With one weekend to go in the ACC regular season for the Boston College Eagles, it's do or die time. They'll head to Clemson this week with the chance to clinch their first conference playoff spot of the Mike Gambino era, but in order to do so, they'll need to get work done and help for some assistance along the way.
The 10th spot of the ACC playoffs is still up for grabs following Pittsburgh's sweep loss to the Maryland Terrapins. The Panthers still have the inside track and control their own destiny, but the situation for them just got a whole lot more muddled.
As of right now, NC State and Pitt are both tied for 10th in the ACC with 11-16 conference records. The Pack Nine play three at Virginia Tech this weekend, who were eliminated from postseason contention despite not playing a league weekend. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, heads to Notre Dame to play a suddenly surging Fighting Irish team that beat Clemson for two out of three games. BC heads to Clemson.
In the scheme of tiebreaking scenarios, the first level is to analyze the record of head-to-head records. This benefits the Panthers, who took two of three from both BC and NC State. That means, in any tie situation, Pitt will always win out. BC, meanwhile, holds the tiebreaker over NC State but not PItt, and the Wolfpack need to outright win the spot.
Standing two games back, BC has only one way to make the playoffs. They need Pitt, in any scenario, to get swept by the Irish. If Pittsburgh wins a single game, BC cannot make the ACC Tournament. because, at best, Pitt would finish with 18 losses by losing two of three. Since BC cannot finish in a tie with Pittsburgh and make the playoffs, the at-present 9-18 Eagles are out.
Since BC needs Pittsburgh to get swept, they can only make the playoffs by finishing one game ahead of the Panthers. Since a sweep would put BC at 12-18 and Pittsburgh at 11-19, BC needs NC State to lose at least two games this weekend. If BC finishes tied with the Wolfpack, they go to the ACC playoffs. Therefore, they can let NC State win one game and finish with that 12-18 record.
BC makes the ACC Tournament if they finish 12-18, if NC State finishes 12-18 or 11-19, AND if Pittsburgh finishes 11-19. If BC loses any of these games this weekend, that can't happen. The pressure is on for the Sons of Gambino.