Chaos in the ACC

Ryan Moreland · June 25, 2024


By: Daniel Gunn (@DanielGunn)

It can be argued that the Atlantic Coast Conference is the most competitive conference in the CFSL this season (not best, just most competitive). 5 of 6 teams are currently sitting with 2 conference wins. North Carolina separated themselves this season with a 4-0 conference record and clinched the ACC title with last week’s 51-48 victory over Miami.

This brings us to the showdown at 6:30 PM CST tomorrow on Twitch where the Clemson Tigers are traveling to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels. This game is the final puzzle piece to determine the final 2 automatic bids from the ACC. Let’s break down the scenarios…

If Clemson Wins

This is simple. Clemson wins, and they lock themselves into the second automatic playoff bid from the ACC. A win vs UNC will get them to a 3-2 conference record, separating them from the rest of the pack.

Now the fun starts. We have 4 teams tied at 2-3 in the conference battling for the 3rd and final automatic playoff spot. That means the tiebreaker will be Point Differential vs Common Conference Opponents. The Miami Hurricanes will claim the final spot with a +35 Point Differential in ACC play. Their 20+ point victories over Notre Dame and Syracuse are what separates them from the rest of the ACC contenders vying for an automatic bid. Here is how the conference standings will look if Clemson wins.

RankTeamConference RecordPoint Differential within Conference (if needed)
1North Carolina4-0
4Florida State2-3-4
5Notre Dame2-3-34

If Clemson Losses

In the scenario, the ACC will have 5 teams tied with a 2-3 conference record with 2 spots available for an automatic bid. This outcome will be determined by the same criteria as before, it all comes down to Point Differential vs Common Conference Opponents. Conference Record, Head-to-Head, and Record vs Common Conference Opponents are a wash.

This means that the Miami Hurricanes will get the 2nd spot in the ACC with their +35 PD in conference play. Coming into their game against UNC, Clemson is currently at a -4 Point Differential against ACC opponents, which is tied with Florida St. for 3rd highest in the conference. The only problem for Clemson is that FSU has already played their final ACC game. So, if Clemson loses (even by 1 point), the Florida St. Seminoles will earn the 3rd and final automatic bid in the ACC with their -4 PD.

Here is what the standings would look like if Clemson loses:

RankTeamConference RecordPoint Differential within Conference (if needed)
1North Carolina4-0
3Florida State2-3-4
5Notre Dame2-3-34

We don’t know what Clemson’s final point differential will be until after they play on Wednesday. But if they lose to North Carolina by less than 30 then they will keep 4th place in the conference. However, they could potentially fall to last if they are blown out.

Hope this clears everything up for the wild finish we are going to have in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Clemson vs UNC has a ton riding on it for Miami, Clemson, and Florida St and where they finish in the conference. Unfortunately, Syracuse and Notre Dame have both been eliminated from finishing in the Top-3 in the conference. That does not mean they can’t still earn the vote-in with dominating performances in their Week 8 matchups.


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