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Virginia Football could still make the ACC Championship Game

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Friday’s loss means the Hoos have a lot of work and need a little luck.

Virginia v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Despite losing 23-13 to the Pittsburgh Panthers on Friday, the Virginia Cavaliers still have multiple paths to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte.

No, they do not control their own destiny anymore. They will need some help from other teams in beating Pitt, but the losses that have to happen are still plausible.

Here’s how the Coastal Division stands with three weeks of football left and who each team has to play in those final three weeks (ACC games only):

The Easy Path:

The easiest path for UVa to play in Championship Game is obviously for Pitt to lose two of their final three games, and for UVa to beat Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech to end the season. The Hoos would end up at 6-2 in conference while Pitt would be behind them at 5-3, while VT would have at least three losses.

The Hard Way:

Though winning their final two games would make all of our lives easier, it is possible for UVa to lose one of their final ACC games and still win the Coastal at 5-3.

First though, the ACC Tiebreaker rules have to be reviewed:

Three-Team (or More) Team Tie: (Once a team is eliminated from the tie, the tie-breaker procedures restart for the remaining teams. If the three (or more) team tie can be reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker format will then be applied.)

  1. Combined head-to-head win percentage among the tied teams.
  2. Win percentage of the tied teams within the division.
  3. Head-to-head competition versus the team within the division with the best overall (divisional and non-divisional) Conference win percentage, and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken first to last, using the league’s tie-breaker policies.

So, in order for these rules to even be applied for UVa, they would need to be in a 3 way tie with Pitt and another team. Since UVa and Virginia Tech are the only two teams left with two ACC losses and they play each other at the end of November, a three way tie at two losses will be impossible.

Loss to Georgia Tech, beat Virginia Tech

UVa (ACC: 5-3, Coastal: 4-2): L-GT, W-VT
Pitt (5-3, 3-3): L-VT, W-WFU, L-Miami
Miami (5-3, 4-2 ): W-GT, W-VT, W-Pitt

In this scenario, Pitt, Miami, and UVa all get to 5-3 in the ACC and are all 1-1 against one another. Since Miami and UVa would be 4-2 in the Coastal, Pitt would be eliminated. With only UVa and Miami left, head to head would be used and UVa beat Miami in October. UVa to Charlotte.

UVa (ACC: 5-3, Coastal: 4-2): L-GT, W-VT
Pitt (5-3, 3-3): L-VT, W-WFU, L-Miami
VT (5-3, 4-1): W-Pitt, W-Miami, L-UVa

Exact same scenario as above, but UVa would hold the tiebreaker over Virginia Tech.

Any other three way tie scenario in which Pitt’s two losses come from some scenario of VT/Miami and Wake likely gets into the 3rd tiebreaker. Since the tiebreak would likely fall to a game against GT, UVa would likely be left out. I can’t think of a 3 way tie between UVa, Pitt, and Miami or VT that does not have GT in the 4th spot

Beat Georgia Tech, loss to Virginia Tech

This scenario seems to be impossible to get UVa to the title game. Miami has to be the third team in this scenario since UVa would be 0-2 against Pitt and VT, which would eliminate them in a 3-way tie. But as we can see below, that does not even get UVa in.

UVa (5-3, 4-2): W-GT, L-VT
Pitt (5-3, 4-2): W-VT, L-WFU, L-Miami
Miami (5-3, 4-2 ): W-GT, W-VT, W-Pitt
and
VT (4-4, 3-3): L-Pitt, L-Miami, W-UVa

All the teams are 1-1 against each other, all have a 4-2 Coastal record, but the third tiebreaker likely falls to their games against Virginia Tech. Since UVa has lost to VT in that scenario, UVa is on the outside looking in. (The math is essentially the same if VT is the 5-3 team instead of Pitt.)

Those are the scenarios I can come up with in which UVa advances to the ACC Championship Game. If there are others, let us know in the comments.