Brian: With the calendar turning to November, Boston College is out of the running for the Atlantic Division crown (and any bowl game for that matter) quite early this season. With BC out of the running, we turn our attention to possible ACC Championship Game matchups that don't include the Eagles.
As Ivan Maisel wrote this week, there are two surprises still in the running for their respective division titles.
"If you're looking for the happiest surprises of the season, look to the ACC, where Wake Forest (5-4, 4-2) and Virginia (6-3, 4-2) control whether they will win the Atlantic and Coastal divisions, respectively."
Can you imagine a Wake Forest vs. Virginia ACC Championship Game matchup? Would more than 10,000 fans show up to this year's game in Charlotte? Is this the worst remaining possible matchup in the ACC Championship Game for the conference? And what's the best possible matchup for national interest and attendance? Your thoughts?
Jeff: Wake Forest will beat Maryland easily at home. So the Atlantic Division absolutely comes down to the Demon Deacons game at Clemson this Saturday. Wake Forest has a chance to knock off the Tigers but Clemson is significantly favored in that one and rightfully so. While I don't expect it, there is a chance Wake Forest is playing in the Charlotte this season.
Meanwhile, Virginia has absolutely no chance whatsoever to make it to Charlotte. They still have three conference games remaining including at Florida State and Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers would have to win out in order to win the Coastal Division because either Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech will finish with only two conference losses or better.
Nationally, though, a Wake Forest-Virginia matchup in the ACC Championship Game would be the worst possible outcome for the ACC. It would pit a #21 vs. #23 nationally ranked team against one another or, more likely, Wake Forest wouldn't be ranked at all.
TV ratings would be terrible. But would ticket sales be a bust? Absolutely not. Wake Forest has played in the variously named Charlotte bowl before and done well with ticket sales. They will bring 30,000+ fans to the game just as they do to a normal home game. Virginia is also a big school and is under a five hour drive from Charlotte. Virginia has traveled moderately well to bowl games in the past and with the thought of who knows when UVA might make the ACCCG again, fans would travel en masse to Charlotte.
While the game might not quite sell out, it will absolutely have a very good crowd. This is the benefit of moving the game to North Carolina. Even with one of the least desirable matchups possible, the game will still draw an excellent crowd. If the game were played in Tampa again, there would be fewer fans than the Boston College vs. Virginia Tech 2008 matchup.