Like many FSU fans, I, too, have been curious as to possibilities of the ACC Championship Game, and the implications of the possible opponents. Of course, the Seminoles have a very big stepping stone to cross in Blacksburg on Thursday, and I don't mean for any of us to get ahead of ourselves, but hey – it's a bye week, and we all want some FSU food for thought, right? I don't pretend to be any kind of expert on any of this, I'm just an average fan writing completely from speculation, although I believe my speculation is based on what I consider common sense and logic, though I may very well be wrong, and am definitely open to your point of view.
Thursday night's game between VPI and fIvE rAnGz U seemed to spark some debate in the game thread here on TN about who we should pull for. Both sides made perfect sense, and I can definitely appreciate both perspectives. One side felt that since FSU plays both teams, there is really no impact on FSU's SOS, and that a losing Miami benefits FSU in recruiting, and also that Miami is a syphilitic whore, so we love to watch her suffer. As a third-generation life-long Seminole of 30+ years, I can completely appreciate this perspective. On the other side, some felt that beating Miami twice in one season is more satisfying than having them lose to VPI. Again, I can appreciate the appeal here as well.
Before anyone slams me for implying the Seminoles could have a chance at the BCS Championship Game, I realize that most likely won't happen. However, we do want the team to finish as highly ranked as possible right? That benefits recruiting, which in turn helps championship odds in the future, right? I came to the conclusion, though, that Miami winning the Coastal Division would be more beneficial to the Seminoles in the long run. Allow me to explain. If Miami were to win the Coastal Division this year, it would be, for the most part, due in significant part to a cosmic alignment of cluster-f@#kery in the Coastal Division of epic proportions that we haven't seen since......well, the Atlantic Division in the not-too-distant past. How much attention is paid by the human voters to the competition in either division of the ACC? Whatever eyes or interest there has been were most likely on FSU and Clemson this year. Everything else has been SEC, Big XII, and PAC. Even a lame year in B1G has more national attention than most of the ACC. Urban Meyer and Ohio State have had more attention than most of the ACC, and they can't even participate in post-season play. Anyone who doesn't have a vested interest in the ACC probably hasn't paid much attention to Miami's actual performance. If they've heard anything about the Coastal Division, it's most likely how horrible VPI is, or how weak the Coastal is that Duke was in competition for the division.
The truth is that FSU does NOT need to play Duke again in the ACCCG. I'm sorry, but if Florida State beats Duke in the ACCCG, it will be a punchline. Not so much a slight against FSU, but it certainly won't help any. It furthers the negative opinion everyone has of the ACC (myself included). To a similar extent, Florida State beating this ludicrous VPI in the ACCCG will be a joke as well. They have brought attention to themselves in how horrible they are. They have already become a joke. They have embarrassed themselves and the conference. But Miami.......if Miami were to creep up against the odds, well that might just be a halfway respectable game. I believe Miami looks best to casual viewers and human voters because if Miami wins, they did it against the odds, they defied everyone's expectations and put together a somewhat competitive team with everything in the world stacked against them. They also carry that name-brand recognition that causes this against-the-odds scenario to work for Miami, while it would be a joke for Duke to win the division.
As for reaping the benefits of a down Miami, I don't really believe it would make much of a difference if they win their division. They would still have lost twice to the Seminoles in a season (four times in three years). I would assume that would outweigh any benefit of a Coastal Division title, or playing in the ACCCG. I am also in agreement with many that Miami is only going further down before coming back up, and the NCAA hammer will counteract any benefit of exposure or division title.
Another benefit is with the record books. FSU is still 25-31 all-time against Miami (losing records to BOTH in-state rivals). FiVe RaNgZ U has been able to hold that over FSU's head for years. The quickest way to change that is beating them multiple times in a year (especially when they're down). Of course, I suppose the NCAA could strip up to seven of those wins away from Da U in the not-too-distant future.
There was another record I have been considering this season. That one concerns a record that Bobby Bowden and a few FSU legends set that was in jeopardy of being matched or beaten by Frank Beamer and VPI. VPI didn't need any more ten-win seasons. That belongs to Bobby. Also considering VPI, FSU's rightful place is at the top of the ACC. For a while, VPI was the team to beat in the conference. That needs to end for FSU to rightfully reclaim it's seat as the hands-down best. VPI needs to take a step back and get used to playing second-fiddle. Time for them to learn what it felt like to be Clemson in the '90s.
The other benefit is national interest and television ratings. As we all know, Miami fans suck, but nationally FSU and Miami still, for the most part, bring viewers. Maybe not as many as in the past, but it's decent. Perhaps it would be much more for the conference championship game. The ACCCG doesn't usually generate a lot of viewers. I think nationally people are tired of seeing VPI, even VPI vs FSU, for that matter. FSU vs Duke? Forget it. Obviously the better ratings, the better exposure, and perhaps somewhat interesting ACCCG match-ups may generate more money for Swofford to leave on the table. That exposure will only benefit FSU, even if Miami is getting exposure as well.