College football is littered with haves and have-nots.  The elite have to answer to lofty expectations while the dregs count down the calendar for Thanksgiving and wonder what sort of bad hire to expect next.  But then there are the schools that are neither high nor low– a middle path that includes more than a few travelers from the ACC.  With two weeks to play in the regular season, nine of the twelve schools in the  league are within one game of .500.  The moods range from excitement at Duke (A BOWL!), to bewilderment at Virginia Tech (six losses for the first time since Bush 41 was in office), to agony at Maryland (“If only we hadn’t lost 5 quarterbacks, our top defender, plus our leading rusher and receiver…”), to impatience at Virginia (“I thought we were DONE!?  You mean we can’t just move on to hoops?).


While the Atlantic Division will be over this weekend (Florida St. wins with a victory at Maryland or a Clemson loss to NC State;  Clemson needs to beat the Wolfpack and for the Seminoles to stumble in College Park– no smirking), the Coastal appears to be a rugby scrum (the six schools are a combined 30-30) where four schools can take the Division outright… and I’m still looking into tie-breakers that keep Virginia & Virginia Tech alive.  North Carolina can’t play in the postseason while Miami could elect to skip December as well (don’t you love self-imposed sanctions)… and we could have a 6-6 Georgia Tech playing 11-1 Florida State or Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.  Can you say Reagan-Mondale 1984?


Virginia vs North Carolina– while the Cavaliers are the hottest team in the division (two straight wins will do that in this collection of schools staggering to the finish line)… the Tar Heels have dropped two of three to keep the ACC from the embarrassing situation facing the Big Ten: “Yes, they won the division but are ineligible” (I would have re-aligned the Leaders and Legends for this year only to separate Ohio State and Penn State… keeping 5 eligible schools in each division).  While the Cavaliers offense has come to life (33 and 41 points the last two weeks)… the Tar Heel defense has faded while allowing 40 points a game over the last month.  Kippy and Buffy even plan on breaking out a bottle Orrin Swift Prisoner zinfandel.  Cavaliers keep themselves in the conversation with a 38-30 victory.


Rest of picks tomorrow…