Precisely one game in the ACC mattered: Duke beat a resurgent UNC team - barely - to win the Coastal Division and punch their ticket to the conference championship game next week, wherein without intervention from either the Divine or Florida law enforcement officials, they will be turned to chutney by Florida State.
(Note: Duke fans, please don't even pretend to get upset here. Duke is a wonderful story and a much better team than anyone had a right to expect this year. But scraping past the Wake Forests and UNCs of the world - the same teams FSU beat by 50 or so - is indicative of a slight talent gap. Whatever happens in Charlotte, it's going to be ugly.)
But that's next week. Right now, Duke is an unprecedented 10-2, bowl-eligible for a second straight year, and on top of the world. They may even have managed to distract people from basketball for ten or fifteen minutes, if you can believe that.
FSU 37, Florida 7 - In retrospect, we should have started worrying about Florida right around the time Miami beat them. FSU caps off a regular season with a win over their biggest in-state rival, but it feels hollow with Florida being this bad. One gets the feeling FSU would be happy to hang around and wait until Florida got good, and then play again, just to make it feel right. This, incidentally, was the only win for an ACC team over a non-conference opponent all day.
Vanderbilt 23, Wake Forest 21 - In the battle of academic heavyweights, Vandy completed its own little Duke-style renaissance. That's four woulda-shoulda-coulda games for Wake, who hopefully will show a little more finishing power next year.
Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 34 - Speaking of finishing power, that's a double overtime loss to a Georgia team that Tech had on the ropes. Up 20, Tech took its foot off the gas, and ended up frittering the game away.
South Carolina 31, Clemson 17 - And while not quite a Clemsoning, this is still kind of embarrassing for the league - 1-3 in grudge match games is just kind of ugly.
Maryland 41, NCSU 21 - Did anyone not see this coming? Maryland might be mediocre, but the Pack's a long way from that. The Terps bid farewell to the ACC by stomping one of their regular tormentors, running up 34 points before the half.
Miami 41, Pitt 31 - The better team won. 'nuff said.
Virginia Tech 16, Virginia 6 - The better team won. 'nuff said.
Syracuse 34, Boston College 31 - The slightly worse team won, but only because the best player on the field hurt his hammy. And just like that, you can forget all that "Andre Williams, Heisman hopeful" talk. Players from big schools get to have bad games. Players from schools outside the charmed circle don't. And they certainly don't get to get hurt when the media's finally noticed them - that's just ungrateful.
And here ends the regular season, with nearly 40% of the conference sitting at either 6-6 or 7-5. That's a lot of bowl eligibility, but really, on the national level nothing matters - not Duke's remarkable run, not Clemson, not Miami's continued resurgence - except Florida State.