Miami and Clemson clinch berths in ACC championship game

Before No. 7 Miami even stepped on the field against No. 3 Notre Dame on Saturday, the Hurricanes took care another piece of business.

Thanks to Louisville’s win over Virginia, Miami clinched the ACC Coastal and a spot in the ACC Championship, where it will face Clemson. The Tigers locked up the ACC Atlantic after knocking off Florida State. The title game could very well determine which ACC team gets a spot in the College Football Playoff. The two will face off at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on December 2nd.

Coming off a national title last year, it was expected that Clemson would still be dominant, but no one knew just how quickly it could reload. Well, switching from quarterback Deshaun Watson to Kelly Bryant has been mostly seamless and the Tigers’ defense is just as good as it was a year ago.

Miami’s quick march to the ACC Coastal title has been a bit unexpected. The Canes have taken advantage of weaker-than-expected Florida State and Duke teams while getting out to an 8-0 start. After escaping close calls against Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Syracuse, Miami had its best performance of the season in last weekend’s win over Virginia Tech.

Those close calls are the reason why the undefeated Canes aren’t in the top five — but they have a chance to continue their climb up the rankings Saturday night against the Irish.

Clemson will look to win its third straight ACC title while Miami is making its first appearance in the championship since joining the conference in 2004.

Second-year Miami head coach Mark Richt has led the Hurricanes to an 8-0 start and the school’s first appearance in the ACC Championship (AP Photo).

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!