ACC Division Games Deciding Division Champs, Not Overall ACC Records

bcinterruption.com

LSU head coach Les Miles wants the the SEC division champs decided by division record instead of overall conference record because, why not?

"I want the schedule to be fair and I want it to give everybody the same opportunity," Miles said today in Birmingham at a luncheon for the Changed Lives Christian Center. "I'm for the Western Division deciding the Western Division champion and the Eastern Division deciding the Eastern Division champion."

SEC commissioner Mike Slive has already more or less shot down the idea, citing difficulties in putting more weight on some conference games over others, but it's an intriguing idea nonetheless.

I've long been of the opinion that it's not exactly fair that Boston College plays a program that has become the standard-bearer for ACC football since the league expanded to 12 teams every year while a program like Wake Forest gets a guaranteed win in the form of a yearly contest against Duke. In a six team, eight game divisional title race, even a one game difference can have a very large impact on the eventual ACC Championship Game participants.

What I wanted to know is should the ACC have adopted this practice at the outset of divisional play in 2005, would the ACC divisional champs been different? Let's take a look.

2005

For the inaugural ACC Championship Game, Florida State (5-3) edged Boston College (5-3) to win the ACC Atlantic Division title, while a 7-1 Virginia Tech team won the Coastal Division. Here's the updated divisional standings based on division games only.

Atlantic Division:
1. Boston College (4-1)
2. Clemson (3-2)
2. Florida State (3-2)

Coastal Division:
1. Miami (4-1)
1. Virginia Tech (4-1)
3. Georgia Tech (3-2)

Right off the bat we have a different matchup for the inaugural ACC Championship Game. At 4-1, Boston College would have gone to Jacksonville (over Florida State), despite the head-to-head home loss to the Seminoles. In the Coastal, both Virginia Tech (4-1) and Miami (4-1) finish atop the division, but the Hurricanes earn the Championship Game berth by virtue of the U's 27-7 victory over the Hokies in Blacksburg.

Actual Championship Game Matchup: Florida State (5-3) vs. Virginia Tech (7-1)
Revised Championship Game Matchup: Boston College (4-1) vs. Miami (4-1)

2006

The 2006 title game matched a 6-2 Wake Forest team up against a 7-1 Georgia Tech team. Here are the revised Divisional standings based on division record only.

Atlantic Division:
1. Boston College (3-2)
1. Clemson (3-2)
1. Maryland (3-2)
1. Wake Forest (3-2)

Coastal Division:
1. Georgia Tech (5-0)
2. Virginia Tech (4-1)
3. Virginia (3-2)
3. Miami (3-2)

In the Coastal Division, the actual Division champs ran the table within the division, finishing a perfect 5-0. But look what happened in the Atlantic -- an ugly, unwieldy four-way tie atop the division. If you assume a standard tiebreaker would be implemented here, with record against the teams tied atop the division standings, both BC and Wake Forest finished with 2-1 records while Clemson and Maryland finished with 1-2 records. Wake Forest wins the comparison with BC by virtue of the head-to-head victory, so the 2006 title would have still been Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech.

Actual Championship Game Matchup: Wake Forest (6-2) vs. Georgia Tech (7-1)
Revised Championship Game Matchup: Wake Forest (3-2) vs. Georgia Tech (5-0)

2007

Eagles fans are well versed in the 2007 ACC Championship Game. Boston College's first trip to the title game was achieved by winning the Atlantic Division by a full game with a record of 6-2. In the Coastal Division, Virginia Tech took their second division title in three seasons with a 7-1 record (and lone loss coming to BC). Ice'd.

Atlantic Division:
1. Clemson (4-1)
2. Florida State (3-2)
2. Boston College (3-2)
2. Wake Forest (3-2)

Coastal Division:
1. Virginia Tech (5-0)
2. Virginia (4-1)
3. Georgia Tech (3-2)

In the case of Boston College, the Les Miles rule giveth, and the Les Miles rule taketh away. Here, despite compiling a 6-2 overall record in the ACC, BC finished with just a 3-2 record within the Atlantic Division. Clemson lost the head-to-head with BC but managed one better, finishing at 4-1. Clemson takes the Atlantic Division title and faces an undefeated Virginia Tech from the Coastal Division.

Actual Championship Game Matchup: Boston College (6-2) vs. Virginia Tech (7-1)
Revised Championship Game Matchup: Clemson (4-1) vs. Virginia Tech (5-0)

2008

The 2008 ACC Championship Game was the conferences first rematch, with BC returning to the title game to face Virginia Tech in Tampa.

Atlantic Division:
1. Boston College (4-1)
2. Florida State (3-2)
2. Maryland (3-2)

Coastal Division:
1. Virginia Tech (4-1)
2. North Carolina (3-2)
2. Miami (3-2)

BC bests both Florida State and Maryland by a full game in the Atlantic, while Virginia Tech tops both North Carolina and Miami in the Coastal Division. Same matchup.

Actual Championship Game Matchup: Boston College (5-3) vs. Virginia Tech (5-3)
Revised Championship Game Matchup: Boston College (4-1) vs. Virginia Tech (4-1)

2009

In 2009, the Clemson Tigers finally broke through to make their first ever ACC Championship Game berth in the league's fifth year of divisional play. The Tigers faced the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who won the Coastal by a full game over -- who else? -- Virginia Tech.

Atlantic Division:
1. Clemson (4-1)
1. Boston College (4-1)
3. Florida State (3-2)

Coastal Division:
1. Georgia Tech (5-0)
2. Virginia Tech (3-2)
2. Miami (3-2)
2. North Carolina (3-2)

Both BC and Clemson finished tied atop the Atlantic Division standings at 4-1, but Clemson still goes to Tampa with their double lightning delayed victory over Boston College. Georgia Tech goes a perfect 5-0 for the second time in four seasons.

Actual Championship Game Matchup: Clemson (6-2) vs. Georgia Tech (7-1)
Revised Championship Game Matchup: Clemson (4-1) vs. Georgia Tech (5-0)

2010

After a five year hiatus, Florida State finally made it back to the ACC Championship Game as the Atlantic Division champ. The 6-2 Seminoles faced a perfect 8-0 Virginia Tech program that became the first program to finish with a perfect 8-0 record since divisional play began.

Atlantic Division:
1. Florida State (4-1)
2. Clemson (3-2)
2. N.C. State (3-2)
2. Maryland (3-2)

Coastal Division:
1. Virginia Tech (5-0)
2. Miami (3-2)
2. Georgia Tech (3-2)

No surprises here. Virginia Tech wins the Coastal with a perfect 5-0 record, while Florida State tops Clemson, N.C. State and Maryland -- all 3-2 -- by a full game. Same matchup:

Actual Championship Game Matchup: Florida State (6-2) vs. Virginia Tech (8-0)
Revised Championship Game Matchup: Florida State (4-1) vs. Virginia Tech (5-0)

2011

Last year saw the 6-2 Clemson Tigers face the 7-1 Virginia Tech Hokies, a program the Tigers pasted in Blacksburg earlier in the season for VT's lone conference loss on the year.

Atlantic Division:
1. Clemson (4-1)
1. Wake Forest (4-1)
3. Florida State (3-2)

Coastal Division:
1. Virginia Tech (5-0)
2. Virginia (3-2)
2. Miami (3-2)

Clemson still wins the Atlantic, but surprising to see Wake Forest earn a share of the Atlantic Division crown. The Deacons finished ACC play with a mark of 5-3 last year. The Hokies, once again, win the Coastal with a perfect 5-0 record.

Actual Championship Game Matchup: Clemson (6-2) vs. Virginia Tech (7-1)
Revised Championship Game Matchup: Clemson (4-1) vs. Virginia Tech (5-0)

When I set out to do this exercise, I had a hunch that BC would have ended up in at least one more ACC Championship Game than they did over the program's first seven years in the league. I was only half right. Boston College would have won the Atlantic in 2005 over FSU, but at the same time, wouldn't have won the Atlantic Division title in 2007, Matt Ryan's senior season.

Using the revised divisional game rule, the Atlantic Division title scoreboard goes from:

2 - Clemson, Boston College, Florida State
1 - Wake Forest

to

3 - Clemson
2 - Boston College
1 - Wake Forest, Florida State

The Coastal Division has been far more predictable, with the only change over the first seven years of the Championship Game being the first year, swapping out Virginia Tech for Miami. Incredibly, in five of the first seven seasons, the eventual Coastal Division champ finished with a perfect 5-0 record in divisional play. This is what happens when your division includes the Duke Blue Devils.

Other interesting stats:

-- The Hokies have lost just five Coastal Division contests in seven years, less than one a season.
-- Conversely, Duke sets the bar ridiculously high for intra-divisional futility. The Blue Devils have gone 1-34 in Coastal Division play since 2005.
-- All five teams that went a perfect 5-0 in divisional play all hail from the Coastal Division -- three times for Virginia Tech, twice for Georgia Tech. Again, Duke factor.
-- A team has gone 0-5 nine times over the last seven years. Five of those teams were Duke (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011). The other four were 2011 Maryland, 2010 Wake Forest, 2007 N.C. State and 2006 Florida State (LOL).

With just three of 14 divisional champs altered by the Les Miles rule, I'll soften my stance a little on the unbalanced schedule. To be sure, it's a crazy idea -- like, why even have cross-divisional games at all then? -- but doesn't have much of an impact when it comes to the ACC division title winners over the first seven years of divisional play.

(All of the above doesn't factor in vacated wins. Looking at you, Florida State and North Carolina.)

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join BC Interruption

You must be a member of BC Interruption to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at BC Interruption. You should read them.

Join BC Interruption

You must be a member of BC Interruption to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at BC Interruption. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker