UNC Football: Can The Tar Heels Make The ACC Championship?

Dec 3, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Bank of America Stadium before the ACC Championship game between the Clemson Tigers and North Carolina Tar Heels. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 3, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Bank of America Stadium before the ACC Championship game between the Clemson Tigers and North Carolina Tar Heels. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

As we enter the final three weeks of the UNC Football regular season, many fans are asking… can the Tar Heels make the ACC Championship Game?

The 2023 UNC Football team enters the final three weeks of the regular season with a 7-2 overall record and a 3-2 conference record. As we inch closer to the end of the season, potential finishing scenarios begin to look more clear for the ACC Championship race.

With no divisions and a different tiebreaker scenario than in years past, it is a little more confusing this year. As things begin to clear up, UNC Football fans wonder, can the Tar Heels still make the ACC Championship game?

Here’s the short answer: yes, with a lot of help.

Things get more complicated under new ACC scheduling with no divisions and the top two teams advancing to the championship game. Add in a potential tiebreaker among teams that didn’t play this season, and it gets even more confusing.

Let’s preface this by saying that the Tar Heels must win their final three remaining games against Duke, Clemson, and NC State for any of the following to matter.

After Louisville knocked off Virginia 31-24 on Thursday evening, the path of UNC Football to make the ACC Championship game became a lot clearer (and more difficult). Because the Cardinals and Tar Heels do not play each other, the next tiebreaker goes to their win percentage against all common opponents.

Louisville and North Carolina each play Georgia Tech, NC State, Pittsburgh, Miami, Duke, and Virginia this season. In this scenario, both teams would have to finish 6-2 overall in the ACC (meaning Louisville loses to Miami on November 18th), leaving each team with a 4-2 record against the common opponents.

As a result, we have to advance to tiebreaker number three: win percentage versus common opponents based on order of finish. Since Georgia Tech is the highest-ranked common opponent in the ACC standings, the winning percentage against the Yellow Jackets is the only one that matters. The Tar Heels are 0-1, and the Cardinals are 1-0. Louisville wins this tiebreaker.

For the Tar Heels to win the tiebreaker over the Cardinals, they need Georgia Tech to lose their final two remaining conference games (@ Clemson and vs. Syracuse) to drop to 4-4 in the ACC while also needing Miami to win out (@ Florida State, vs. Louisville, and @ Boston College) to allow them to finish 5-3 in the ACC.

Miami winning out not only drops Louisville into a tie with the Tar Heels at 6-2, but it also gives the Tar Heels the tiebreaker of going 1-0 against the Hurricanes while the Cardinals would be 0-1.

It is important to note that if Miami goes 2-1 (with a win over Louisville) and ties with Georgia Tech at 4-4, the Hurricanes would lose the tiebreaker with the Yellow Jackets due to their head-to-head loss on October 7th.

So, while it’s a long shot for the Tar Heels to make the ACC Championship, the scenario is simple: UNC Football wins out, Miami wins out, Georgia Tech loses out. You can view all of the tiebreaker rules here.

On another note, the Tar Heels have entered the College Football Playoff Rankings this week at No. 24. It is important to note that if North Carolina wins out and No. 11 Louisville were to lose two of their final three games, assuming they make the ACC Championship game (@ Miami, vs. Kentucky, and Florida State), it is a possibility they Tar Heels jump the Cardinals in the playoff rankings.

If that happens, and Florida State goes to the College Football Playoff, the highest-ranked ACC team earns the conference bid for the New Year Six Orange Bowl. That could be the Tar Heels with a 10-2 record.

So, while the Tar Heels could be eliminated from the ACC Championship race before they kick off against Duke Saturday evening (Miami plays Florida State at 3:30 PM), there could still be plenty to play for as far as a bowl bid goes.

For now, the most important thing is to win the games on your schedule and Beat Duke!

Next. UNC Football: Uniform Combination Revealed For Duke Game. dark

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