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Boston College Baseball: ACC Playoff Update #7

The Eagles are on the right side of the bubble, but an off weekend this week can change that in a hurry.

Dan Rubin

We may never know just how huge those wins were this past weekend.

Following Miami's thumping of Georgia Tech on Monday, the shakedown of the ACC's standings finally finished. Over four days, what we thought we knew was thrown immediately into whack in favor of a slightly more insane approach that may actually get crazier as we get moving.

With the dawn of this week, Boston College is now inside the bubble for the ACC Championship. With three games left on their schedule, the Eagles are 11-14 in conference play, 27-18 overall. That puts them in 10th place, a virtual tie with 11th place Pittsburgh. As of right now, the only thing separating the Eagles from the Panthers are two extra games played, a 1-1 result that means BC has a .005 better winning percentage.

This is where the ACC gets a little crazy. Because cancelled games aren't made up, teams are almost hurt for having played less games. Clemson, for example, is tied with three teams, two of which are on the outside looking in, for the second most losses in the league with 14. But because the Tigers played 27 games, more than any other team, their 13 wins are a better winning percentage than a Georgia Tech team with the same win-loss differential.

At the top of the conference, Louisville has lost two more games than they've won. That's the same amount as Florida State. But because the Seminoles played two less games, they lead the Atlantic Division. Then Miami, who has two more games played than FSU with two more wins, leads the conference. Looking back on the division race, FSU is missing two games because their weekend at BC was essentially cancelled. Louisville, meanwhile, lost two of three to the Eagles. There's ultimately your difference.

Ironically enough, for a team that dealt with so many weather issues at the beginning of the year, Boston College's played the second most games in the ACC while FSU's played the least. The Seminoles only have 20 games in the can so far, while BC's played 25 (second only to Clemson). So there goes the argument that northern baseball teams can't play games because of early season weather.

Looking at the league standings, things are incredibly weird. North Carolina is the 20th-ranked team in the nation with a 30-17 record, a lock to make the NCAA Tournament. But they're in 12th place right now, currently tied with Duke. There's a chance that they'll finish second to last in the league if they're not careful.

Clemson, despite having a better winning percentage than Georgia Tech, is actually further behind Miami than the Yellow Jackets because they've played more games. Based on the math, Clemson is actually 5.5 games behind, while GT is 4.5. That game difference comes from the fact that the Tigers played four more games than the Yellow Jackets and came away with a split record in those games.

The league is likely to get nine teams into the national tournament. Any of the top seven are locks - Miami, FSU, Louisville, NC State, Virginia, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. Wake Forest, even at 28-19, could probably lose their bid with an absolute disaster down the stretch but should get in. That makes eight.

Notre Dame still has a chance but needs to make a hard push through the last couple of weeks, which include games at North Carolina and at home against Clemson. If they can put up some good wins, they'll make a ninth team. That leaves open the door for a team to make the ACC Championship and make a run at getting the league a 10th seed.

Pittsburgh likely lost that chance. At 24-19 overall, they would need a pretty deep run to gain some more quality wins. That means the Panthers, who were a factor just a few short weeks ago, are likely out unless they make it into pool play and make some noise. Duke - same thing.

Boston College, though, has an interesting factor here. The Eagles hold series wins over Louisville, NC State, and Virginia - three of the top five teams in the league. They beat Wake Forest, adding a fourth team in the top eight. If they beat Georgia Tech for two out of three, the Eagles will finish one game under .500 in ACC play while having head-to-head series wins against more than half of the locked NCAA Tournament teams.

In all honesty, that may be enough to get BC an at-large bid into the tournament. Unfortunately for the Eagles, that also may be the only way into the ACC Championship. Since they're in 10th place, a few more wins would put them right around that 32-win mark predicted at the beginning of the season to be needed for the ACC playoffs. What we couldn't predict was how boom or bust it would really be.

With exams this week, the Eagles will play only two games this weekend against Niagara, before playing Maine next week. Then they'll head to Atlanta for the series finale with a Georgia Tech team that is incredibly beatable at this point. It boils down to its most simplest terms - win and you're into everything. Lose and you're likely on the outside looking in.

This is something that we'll look more into as the week progresses because there are obviously other ways for the Eagles to get in, and there are ways that they could still miss out on the field of 64 even if they do pick up wins. But the key from the beginning is to get into the ACC Championship, and if the conference wants a 10th team in the national dance, they're going to need to get it from Birdball.

Moving forward, the line to watch this weekend is .500. Boston College can finish anywhere from .393-.500 in league play, but that's next week. They still have games this weekend against Niagara. So we'll take a look at this week's games later in the week, go from there, and take it one step at a time.

Either way we slice it, it's a testament to the job by the coaching staff that's rebuilt this program to have them in the position that they're in. They had to weather a storm for a few years in order to build things back up, but now they're in the conversation, which is something anybody could've hoped for during the dark ages of 2012 and 2013.

Here are this week's standings. Schedule to come later this week with more breakdowns. Remember that "Games Behind" is an unofficial stat that I'm using to illustrate how close the teams are to one another and where the hypothetical logjam or bulge is in the standings. It's not what the ACC uses to determine anything.

Place Team Record Winning Percentage Overall Win-Loss Games Behind
C1) Miami 16-6 .727 36-9 --
A1) Florida State 14-6 .700 32-13 1.0
3) Louisville 16-8 .667 38-10 1.0
4) NC State 13-9 .591 32-14 3.0
5) Virginia 14-10 .583 31-17 3.0
6) Clemson 13-14 .481 31-16 5.5
7) Georgia Tech 11-12 .478 31-16 4.5
8) Wake Forest 11-13 .458 28-19 5.0
9) Notre Dame 10-12 .455 26-20 6.0
10) Boston College 11-14 .440 27-18 6.5
11) Pittsburgh 10-13 .435 24-19 6.5
T-12) North Carolina 10-14 .417 30-17 7.0
T-12) Duke 10-14 .417 27-20 7.0
14) Virginia Tech 5-19 .208 18-31 12.0