How Georgia Tech can still win the ACC Coastal


Despite a dispiriting loss to Clemson Saturday night, Georgia Tech is still in the chase for the ACC Coastal title. One path, if not terribly likely, is at least plausible.

It would require Georgia Tech to run the table in ACC play to finish at 6-2 in the league and then get some help to create a three-way tie for first. Here’s how it could happen.

Georgia Tech beats Virginia, Virginia Tech and Duke to finish at 6-2. Wins over Virginia and Duke seem manageable. Both teams are sliding, although both have typically given the Yellow Jackets trouble. The monster is Virginia Tech, whose defense appears to be even stronger than usual. The Hokies are second nationally in scoring defense at 11.5 points per game.

According to ESPN’s Power Football Index, the probability of that 3-0 finish is 22 percent.

Next, Miami, which is 5-0 in ACC play and 7-0 overall, would have to drop two of its final three league games, against Virginia Tech, Virginia and Pittsburgh. While a Virginia Tech win over the Hurricanes seems entirely possible, Miami also losing to either Virginia or Pitt seems less so. Still, Miami barely beat a hapless North Carolina team on Saturday and has won its past four games by a combined 18 points (including the one-point win over Georgia Tech). Pitt seems to be improving and will be at home against the Hurricanes.

ESPN’s probability for Miami losses to Virginia Tech and Virginia or Pitt: 13 percent.

The last piece requires the Hokies (3-1 in the ACC), as noted above, to beat Miami, then lose to Georgia Tech and beat Pitt and Virginia. (Georgia Tech needs Virginia Tech to finish 6-2 to avoid a two-way tie with Miami.) Again, a win over Miami, even on the road, doesn’t seem outlandish. Virginia Tech will be the best team that Miami has faced. Indeed, the Hokies are favored by a field goal, despite being the visiting team.

ESPN’s probability for Virginia Tech to finish 3-1, with the one loss to Georgia Tech: 15 percent.

Should all three teams finish at 6-2 in this manner, they’ll have to go to the second tiebreaker, as the three teams would be 1-1 in head-to-head competition. The next tiebreaker would be division record, which would eliminate Miami at 4-2, as both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech would be 5-1.

Then Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech would revert to head to head, and in this scenario, the Yellow Jackets would head to Charlotte, N.C., by virtue of its win over the Hokies. 

The probability of all of these games unfolding in this manner, according to ESPN’s metrics: 2.3 percent.

Those hoping for the results to fall this way might take encouragement in the Jackets’ having overcome similar odds previously. In last year’s Tech-Georgia game, ESPN gave Tech a two percent chance of winning before it staged its two-touchdown rally to beat the Bulldogs.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

5 observations from Georgia Tech’s loss to Virginia Tech
5 observations from Georgia Tech’s loss to Virginia Tech

Georgia Tech tasted defeat for the ninth time in the past 10 games, this time to Virginia Tech by a 76-56 score at McCamish Pavilion Saturday. After a hot start, the Yellow Jackets were overtaken and subdued by the Hokies, who led by as many as 35 points before relenting. Georgia Tech (11-16 overall, 4-10 ACC) is now assured of a losing record at the...
Josh Okogie playing at All-ACC level
Josh Okogie playing at All-ACC level

Georgia Tech doesn’t have much to celebrate at this point of the season, but what guard Josh Okogie is doing this season hasn’t been done in several years. Entering the Yellow Jackets’ game against Virginia Tech on Saturday at McCamish Pavilion, Okogie is averaging 19.1 points per game. No Tech player has finished a season with a...
A second look at Georgia Tech’s loss to Wake Forest
A second look at Georgia Tech’s loss to Wake Forest
A closer inspection of how Georgia Tech lost to Wake Forest Wednesday night. For the “5 observations” story, please read here. 1. With just under seven minutes to play in the first half of Georgia Tech’s 79-62 loss to Wake Forest Wednesday night, the Yellow Jackets had the ball with the chance to take the lead and maybe build...
Georgia Tech’s Danny Hall returns to ‘more intense’ style
Georgia Tech’s Danny Hall returns to ‘more intense’ style

Georgia Tech shortstop Austin Wilhite has seen one full season of coach Danny Hall, but he already knows that the 2018 version is a different model than the 2017 one. “We had one day where he told one kid to just get out of practice because he was loafing around,” Wilhite said. “It’s really been more prominent this year &ndash...
5 observations from Georgia Tech’s loss to Wake Forest
5 observations from Georgia Tech’s loss to Wake Forest

A team that had lost 10 of its past 11 games proved too much for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets were overwhelmed by Wake Forest Wednesday, falling 79-62 at the Joel Coliseum. Tech (11-15 overall, 4-9 ACC) turned the ball over 14 times to the Demon Deacons’ five and was splattered once again from 3-point range by the opposition. Wake Forest...
More Stories