ATLANTA — Duke and Georgia Tech will report to Bobby Dodd Stadium as flawed teams with championship hopes.
After Saturday's game, one of the two teams will still have a shot at playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC) is coming off losses to Florida State and Clemson by the combined margin of 77 points. Even so, the Blue Devils control their fate in the ACC's Coastal Division race. If Duke wins Saturday and beats Miami next week, it will play in the Dec. 1 ACC championship game.
Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-3) has won two straight to re-emerge as a contender despite continued poor defense. The Yellow Jackets have allowed more than 40 points in five games, including last week's wild 68-50 win at North Carolina.
Each team sees the game as an unexpected opportunity.
"Anything can happen," said Duke coach David Cutcliffe. "You know, there's a lot of parity in our league and I'm just glad we are a part of it."
Georgia Tech's season appeared lost when it was 2-4 after three straight losses, including an embarrassing 49-28 home loss to Middle Tennessee State.
Instead, the Yellow Jackets could qualify for their 16th consecutive bowl by beating Duke. Georgia Tech still would need help from a Duke win over Miami (5-5, 4-3) next week for the Yellow Jackets to earn a spot in the ACC championship game.
Miami would win a tie-breaker with Georgia Tech, thanks to its 42-36 overtime win over the Yellow Jackets on Sept. 22, if each team finishes 5-3 in the league.
At least Georgia Tech has a shot.
"With the start we got off to this year, especially in the conference, we dug ourselves a huge hole," said coach Paul Johnson. "With all the things that have happened and the balance in the league, especially in our division, we've been able to come back."