2017 ACC Football: Three Coastal Division impact games in week 12

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 09: Dazz Newsome /

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

Last week brought the five undefeated squads down to four as Auburn crushed Georgia. It was also a strong week with six top-25 matchups, including three in the top ten.

This week, however, is a bit of a snooze-fest with only one top-25 matchup and the top two teams both playing FCS opponents. That doesn’t mean there won’t be upsets, but the odds are a bit lower.

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 games this weekend.

Virginia at Miami (Saturday, November 18th @ 12:00 pm)

This game lost a little luster with Virginia losing last week. However, it does carry some intrigue at least for Miami. Can the Hurricanes stay undefeated or do the Cavaliers have another upset in them?

Things going for the Cavaliers: Miami against lesser competition. Let’s call it the boredom effect. Miami’s closest games this season have come against teams they should’ve beaten soundly. Yet, if not for some late breaks, the team would not be winless.

Despite winning the past two games in convincing fashion, it is plausible that Virginia will be seen as a lesser team by the Hurricanes. If that is the case, Virginia may be able to pull the upset.

Things going for the Hurricanes: Talent. Miami is the much better team. The Hurricanes have a team full of players that are rated better than most of Virginia’s best. That usually means a win. They are also playing not just for the ACC, but the College Football Playoff as well.

This game screams trap game in my mind. Miami is coming off two straight big wins and has already clinched the Coastal Division. It reminds me a bit of the UNC-Virginia Tech game in 2015. Virginia has the talent to pull off the win, but Miami has the talent to make sure that doesn’t happen

Georgia Tech at Duke (Saturday, November 18th @ 3:30 pm)

Both of these teams enter this game spiraling downward. Georgia Tech has lost three of its past five, while Duke is on a six-game losing streak. Which team can get the win and keep bowl eligibility alive?

Things going for the Yellow Jackets: Daniel Jones. Jones has not been good of late. He has 246 passing yards in his past two games combined with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Last week Georgia Tech held a much better quarterback in check, and to a measly 153 yards. If Jones continues his ways, this could be a big game for the Yellow Jacket defense.

ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 11: TaQuon Marshall
ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 11: TaQuon Marshall /

Things going for the Blue Devils: Duke’s rushing defense. Duke has had a tough time of late, but their defense is still decent. Last week against an Army team that likes to run the triple option, they held the knights to four yards per carry.

When Georgia Tech can’t run the ball, they tend to be less effective, this gives an edge to the Blue Devils.

Both teams need this win for a shot at bowl eligibility. Duke needs to win out, while Georgia Tech just needs a win but plays Georgia next week. If the Blue Devils win, there is a shot that neither make it.

The game is in Durham which should favor Duke, but the Yellow Jackets have looked like the better team this season and there is no reason to think differently this week.

Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech (Saturday, November 18th @ 12:20 pm)

Both teams are coming off of a loss. Pittsburgh lost to continue a winless streak against the Tar Heels. Virginia Tech’s loss was its second in a row, a first under Justin Fuente. Who can do what needs to be done to get the win?

Things going for the Panthers: Darren Hall. In his past three games, Hall has 486 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He is averaging 6.7 yards per carry during that span.

Last week against Georgia Tech, the Hokies allowed 261 yards and two touchdowns. Hall may be in line for another big game.

Things going for the Hokies: Pittsburgh’s Passing Defense. Josh Jackson is one of the better quarterbacks in the ACC. Last week, he struggled throwing for only 153 yards. However, this week he may have found a wake up call.

The Pitt defense has struggled against the pass, allowing 264.5 yards and two touchdowns per game. Nathan Elliot had 235 yards and two scores against the Panthers in the last game. Jackson is better than Elliott, and should have a turnaround game.

Pittsburgh needs to win out to make a bowl game, something that didn’t seem possible a month ago. UNC was a much easier win, so that loss hurts even more. Virginia Tech, at best, can finish second in the Coastal.

One of these teams has something left to play for. The other has a coach who keeps getting mentioned with open jobs. I know Virginia Tech should win, but I am smelling a Panther victory in Blacksburg.

One to keep an eye on: Western Carolina at North Carolina (Saturday, November 18th @ 3:30 pm)

North Carolina won last week, ending a six-game losing streak and preventing the team from going winless in conference play. Could they make it two in a row?

To add to things, this is UNC’s last home game and they are currently 0-5 there on the season. Not even John Bunting went winless at home during his two-win season. UNC would really have to fall apart to not get the home win this time around.

Well, that makes seven teams which is all there is in the ACC Coastal Division. So, sit back and relax and enjoy the week of football.