Through 10 weeks of the 2008 campaign, the ACC title race is extraordinarily wide open.
Entering today, each division had its own "hot" team sitting comfortably in first place, as both Florida State (Atlantic) and Virginia (Coastal) were riding four-game winning streaks. Then the day kicked off.
No. 16 Florida State trailed Georgia Tech by 11 points in the fourth quarter, but the Seminoles made a torrid comeback attempt. After scoring a touchdown (and an accompanying two-point conversion) with six minutes remaining, FSU immediately got the ball back with an interception on the first play of Georgia Tech's ensuing drive. The 'Noles proceeded to drive the ball to Tech's 3-yard line with just over a minute left, but fullback Marcus Sims fumbled into the end zone and the Yellow Jackets recovered, preserving the 31-28 win.
With a second conference loss, Florida State dropped into a tie with Wake Forest (which downed Duke, 33-30) for second place in the Atlantic Division, a half-game behind idle Maryland. On the other hand, Georgia Tech jumped into first place in the Coastal Division, thanks to the events that occurred in Virginia-Miami ...
Virginia's defense shut down Miami for most of the day, and the Cavaliers held a 17-10 lead halfway through the fourth quarter. But behind backup QB Jacory Harris, Miami produced a 15-play, 95-yard scoring drive to tie it up with 55 seconds left. The game went to overtime, and Miami scored on the first possession with a nine-yard TD pass from Harris to Aldarius Johnson. The 'Canes stripped Cedric Peerman on the first play of Virginia's ensuing possession, giving Miami a thrilling 24-17 win.
As mentioned before, Virginia's loss gives Georgia Tech a half-game lead in the Coastal, but the Yellow Jackets have no room for error -- Tech is one of five division teams with two conference losses.
Confused? Just take a quick glance at the standings:
To make a long story short, there are still eight teams realistically vying for a spot in the ACC title game: Maryland, Wake Forest and Florida State in the Atlantic; Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech and North Carolina in the Coastal. Basically, we've got ourselves a four-week season in the ACC. And it begins next Thursday with Virginia Tech-Maryland.