1. Clemson Tigers:
The No.6 Tigers jumped FSU as the highest nationally ranked ACC team after their exciting defeat of Notre Dame. Clemson played their most complete game to date against ND, and also provided the ACC with the conference's highest quality win this season. With this weekend’s victory Clemson has placed themselves firmly in the CFB Playoff discussion and are the ACC’s major hope for representation in the playoff.
FSU continues to win, but a single score victory over a historically weak Wake Forest team does not provide much confidence. They are not providing convincing wins, but they are winning and remain the only undefeated team besides Clemson. The November 7 matchup against the Tigers stands as the most important internal ACC matchup on the calendar.
There is not a team in the FBS that wants to play Louisville. Since their 0-3 start they have won two. Petrino has made a decision in the QB-go-round that plagued the Cardinals, and as a result has finally provided a semblance of consistency and expectation for the team. Their victory over Samford is to be expected, but their win over the previously undefeated Wolfpack provides evidence that they are one of the better teams in the ACC, despite their lackluster start. Clemson is certainly glad that their matchup against the Cardinals is a reality of the past. Remember, Clemson barely escaped Louisville with a three point victory.
4. Syracuse Orange:
The Orange was static this week. They are 3-1, but that loss happened against a dangerous No. 7 LSU team, and it was only a ten point deficit. Syracuse has yet to generate a quality win, but they have demonstrated an ability to play heads up against a top ten team that features, arguably, the best player in college football.
The Wolfpack finally had to face a team that was not either scraping the bottom of the FBS or was not an FCS team either this year or last year. Last year N.C. State cruised to a 4-0 start also, until they were faced with a legitimate FCS challenge.
Their game against the Blue Devils was legitimately a coin toss. Nobody is surprised that it was a defensive battle that ended with a baseball score, 7-9. But, the Eagles lost. Their defense, as is the case with many ACC teams, is legitimate. But, until they can muster up the shadow of an offense they will not be a threat in the Atlantic.
WF out-ran and out-passed the former National Champions, but the Seminoles won the turnover battle. It is much more likely that FSU is not as good as people think vice Wake Forest being better than people think. The Demon Deacons have not had a quality win, but the teams they have lost to have shown they are good. Indiana, Syracuse, and Florida State represent all three of the losses WF has endured. Indiana just played Ohio State to the end of regulation. See above for the details concerning the Orange’s performance against LSU, and FSU. Wake Forest has not been blown out by any of these teams, and the largest deficit they have endured is a 13 point loss to Syracuse.
1. Duke Blue Devils:
The Coastal, as was predicted in preseason, is a complete crap shoot. This week… the Blue Devils look the best. They beat BC in a defensive fight. The Eagles have a fantastic defense, but Duke out-defensed them… couple that with the Coastal’s former elite team’s dedication to losing… and this is what you have. This week… the Blue Devils are better. Their offense is still questionable, but there isn’t a team in the Coastal that does not have significant questions on offense. At this point the Coastal is fighting to find out who will lose to Clemson in the ACC Championship game.
They might have the best defense in the ACC. They have a questionable offense, but they certainly have talent on their offense. Boyd is an extremely talented receiver, and one of the best in all of the ACC. Yeah, Conner is out, but Ollison is no joke, and he is young. Anyone want to deal with him in two years? Nope. They have a big game against Notre Dame, in November, followed by an extremely important ACC Coastal matchup against Duke. That matchup against the Blue Devils could be a decider for the Coastal title. Their only loss is a close game against an undefeated No. 22 Iowa team who just beat the then 19th ranked Wisconsin Badgers.
They are the most recent team to defeat Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels are a few self-imposed errors in their season opener against South Carolina from being 5-0. This team is one to watch. It is difficult to really speak for UNC because GT has lost three in a row, and looks to be in a complete freefall, so it is difficult to argue that they have a quality win. As a result… they get to be number three in the Coastal. BUT, their potential to be good also provides their ability to be number three. They play Pitt at the end of October, and that game will be a true test and allow us to start hashing out the reality of the ACC Coastal.
It seems that the last game’s fourth quarter Hurricanes team decided to show up this weekend. Yeah, they traded the lead with Cincinnati a few times, but in the end they lost by 11 points, to a team that lost to Memphis and Temple. Both Temple and Memphis are undefeated, so maybe that is not much of an implication. The ‘Canes only quality win is against the Nebraska, who they barely escaped from after allowing 23 points in the fourth quarter. Miami is inconsistent. They are certainly dangerous, but you just do not know which team will show up.
VT and GT were the favored teams to win the Coastal. Neither has even come close to living up to the hype. Three teams, in a row, have been able to stop the triple option of the Yellow Jackets. The failure of the Jackets and the Hokies are a major reason why the ACC Coastal division is wide open.
VT has only beaten two teams. One is an FCS squad and the other is a one win FBS team. This weekend Pitt again exposed the Hokies inability to stop the run or run against a team. The Panther’s waltzed into Blacksburg and treated it like it was a home game. The Hokies are in a fiery nose dive, and every ACC team they face on the remainder of their schedule is a threat. Without some significant changes, the team’s impressive bowl streak is in certain jeopardy. As it stands now, based on performance, Virginia’s two premier football squads will be battling it out for who is in the basement of, not only the Coastal, but the ACC as a whole.
UVA did not have to play this week, and were afforded the ability to lick their wounds after being completely dominated by Boise State. Their only win is a close match against FCS squad, William and Mary. London is coaching for his job right now, and UVA owns the worst record in the entirety of the ACC. Their next match is a home game against Syracuse.
Total Conference Rankings:
1. Clemson Tigers (4-0) – won this week against Notre Dame
2. Florida State Seminoles(4-0) – won this week against Wake Forest
3. Duke Blue Devils (4-1) – won this week against Boston College
4. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-1) – won this week against Virginia Tech
5. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-1) – won this week against Georgia Tech
6. Louisville Cardinals (2-3) – won this week against N.C. State
7. Syracuse Orange (3-1) – did not play this week
8. Miami-Florida Hurricanes (3-1) – lost this week to Cincinnati
9. N.C. State Wolfpack (4-1) – lost this week to Louisville
10. Boston College Eagles (3-2) – lost this week to Duke
11. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-3) – lost this week to UNC
12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-3) – lost this week to FSU
13. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-3) – lost this week to Pittsburgh
14. Virginia Cavaliers (1-3) – did not play this week