Struggling Hokies must get past surprising Duke

October 13, 2012 

Three to watch

1) Duke at Virginia Tech, 12:30 p.m. (WRAL)

The Hokies (3-3) can’t afford to look ahead to next week’s trip to Clemson, not with surprising Duke (5-1) ahead of them in the Coastal Division standings.

2) UNC at Miami, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

The Tar Heels (4-2) have found it difficult to duplicate their success on the road, but Miami’s defense has been susceptible to the big play. Despite the defensive problems, the Hurricanes (4-2) have been resilient in ACC play.

3) Maryland at Virginia, 3 p.m. (Fox Sports Net)

Maryland (3-2) actually leads the Atlantic Division after last week’s win over Wake Forest. The Terps need this game for any realistic shot at a bowl, ditto for the reeling Cavaliers (2-4).

Number to know

15.0 Virginia Tech’s average margin of victory against Duke the past four years, compared to 33.5 points the previous four years. The Hokies have won 11 consecutive in the series.

Observations

•  At this rate, North Carolina and Ohio State are on pace to win their respective divisions in their respective conferences. The NCAA says the two schools can’t play in the postseason, championship games included. But what’s stopping the Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels and Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes from getting together in December to have their own “bowl” game?

•  Wrote this last year and will write it again this year: The ACC should adopt the Big Ten’s “division games” only format for the conference standings.

There’s nothing wrong with using the crossover games as a tiebreaker, but the division standings should be based on the results in division games.

If you’re trying to figure out the best team in the Coastal Division, it’s not fair to compare the teams that play Florida State and Clemson to those that don’t.

•  Florida State dropped to 12th in the AP poll and likely out of the national race with last week’s loss to N.C. State. It will be interesting to see how the Seminoles respond Saturday night at home against Boston College, which is coming off a loss to Army.

The Seminoles should still be motivated to win the ACC, which they haven’t done since 2005. The embattled Eagles (1-4) can only hope FSU still is hungover.

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