Week 8 of the college football season is coming up and the University of Pittsburgh Panthers are getting a much needed week off. While the Panthers are enjoying their only bye week of the season, there are still a few interesting games being played in the ACC. Some of these games can have huge impact on Pitt’s season, so the fans are still going to have a lot of interesting football to watch this week even without their favorite team playing.
With Virginia Tech rolling over Miami last night, the chances of full Coastal Chaos are slightly diminished. Miami is now 1-3 in the division with three straight losses, and at this point are only looking to make a bowl game. Virginia Tech now sits upon the top of the Coastal with the head-to-head edge over North Carolina and no losses in the division. The game at Heinz Field next Thursday could be their de facto clincher, as their remaining ACC games are at Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia.
The other three ACC games played this week will all take place on Saturday afternoon. The most important of these three games is the matchup between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Virginia Cavaliers. The Tar Heels are tied with Virginia Tech at the top of the Coastal Division. Since Pitt lost a very close game to North Carolina earlier this season, they can only advance to the ACC Championship Game by finishing the season with a better record than the Tar Heels. North Carolina has to lose at least one more game this season if Pitt wants to win the division, so it might as well happen this week against Virginia. The Cavaliers are not a very good football team, so it will take a great performance to knock off North Carolina. It is worth noting that North Carolina has only two wins by double digits this season. As much as they were preseason darlings, they have not been that consistent.
The other two ACC games this week are among teams in the Atlantic Division, so they do not have that much impact on the Pitt Panthers. The game between Syracuse and Boston College has very little impact on the entire conference since both teams are sitting at the bottom of the ACC standings. NC State will also be going on the road to face Louisville this Saturday. While it does not directly alter Pitt’s season, fans should be rooting for a Louisville victory. The ACC will look like a much stronger conference if they have two teams in the top 10 of the rankings. This can’t happen if Louisville, led by Florida native Lamar Jackson, loses to NC State. A strong conference will give Pitt a much better bowl game if they are unable to win the Conference Championship game.