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Sunshine Stakes: Miami can inch closer to an ACC Championship Game berth

Miami's improbable 2012 season could include clinching ACC Championship Game berth on Saturday with a win and a Duke loss.

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Miami can all but clinch an ACC Championship Game berth today if things break right, UCF can solidify its shot at the Conference USA title game, and Florida needs to resuscitate its passing game. So it's a non-traditional big Saturday for Sunshine State teams.

Miami at Virginia, noon (ABC)

What's at stake? Miami really just needs to beat Duke in the final week of the season to be assured of an ACC Championship Game berth, but a victory over the Cavaliers could set the 'Canes up to clinch the Coastal Division if Georgia Tech beats Duke next Saturday.

If Miami wins: The 'Canes stay in the driver's seat for the Coastal Division. At 5-2 in conference, Miami would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Georgia Tech even with a loss, and could not tie with a Duke team with four conference losses.

If Miami loses: That Duke game becomes a must-win, and Miami can head into the final week of the season at 5-6 overall and still have a chance to win the ACC. What a world.

UCF at UTEP, 7 p.m.

What's at stake? UCF only needs two wins in its final three games to win Conference USA's East Division, and 2-7 UTEP presents a much easier task for the Knights, even on the road, than does Tulsa, next week's foe.

If UCF wins: UCF would improve to 8-2 overall and 6-0 in conference play, ensuring two win-and-you're-in games in the final two weeks of the season.

If UCF loses: UCF's still got to win out to win the East, unless East Carolina drops a gimme game.

Florida vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, 12:21 p.m. (SEC Network)

What's at stake? Florida's SEC hopes are entirely contingent on Auburn upsetting Georgia on Saturday night, so this one is for pride and quality of play only. The Gators will look to reboot a passing game that has been somewhere south of anemic for the past month against one of the nation's worst pass defenses.

If Florida wins: The Gators' 9-1 record still doesn't look great unless the Gators do. (And they should look good.)

If Florida loses: It would be Florida's first loss to a team outside a current BCS automatic qualifier conference since a 1987 loss to Memphis. (It's probably not gonna happen.)

Florida Atlantic at Western Kentucky, 1 p.m.

What's at stake? Florida Atlantic had a chance of going 6-6 after beating Troy for its first win over an FBS team two weeks ago, then allowed 24 straight points to Navy and kinda messed that up. Now, the Owls can only ruin seasons other than their own, which they've already done a bang-up job of wrecking.

If FAU wins: FAU is not winning this game.

When FAU loses: The Owls' final round in the Sunshine State Stupid-Off against Florida International, next week's head-to-head matchup, will feature two teams with 16 combined losses.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.