With only six conference games remaining on BC’s schedule, it’s time to take an in-depth look at where they stand and what they need to do to find themselves in the top-twelve teams in the ACC and on a plane to Louisville for the conference tournament when the regular season ends.
Before we get started, I will preface this post by saying that the predictions I will make are my own and are based on the (limited) knowledge I have on each of the teams mentioned, and, obviously, I could be wrong. OK, with that said, let’s take a look at the current ACC standings with each team’s conference record in parenthesis:
North Carolina (19-5)
Virginia Tech (8-16)
Georgia Tech (6-15)
Wake Forest (13-8)
Florida State (11-12)
NC State (11-13)
Norte Dame (10-14)
Boston College (7-17)
So, if the season were to end today, BC would finish in 13th place, one game out of the tournament, with Georgia Tech being the only other school not to make the field of 12. Luckily for the Eagles, the season does not end today and they have six more conference games to play on the schedule before the field is set.
Now, realistically, there are six teams the Eagles are competing with for a spot in the tournament: NC State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Duke, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech. What I want to do is look at these six team’s remaining ACC schedules and predict what their conferences records will be when the season ends so that we can get a decent idea of what BC will need to do at Wake Forest and against Notre Dame to make it to Louisville. Let’s get it going:
NC State (11-13): @ Pitt & vs. Clemson; Wow, that series at Pitt will be a toss-up, but I think NC State ends up taking 2 of 3 before being swept at home by a very good Clemson team. Final Record: 13-17
Notre Dame (10-14): vs. Louisville & @ Boston College; Louisville is rolling right now so I expect them to sweep ND on the road, meaning a lot will be riding on the ND vs. BC series to end the season. Does anyone really expect me to pick against BC here? Nope. Eagles 2 games to 1. Final Record: 11-19
Pittsburgh (8-13): @ GT, vs. NC State & @ Wake; Pitt didn’t have a conference series this past weekend because of exams, so they still have 9 games remaining. The Panthers will probably pick up two wins this weekend when they travel to struggling GT, but face two tough series to end the season. As I said above, I think NC States takes two at Pitt, and then the Panthers take a single game at Wake Forest to close out the year. Final Record: 12-18
Duke (9-15): vs. GT & @ UNC; Like Pitt, Duke has the luxury of playing GT down the stretch and will probably pick up two wins against the Yellow Jackets. However, UNC is a favorite to get to Omaha this season, and will likely sweep Duke at home to close out the year. Final Record: 11-19
Virginia Tech (8-16): vs. UNC & @ Miami; Of all the teams that BC is in contention with, VT may have the toughest final two weekends. As previously stated UNC is very, very good, so look for them to take two in Blacksburg. I’d usually say they would sweep the Hokies, but it will be Tech’s last home series of the season, including senior day, so I think they will scratch out a win, unfortunately. Much like the Pitt/NCSU series, VT at Miami is a toss-up. If the Hurricanes get good pitching performances they’ll take two of three, but if Tech blasts the ball like they did against BC, the Hokies will win the series. I’m going to be optimistic here and say that Miami will play well at home in the final weekend of the year and win the series. Final Record: 10-20
Georgia Tech (6-15): vs. Pitt, @ Duke, vs. Virginia; Like Pitt, GT had exams this past weekend and has nine conference games remaining. This has to be a new experience for Danny Hall and the Jackets. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I have to believe this is the first time in a long time that GT finds itself in the basement of the ACC. As stated above, I think both Pitt and Duke take two of three from Georgia Tech before Virginia travels to Atlanta. Although the Cavaliers are firmly in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments, they’ll be playing to try and earn a regional host spot in the NCAA tournament, so don’t expect them to take it easy on GT. I think they sweep. Final Record: 8-22
There you have it. Of the six teams BC is currently battling, I’m predicting only one will finish with more than 12 wins. As you already know, BC finishes up ACC play at Wake Forest this weekend and, after a week off for exams, at home against rival Notre Dame. You can look at that slate in one of two ways. The first way would be to think that it’s a positive that BC only plays one of the six teams they’re contending with while the others beat up on each other. The other way to look at it is that it’s a bad thing because BC will now rely on “scoreboard watching” to get into the tournament as opposed to being able to decide it on the field (minus the possibility of a win-and-in scenario against ND).
So, what does BC need to do? Well, if these predictions end up being correct (they probably won’t, because baseball is funny like that), the Eagles will need to end up with no fewer than 11 conference wins. They need 11 because, having been swept by VT earlier this year, they would lose the tiebreaker against the Hokies should they both end up with 10. This means in their last six ACC games, BC needs to win at least four. That could mean taking one game at Wake and sweeping Notre Dame to get in (would be so sweet to do that against the Irish); it could be stealing a series at Wake, 2-1, and then taking two of three from ND; it could also mean shocking the world and sweeping Wake Forest on the road then losing the series to ND one game to two. Either way, one thing is certain: if the Eagles are swept this weekend in Winston Salem, more than likely, their postseason hopes will die. They need to take just one game to keep the dream alive.
For what it’s worth, if something crazy happens, BC does own the tiebreaker over both Duke and NC State, but more than likely, because of where those two teams currently sit, they’ll be a few games ahead of BC when the season ends and that won’t matter.