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Update to the Update to the Update on ACC Scenarios

Update to the Update to the Update on ACC Scenarios

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

In an article earlier this week, I noted that there was one scenario that I did not know how to decipher.

In summary, I stated that the only way that Miami definitely wouldn’t win a 3-team tiebreaker is the scenario where the following results happened:

  1. UNC beats UVA.
  2. VT beats BC.
  3. GT beats Duke.
  4. UNC beats MD.
  5. UVA beats VT.
  6. Miami beats Duke.

And then there would be a 3-way tie for 1st, with a 3-way tie for 4th.  Except the tiebreaker to break those ties was actually just to see who was better against the highest ranked team outside of the tiebreaker.  But since both scenarios were waiting for the other tiebreaker to be broken, there was no way to proceed, and we were stuck in an infinite loop of circular logic.

Well, thanks to some actual reporting from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, who consulted with the Georgia Tech SID and with a representative from the ACC, we have some clarity.  For a refresher, here is the tiebreaker:

B. Three (or More) Team Tie
(Once tie has been reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker format is used)

  1. Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
  2. Records of the tied teams within the division.
  3. Head-to-head competition versus the team within the division with the best overall (divisional or conference) record, and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken first to last.
  4. Overall record for non-divisional teams.
  5. Combined record versus all common non-divisional teams.
  6. Record versus common non-divisional with the best overall Conference (divisional and non-divisional record) and proceeding through the other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within the division.
  7. The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the conclusion of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the ACC Championship Game.
  8. The representative shall be chosen by a draw.

The 3rd step is where both tiebreakers get stuck.  According to the AJC, and again, this is after consultation with the ACC so it should be solid, the 4th place tiebreaker would be broken first.  Now, remember, the only way that Miami does not make the ACC Championship Game is if they are in a 3-way tie with UNC and GT, AND if UVA finishes 4th.  And the only way for those 2 things to happen, with UVA playing UNC, is for the results I listed above to happen to force 2, 3-way ties.  Any other combination results in UNC, GT and UM not being in a 3-way tie OR UVA not finishing 4th.

So, assuming a 3-way tie for 1st and 4th, and based on the AJC’s reporting, the 4th place tie would be broken first.  Except that tie wouldn’t be broken until Step 7.  Yes, they can use “unranked” BCS standings.  Right now, Duke is 53, VT is 72, and UVA is 76.  Now, this tiebreaker involves Duke losing out, VT going 1-1 and UVA going 1-1.  UVA would have to jump Duke by more than 5 spots to finish 4th.  The AJC, as part of what was a thorough reporting job, consulted a BCS expert who said that this wouldn’t happen.  But, it is technically possible.  In short, Miami pretty much controls its own destiny, but if the 6 games that I listed above happen, AND UVA jumps Duke by more than 5 spots in the BCS, then GT would go instead of Miami.  Otherwise, Miami goes. 

Summary

The only way Miami does not make the ACC Championship game with a win over Duke is:

  1. UNC beats UVA.
  2. VT beats BC.
  3. GT beats Duke.
  4. UNC beats MD.
  5. UVA beats VT.
  6. UVA finishes more than 5 spots ahead of Duke in the BCS.

Go to AATU