Atlantic Division on the line

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- If NC State beats Maryland here today, the Wolfpack will play Virginia Tech for the ACC title. If not, Florida State will win the Atlantic Division. The Terps' can only play the role of spoiler today after playing their way out of the division race with last week's loss to Florida State.

This game already has a different vibe to it than last week's. The crowd isn't likely to be as good, in large part because the students are off for Thanksgiving break, there's no "blackout," and, well, Maryland is out of the Atlantic Division race.

It's biting cold, windy, the tailgating scene is lacking, and College Park is missing the buzz of a game that carries such significant weight in the outcome of the season. This is NC State's game to lose, and Tom O'Brien has lost it before. When he enters a regular-season conference finale with a .500 record or better, he's 0-4, according to D1scourse.com. Maryland, however, has had its own troubles in November. Since 2005, the Terps are 1-10 in the final two games of the regular season. The lone victory was against NC State in 2007.

Somebody here today has to close out the season with a win. Only NC State, though, can close it with a championship game appearance.