Coastal Division carrying the conference -- for now

Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich

Thank goodness for the ACC Coastal Division. It’s carrying the conference right now. Look at the teams that are still hanging around in the Associated Press Top 25 this week -- No. 13 Virginia Tech, No. 14 Georgia Tech, No. 20 Miami and No. 24 North Carolina.

It’s unfortunate those teams play each other so early. Before September is over, Miami will have played Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech will have played Miami and North Carolina. And Virginia Tech will have played Miami.

It’s a month for deciding late-season tiebreakers, and for the possibility of a new leader in the division -- and the conference -- to emerge. Of course, depending on how Miami fares, the Oct. 17 game between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will also play a large role in determining the division race.

It’s great for the conference to have four nationally ranked teams, but considering they all play each other early, how long will it last?

Meanwhile, Boston College is -- surprise -- atop the Atlantic Division standings. The Eagles got 19 votes in the Top 25 this week -- more than Clemson (10) and Florida State (1). Will they keep that spot? Not if Clemson plays the way it did in the second half against Georgia Tech. But Florida State’s flop against Jacksonville State (P.S., they won) gave way to reasonable doubt about who will be the best team in the Atlantic Division. Until those teams show marked improvement against legitimate BCS conference opponents, it’s fair to call the parity in that division mediocrity.

The toss-up in the Coastal Division, though, is shaping up to be more of what the conference coaches had intended -- improved teams that make for a deep competition. Yes, it’s still early -- only September -- but for the stronger Coastal Division, that’s the problem.