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Remaining ACC Schedule for Coastal Teams: Week 9

Week 8 in the 2014 ACC football season was supposed to clarify things. Instead, it muddied the waters.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

This past weekend was supposed to clarify things. With three matches between Coastal teams, it was time for some separation to occur.

So much for that.

We somehow managed to find ourselves in a situation that was even more of a mess. Two games were upsets as far as the ACC records went - Duke (then 1-1) beat Virginia (then 2-0); UNC (then 0-2) beat Georgia Tech (then 2-1). The VT/Pitt game technically was between two even teams (both were 1-1 headed into the contest) but I think a lot of people expected the Hokies to outlast the Panthers.

So instead of getting some space between the top and bottom teams, we find ourselves in a situation where all teams are within one game of each other (3x 2-1, 1x 2-2, 3x 1-2).

Let's take a quick look at the records and remaining ACC slate for the Coastal Teams:

Duke Blue Devils (2-1)
Pittsburgh
Syracuse
Virginia Tech
North Carolina
Wake Forest

Virginia Cavaliers (2-1)
North Carolina
Georgia Tech
Florida State
Miami
Virginia Tech

Pittsburgh Panthers (2-1)
Georgia Tech
Duke
North Carolina
Syracuse
Miami

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-2)
Pittsburgh
Virginia
N.C.S.U.
Clemson

Virginia Tech Hokies (1-2)
Miami
Boston College
Duke
Wake Forest
Virginia

Miami Hurricanes (1-2)
Virginia Tech
North Carolina
Florida State
Virginia
Pittsburgh

North Carolina Tar Heels (1-2)
Virginia
Miami
Pittsburgh
Duke
N.C.S.U.

Now go give yourself a refresher on where the STL Power Rankings list each squad. The top and the bottom will look familiar to you. But the middle (3 through about 10) will look a lot different than last week.

And that means that our remaining strength of schedule for each team has jumbled itself up a lot.

Pittsburgh moved up a good bit. Virginia, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech fell. So where do things stand?

Here's the full list:

Georgia Tech: 6.25
North Carolina: 6.80
Miami: 7.40
Virginia: 7.40
Virginia Tech: 7.80
Pittsburgh: 8.40
Duke: 10.80

There's some interesting things here. First of all, Virginia no longer has the toughest remaining schedule. That's in part because of having already played Duke and in part because of Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech falling in the rankings.

In place of the Cavaliers, Georgia Tech and North Carolina move towards the top. That's largely because of Pitt's rise in the rankings.

Probably the most telling thing is Duke's remaining strength of schedule. The combination of Duke's non-conference schedule and their crossover schedule means Duke has one of the easiest schedules in the conference overall and with that much easy on their schedule, there's still plenty of it in front of them.

So what do we have this week? Three more ACC matches pitting two Coastal teams against each other.

Tonight, Miami (1-2 ACC) visits Virginia Tech (1-2 ACC) in what is essentially an elimination game. Most years, two-loss teams this early in the season would already be eliminated. But this year is crazy. So it probably takes three losses to be sure you're out of it (the much-awaited 7 way 4-4 tie notwithstanding).

On Saturday, Virginia (2-1 ACC) hosts North Carolina (1-2 ACC). A Virginia win would likely eliminate North Carolina from contention and ensure Virginia stayed in at least a tie for first place in the Coastal. A North Carolina win would leave both teams still technically alive, but would put Virginia in a precarious position with a rough schedule to finish the season. North Carolina would be poised to repeat last year's miracle run in the second half of the season as their slate gets decidedly easier as the season progresses.

That same day, Georgia Tech (2-2 ACC) travels to Pitt (2-1 ACC). This is an intriguing matchup. A Pitt win would essentially eliminate Georgia Tech, just three weeks after they were 5-0 overall and sitting atop the Coastal. It would also solidify the Panthers' spot in the top half of the conference, just a few weeks removed from three consecutive losses. A Georgia Tech win would just serve to muddy the waters.

Saddle up folks, this ride is about to get interesting!