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UNC Now is your place for Tar Heel sports. Beat writer Andrew Carter has up-to-the-minute news and analysis. Columnist Luke DeCock also contributes. Follow us on Twitter at @_andrewcarter or @accnow.

Where UNC stands in the Coastal Division race

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UNC would stand a good chance to play for the ACC championship if the Tar Heels were eligible for it. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — Now we know that North Carolina can’t represent the Coastal Division in the ACC championship game. We also know that even if the Tar Heels finish first in the Coastal, the league won’t recognize them as the official divisional champion.

Which is too bad, because entering the final month of the season UNC is – or would have been, I suppose – in a good position to win the division. With four weekends left in the regular season, the Coastal is wide open. Five teams, including UNC, are within a game of one another in the league standings.

Here’s a look at those standings:

Duke – 3-2, 2-1
North Carolina – 3-2, 2-1
Miami – 3-2, 1-1
Virginia Tech – 2-2, 2-1
Georgia Tech – 2-3, 1-2

And here’s a look at the remaining ACC schedules for each of those five teams, with the conference records for opponents in parentheses:

Duke
Clemson (4-1)
at Georgia Tech (2-3)
Miami (3-2)
Combined ACC record of remaining opponents: 9-6

North Carolina
Georgia Tech (2-3)
at Virginia (0-4)
Maryland (2-2)
Combined ACC record of remaining opponents: 4-9

Miami
Virginia Tech (2-2)
at Virginia (0-4)
at Duke (3-2)
Combined ACC record of remaining opponents: 5-8

Virginia Tech
at Miami (3-2)
Florida State (5-1)
at Boston College (1-4)
Virginia (0-4)
Combined ACC record of remaining opponents: 9-11

Georgia Tech
at Maryland (2-2)
at North Carolina (3-2)
Duke (3-2)
Combined ACC record of remaining opponents: 8-6

Judging by the remaining schedules, Duke has the most difficult road ahead, followed by Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Miami and UNC. The Tar Heels are likely to be the only Coastal Division team favored in all of their remaining conference games.

Here’s my guess at how the conference race finishes …

Duke – loses to both Clemson and Miami but beats Georgia Tech to finish 4-4.
UNC – loses to either Georgia Tech or Virginia but beats Maryland to finish 5-3.
Miami – loses to Virginia Tech but beats Virginia and Duke to finish 5-3.
Virginia Tech – loses to Florida State but beats Miami, Boston College and Virginia to finish 5-3
Georgia Tech – beats either Maryland or UNC but loses to Duke to finish 4-4.

So that would leave UNC, Miami and Virginia Tech all tied at 5-3. And, of course, the Tar Heels beat both the Hurricanes and Hokies, which means that UNC – if it were eligible – would go to Charlotte to play for the conference championship.

The unknown in all this is how the Tar Heels will handle the fact that they can’t play in the postseason. Motivation hasn’t been a problem all season for UNC but it’s fair to wonder if it will become an issue entering the final month. Especially given the Heels just played – and won – their most important game.

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Agree with

Agree with Surfer. 

Finishing 9-3 would be a great set up for next season. Nice recruiting advantage and adds excitment in the anticipation of next season.

Navy blue is not the same as Duke Blue. It is obvious to those of us who have been around the block. This color has been apart of NC since,..... where are those fact checkers when you need them?

unc uniforms

 

this is silly I know, but do any of the UNC faithful ever comment on the unis the Tar Heels wear? I thought Duke was navy blue and white but UNC wears navy blue now and then. Huh? doesnt that irritate UNC folks? apparently not . I get the helmets, a Nike thing. I cannot see other teams wearing their rivals colors but this is the ACC.

TerryinTarboro

Relax and breathe easy.

Terry,

The Dookies where Royal Blue. Head down to B's and get me a sammich - no slaw.

The navy blue that UNC wore

The navy blue that UNC wore on Saturday isn't close to Duke blue. UNC has worn navy plenty of times before. Again, it's not similar to the royal blue that Duke wears. 

scenario

So your scenario puts VT in the ACC championship game, no surprise there. Yes, State was an important game esp. since they had won the last few, etc..... but the victory bell is now the wrong color, that game was disappointing. Motivation should not be a problem, the fact that the end is known, should make them all the more motivated in my mind.

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About the blogger

Andrew Carter is the University of North Carolina beat writer for the News & Observer.
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