A funny thing happen on the way to the ACC's Atlantic Division title this weekend -- the top three teams all lost.
Florida State lost at home to North Carolina, with FSU's kicker Dustin Hopkins (a Lou Groza award semifinalist might I add, not that I'm bitter or anything ...) pushing a potential game-winning 40-yard field goal attempt wide right.
N.C. State, down by 1 with under 4 minutes to play and having driven to the Clemson 43 yard line, decided to punt the ball away and leave it to the Wolfpack defense to stop the Tigers offense. The Pack defense held up their end of the bargain, but Russell Wilson and the N.C. State offense got the ball back at their own 15 with 2:56 to play but couldn't move the ball. TOB and the 'Pack dropped to 3-2 in conference.
Maryland, up 20-18 on the road at Miami, gave up a last minute 38-yard Stephen Morris TD pass to lose Miami 26-20. Maryland is 3-2, with games against both Florida State and N.C. State remaining.
With the top 3 teams in the Division losing, it's almost as if no one wants to win the Division. Here is a look at the current standings.
Atlantic Coast Conference Standings
The Eagles, while mathematically eliminated from the ACC Atlantic Division championship, can still manage to finish in a five-way tie for first-place at 4-4. D1scourse's Patrick Stevens explains:
BOSTON COLLEGE (2-4)
* None, but I did want to include the scenario that's apropos for the division --- a five-way tie at 4-4.
Boston College would need to beat Duke and Virginia.
Florida State would need to lose to Clemson and Maryland to fall to 4-4.
Maryland would then need to lose to Virginia and N.C. State to get no further than 4-4.
N.C. State would then need to lose to Wake Forest and North Carolina.
And Clemson would have to lose to Wake Forest.
Under that set of results, N.C. State and Clemson would each be 3-1 against that five-team scrum, with Maryland 2-2 and Florida State and Boston College both 1-3. Based on head-to-head, Clemson would trump N.C. State.
Odds this happens? Highly, highly minimal. But it's worth mentioning to point out how crazy things could get in the most ridiculous scenario fathomable.
With the way things have been going, while that scenario seems ridiculous, it doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility with the way these teams are playing.
The Maryland loss was the real backbreaker for BC. Win that game, and the Eagles would have still had a shot -- albeit a slim one -- of coming away with the Division title at 5-3. As it stands, no one seems to want to win the Atlantic Division. With how wide open this year's Atlantic Division title race seems to be, it's a bit frustrating that the Eagles didn't (once again) step up and take it.
As I've said many times before, the 2010 season is shaping up to be one of the biggest wasted opportunities in program history. All the pieces were in place -- a manageable schedule and a division of programs that don't want to separate themselves from the pack -- for another Atlantic Division title in 2010.