No difference this year.
No. 10 Virginia Tech controls its fate in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while No. 20 Georgia Tech is in good shape though still needing a bit of help to get to the championship game.
But this much is clear: The winner of tonight’s game in Atlanta will take a major step toward claiming the Coastal Division title.
“You definitely have a leg up,” said Georgia Tech running back Roddy Jones. “In order to have that conversation, we have to win. So we’re approaching this as the biggest game of the year. It’s kind of like our championship game.”
That’s the way it’s been ever since the ACC split into a pair of six-team divisions in 2005. The team that comes out on top in this contest has gone on to win the division every time, with Virginia Tech taking four titles, Georgia Tech the other two.
The Hokies (8-1, 4-1 ACC) merely need to win out to take the crown and earn a spot in the Dec. 3 ACC championship game at Charlotte, N.C. The Yellow Jackets (7-2, 4-2) have to win their final two conference games and get a little assistance – Virginia would have to lose one more time in a closing stretch that includes a trip to Florida State and the season finale against its state rival.
At the moment, the Hokies are the only team that matters to Georgia Tech.
“Virginia Tech is always a great team,” Jones said. “Anytime you want to win the Coastal Division, you know you’re going to have a battle against them.”
Even before the season opener, Jones and his teammates took note of that prime-time contest late in the year.
“When we saw VT in November, we wanted to be in position where it was a big game and it mattered. It does,” Jones said. “It’s an elimination game. People want a playoff. Well, we’re kind of in a playoff format right now.”