1. Clemson Tigers: Huh… well… uh… hmm… I don’t have much to say, except that it was a bad week to be ranked in the ACC. Clemson has been playing opponents to the ragged edge, over the last few weeks, and this time they could not overcome. The Panthers maintained their poor passing defense by allowing Deshaun Watson to complete 52 – 70, for 580 yards. He threw the ball 70 time. SEVENTY TIMES. Clemson also dominated time of possession by eight minutes, but they couldn’t run. They only had fifty yards on the ground. And, Watson threw three interceptions. And, Clemson allowed ten points in the last 5:30 of the fourth quarter. The touchdown, with 5:17 left, came off an interception. Next week the Tigers face a Wake Forest team that beat Louisville for three quarters.
2. Louisville Cardinals: After the upsets of multiple ranked teams earlier in the day, seeing the Demon Deacons up 12 – 3 at halftime must’ve been disconcerting for Louisville and their fans. The Cards scored 41 unanswered points in the second half, including a stupefying 34 in the fourth quarter. Clemson owns the tiebreaker for the Atlantic, but the Pitt loss does represent increased possibility of Louisville finding their way into the College Football Playoff. But first, they must face the Houston Cougars. Houston’s aspirations of busting the top four has dissolved, but that doesn’t mean they are not a very good team. The Cards cannot slip up.
3. Florida State Seminoles: In addition to Louisville the Seminoles were the only ranked ACC team to survive the weekend. Florida State became the latest team to beat up on the absolutely lost Eagles. Next week FSU faces Syracuse.
4. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Wow! Wake stymied the vaunted Louisville offense for three quarters. The Deacons held Jackson to his fewest yards passing on the season, but were unable to overcome the Louisville rushing attack. WF has another big test this weekend when they face Clemson. Considering their performance against the Cardinals they must be thinking they might be able to do what Pitt did, and knock of one of the Atlantic elite.
5. N.C. State Wolfpack: NCST collected the win over Syracuse and put themselves in a position to qualify for a bowl. It won’t be a simple matter considering their last two games are against Miami and UNC.
6. Syracuse Orange: Although mathematically alive the Orange took a huge blow to their bowl berth hopes when NCST dropped them, 35-20. Syracuse sits at 4-6, on the season, with their remaining matchups against Florida State and Pittsburgh it is unlikely they will be able to find their way into the post-season.
7. Boston College Eagles: The Eagles continue to suffer at the hands of their conference opponents, but hope springs eternal for BC. With winnable games against Connecticut and Wake Forest, Boston College’s bowl hopes remain alive.
1. Virginia Tech Hokies: The Hokies looked completely lost against GT’s second string offense and their questionable defense. The Yellow Jackets absolutely dominated time of possession, ran for 300+ yards, and dictated the game tempo. More importantly the Fighting Gobblers were their own worst enemy. VT self-destructed with several miscues, beginning with the fumbled kickoff return to start the game. The Hokies threw two picks and lost two fumbles. There seemed to be zero energy, for the Hokies, and at every turn VPI found themselves in a deeper hole than before. This season the Hokies have responded well to defeat. Despite the conference loss the Hokies still control their own destiny. It is still a win and in situation. We must keep the 2016 season in perspective. The Hokies have found themselves in a situation where the losses are few and far between and thus they are much more disappointing. Prior to the season many were concerned about the VT bowl streak. Here we are, with only two games remaining, and in the hunt for the ACC title. This season has already gone better than anyone anticipated, and we should be very excited about the potential of this coaching staff and team in the coming years. But first, he Hokies must face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who are desperately fighting to become bowl eligible.
2. North Carolina Tar Heels: UNC lost to a chippy in-state rival, and provided a cushion that the Hokies immediately cashed in. The Heels are still very much alive in the Coastal hunt, and will be rooting that the Hokies suffer the same fate against their in-state rivals, at the end of the year. UNC gets a breather this weekend when they host the Citadel.
3. Pittsburgh Panthers: Well when you throw for five touchdowns, like Pitt did, I guess you can allow the opposing quarterback to throw for 580 yards. The Panthers did their part to completely blow the CFB Rankings apart when they handed then No. 2 Clemson their first loss of the season. It might be easy to overlook, but Pitt has now beaten two of the top ten teams in the Playoff rankings. Don’t forget they beat Penn State early in the year. Every other loss they have, except for Miami, is by one score or less. The Panthers are now bowl qualified, and next face a Duke team that also punches harder than their seeming weight.
4. Miami-Florida Hurricanes: Miami easily handled UVA and qualified for a bowl. With their remaining schedule including NCST and Duke the ‘Canes must be thinking they can finish the season on a four-game winning streak.
5. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: A solid win for GT. They became the third team in the Coastal to qualify for a bowl, and earned a season defining victory. Next up the Jackets face the Cavaliers.
6. Duke Blue Devils: Duke defeated their in-state rival and kept their bowl hopes alive. With a solid showing in all three of their previous losses it is not a surprise that the chips finally fell in Duke’s favor. Next week the Blue Devil’s face off against another team coming off a big win over a ranked conference opponent when Pittsburgh comes to call.
7. Virginia Cavaliers: The Hoos fell to Miami and next face Georgia Tech. As is tradition, the Hokies and Cavaliers will close the regular season against one another during the Thanksgiving weekend. The last time UVA beat VT, George W. Bush, was still serving his first term as president. Nothing would make the Hoos happier than breaking that losing streak and likely removing VT from winning the Coastal.
Overall Rankings – Week Eleven
1. (No. 5 AP / No. 5 Coaches) Clemson Tigers
2. (No. 3 / No. 3) Louisville Cardinals
3. (No. 17 / No. 15) Florida State Seminoles
4. Virginia Tech Hokies
5. North Carolina Tar Heels
6. Pittsburgh Panthers
7. Miami-Florida Hurriecanes
8. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
10. N.C. State Wolfpack
11. Duke Blue Devils
12. Syracuse Orange
13. Virginia Cavaliers
14. Boston College Eagles