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  1. Sports

Virginia loss gives Miami first Coastal title

MIAMI — No. 7 Miami got great news even before Saturday night's top-10 showdown with No. 3 Notre Dame kicked off.

Virginia's 38-21 loss to Louisville clinched the Hurricanes' first outright ACC Coastal Division title.

Regardless of what happened against the Fighting Irish — or what happens in the final two games against Virginia and Pitt — Miami will play No. 4 Clemson on Dec. 2 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. The Tigers secured their third consecutive Atlantic Division title with Saturday's 31-14 win over Florida State.

It will be Miami's first appearance in the conference title game since joining the conference in 2004. The Hurricanes tied for the Coastal title in 2012 but self-imposed a bowl ban as part of an NCAA investigation. Miami won or shared a part of nine Big East titles before switching leagues.

The Hurricanes have won six of their 10 previous matchups against Clemson.

The most recent matchup was one UM would like to forget: The 'Canes suffered a 58-0 home blowout loss on Oct. 24, 2015, and fired coach Al Golden the next day, paving the way for the Mark Richt hire that already has Miami in uncharted territory.

The Clemson matchup will be even bigger. The Tigers could be vying for a third consecutive trip to the College Football Playoff and a chance to defend the national title it won in Tampa last season.

Miami could still be in the mix for its first playoff appearance — and maybe its best shot at a national title since 2002.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

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