2017 ACC Football: Three impact Coastal Division games in week 11

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 28: Aaron Crawford
CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 28: Aaron Crawford /

Which ACC Coastal Division games are the biggest of the weekend?

There are five undefeated teams left in the country as Wisconsin, Miami, Georgia, Alabama, and UCF all found ways to win last week.

As none of these teams continue to play each other, the possibility for five undefeated teams next week still remains doable, though maybe not as likely with this week’s slate of games.

Last week saw a season-high seven top 25 matchups. This week only brings six but it does bring three top ten matchups including two involving undefeated squads. In fact, everybody undefeated team but UCF is playing a ranked team this week.

So with all the national intrigue sorted out, let’s dive into the three impact games in the ACC Coastal, starting with the first of two interdivisional game this weekend.

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (Saturday, November 11th @ 12:20 pm)

Four games and three Yellow Jacket losses ago, this game had potential to be a Coastal Crown showdown. Now it is just another Coastal game, with the two squads playing for different goals.

With both teams coming off losses, can either get the win this week?

Things going for the Hokies: Games after a loss. Since coming to Blacksburg, Justin Fuente’s Virginia Tech teams are 5-0 after a loss. In those five games, Virginia Tech has won by an average score of 36-16.

Last week Virginia Tech lost. This is not good news for Georgia Tech.

Things going for the Yellow Jackets: Virginia Tech’s rush defense against Miami. Against the Hurricanes, Virginia Tech allowed 219 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries for a 6.3 yard per carry average.

Georgia Tech is averaging 331.9 yards and 3.3 touchdowns on 60.3 carries per game. Georgia Tech is also getting 5.5 yards per attempt. If Georgia Tech can rush like Miami did, Virginia Tech will be in for a long day.

A couple of years ago these two teams met both needing a win in order to keep their ridiculous bowl streaks alive. The game was in Atlanta and the Hokies walked out with the 23-21 win to keep their, at the time 23 game bowl streak alive

This season Georgia Tech needs two wins in their last three games to become bowl eligible.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech is already bowl eligible but needs this win to keep their slim Coastal dreams alive. In other words, the stakes are just as high.

When in doubt, go with the home team, unless the road team is better and coming off a bad loss the week before. Hokies should find a way to further damage the Yellow Jackets season and raise the temperature on Coach Paul Johnson’s seat.

North Carolina at Pittsburgh (Thursday, November 9th @ 7:30 pm)

Three games ago, the Tar Heels and Panthers were in a similar boat. Both were winless in conference play, with only one win over a lowly FBS opponent. Two Pittsburgh wins later, and one of these teams is playing for bowl eligibility, the other not so much.

Things going for the Tar Heels: North Carolina History. Since joining the ACC back in 2013, Pittsburgh is 0-4 against the Tar Heels. They are 13-10 against all other Coastal squads, with at least one win over the other five teams.

If there was a year for Pitt to break this streaks, this would be it. However, some streaks are just not meant to be broken.

Ask the Clemson basketball program who still has never won a game at Chapel Hill, even the season the Tar Heels went 8-20. Advantage: Tar Heels.

CHAPEL HILL, NC – OCTOBER 28: Head coach Larry Fedora of the North Carolina Tar Heels watches his team play during their game against the Miami Hurricanes at Kenan Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Miami won 24-19. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC – OCTOBER 28: Head coach Larry Fedora of the North Carolina Tar Heels watches his team play during their game against the Miami Hurricanes at Kenan Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Miami won 24-19. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Things going for the Panthers: North Carolina History. Larry Fedora has won a lot of games since coming to North Carolina. However, he has not won a lot of games when given more than 10 days to prepare.

Since coming to UNC, Coach Fedora is 5-11 in games when given at least 10 days to prepare. Thanks to the bye, the Tar Heels will have had 12 days to prepare for this game. Advantage: Panthers.

There is another thing both teams have had in common this season, both teams have had a quarterback carousel. Fedora’s has been less intentional. Meanwhile, Pitt started winning when Pat Narduzzi stopped changing quarterbacks even for a little bit.

The game is at Pitt and the Panthers have the momentum. Unless Nathan Elliott comes out much improved, Pittsburgh gets their first ACC win against the Tar Heels.

Notre Dame at Miami (Saturday, November 11th @ 8:00 pm)

This is one of those three top ten matchups I mentioned earlier. Which team can get a win and help solidify their spot in the College Football Playoff Top Four?

Things going for the Hurricanes: Notre Dame Injuries. Last week the Fighting Irish lost both quarterback Brandon Wimbush and running back Josh Adams to injuries in their win over Wake Forest. If either player can’t go or are limited this week, that will be a huge plus for Miami.

As of Monday, both are expected to play. However, things can change quickly in a game like this.

Things going against the Hurricanes: Notre Dame’s Rushing attack. This will be the second top ten rushing team that the Hurricanes will face this season. The first was Georgia Tech.

In that game, played in Miami, the Yellow Jackets rushed 53 times for 226 yards and a touchdown.

Miami was able to win that game by one point on a last second-field goal.

Notre Dame runs the ball even better than Georgia Tech. The Fighting Irish could have a big game on the ground against the Hurricanes.

The key to this game is which Miami team shows up. Is it the one that crushed Virginia Tech by 18? Or will it be the one that won four games against lesser competition by 18?

If it is the former the Hurricanes should stay undefeated. If it is the latter, not even a last-second miracle may save Miami’s season at that point.

One to keep an eye on: Virginia at Louisville (Saturday, November 11th @ 3:30 pm)

Last week Virginia became bowl eligible for the first time in six years. The Cardinals, meanwhile, still need one more win to become bowl eligible.

The Cavaliers, like the Hokies, still have an outside shot at the ACC Coastal Crown, so even though last week was big, they can’t get caught snoozing this week. If they do, Lamar Jackson will have a field day against Virginia.

The only other Coastal game this week is Duke at Army. Duke is on a five game losing streak, while Army is on a five game winning one. Well that makes seven teams which is all there is in the ACC Coastal Division. So sit back and relax and enjoy the football season.