Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Maryland won without playing. The Terps are in sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division and can be considered the frontrunner because they are the only team in the division without a loss to a division opponent. In fact, the Terps are 3-0 against the Atlantic Division, and would win the tiebreaker over Wake Forest if need be. Georgia Tech helped the Terps by beating Florida State, which lost its share of the division lead. Maryland will play in a hostile environment Thursday night at Lane Stadium, but a loss would be more damaging to the Hokies than it would the Terps. Boston College is now on the outside looking in.
The Coastal is chaos. Miami's win over Virginia threw it all out of whack. While that's great for the Hurricanes, there are now five teams each with two conference losses. While Virginia Tech remains the only team without a Coastal Division loss, that won't matter if the Hokies lose to Maryland -- or anyone else for that matter -- and other teams finish with a better conference record. The upcoming game between North Carolina and Georgia Tech will be very interesting, especially considering both teams have lost to the same opponents -- Virginia and Virginia Tech. This division is more than likely going to need the tiebreaker.
Miami and Georgia Tech are officially ahead of schedule. Never mind that both teams had new defensive coordinators coming into this season, or that Georgia Tech was in its first year under Paul Johnson and Miami in its second under Randy Shannon. Does anyone realize how many freshmen made key plays this weekend for both of these teams? Miami freshman quarterback Jacory Harris threw the game-tying pass to freshman Laron Byrd and freshman Aldarius Johnson caught the pass for the lead in overtime. In Atlanta, Georgia Tech would have lost had it not been for two true freshmen defenders determined to get the football on Florida State's final possession, and after the ankle injury to Josh Nesbitt, they were led by a freshman quarterback. Both programs became bowl bound by Nov. 1 and are equally in the mix for the ACC championship.
Wake Forest has an offense. Offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke should have silenced some critics this weekend. The Deacs' 33 points were the most they had scored since their 41-13 season-opening win against Baylor. It was the most points Wake has scored against an ACC opponent this season. The Deacs were averaging just 8.5 points and had scored just two touchdowns in four ACC games. They also cured their red zone woes. Wake Forest entered the Duke game 11th in the ACC in red zone success, scoring on 18 of 25 trips. The Deacons improved that mark by scoring on three of four trips inside the red zone.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney can win on the road in the ACC. He even got the Gatorade bath to prove it. With the win over Boston College, Swinney avoided becoming the first Clemson coach ever to start his career 0-2. The question now is whether it was the start of a turnaround, and the Tigers figured out how to win games, or if it was an anomaly in a season filled with disappointing trends. If it was the beginning of some serious change, then Swinney will get some serious consideration to keep his job. If not, he won't. That simple.