duke. You’re in a sweet spot where the team is getting much better, but not yet to the point where you have to worry about Dave Clawson being a hot name on the short lists of athletics directors across the country. There’s not much to be unhappy about, but it’s easy to get lost in the national and even local picture when the private school down the road is playing in high-profile bowl games every year.