When: 12:00 ET
Why it matters: For the sanity of the ACC rules committee, or whoever sifts through the division tiebreaker scenarios. If Duke wins on Saturday, it would create a four-way tie in the Coastal division, assuming Virginia Tech and Miami both win.
Should Duke win, here would be each of those four teams’ record against the other three:
Miami – beat Georgia Tech, lost to Virginia Tech, faces Duke next week
Virginia Tech – beat Miami, Duke, lost to Georgia Tech
Duke – beat Georgia Tech, lost to Virginia Tech, faces Miami next week
Georgia Tech- beat Virginia Tech, lost to Duke, Miami
Obviously, with Duke and Miami squaring off next week, the tie would only last one week, but it would spin the heads of championship game forecasters wildly.
On a simpler note, the Yellow Jackets can clinch the Coastal with a win. After falling in the third game of the season to Miami, the Jackets have not looked back since, and have an opportunity to be rewarded for their efforts with the win.
Duke will not go quietly, however. Until last week’s 19-6 loss to North Carolina, the Blue Devil offense was a passing juggernaut. Just ask NC State or Virginia Tech how good Thaddeus Lewis is.
The Georgia Tech defense is not on the same level as UNC’s, so expect Lewis to return to form this week.
Player to watch: Demaryius Thomas is averaging 27 yards per catch for Georgia Tech. Every time the Jackets need a big play in the passing game, it’s no secret who the ball is going to. How’s this for a stat: Tech has completed 54 passes this season; 37 of them have gone to Thomas.
Duke is severely undersized at cornerback, making it hard to stop the 6’3’’ Thomas in jump-ball situations. If he makes big plays like usual, the Blue Devils will be hard-pressed to stay in the game.
Who has the edge?
Until the last two weeks, the Jackets’ defense seemed to have said goodbye to their early-season struggles. Then Vanderbilt and Wake Forest put up 31 and 27 points, respectively on them.
Duke’s offense is a different animal than both the Commodores and Demon Deacons. Lewis must be on top of his game for the Blue Devils to have a shot.
Duke’s defense has not allowed more than 28 points since Sept. 19. It will need to control the Jacket running attack, as well as keep them from making big, momentum-building plays to take control of the game.
There is a mystique surrounding Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham that plays to their advantage. Unlike most schools in the ACC, Duke does not pack its home stadium on a weekly basis. Even with the magnitude of this game, it is unlikely the Jackets will face a raucous crowd on Saturday.
However, with an empty feeling in the stadium can often suck the life out of visiting opponents. That environment could be a key in keeping the Jackets from winning the Coastal title on Saturday.