1. Clemson Tigers: The Tigers had a week off to lick their wounds after the loss to Syracuse and the injury to Bryant. Next up Clemson hosts Georgia Tech.
2. N.C. State Wolfpack: NCST also had the week off. Their next two games are against top-10 squads. First, they travel to South Bend and face the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and then host the No. 7 Clemson Tigers.
3. Louisville Cardinals: After this weekend the ACC is extremely muddy in the middle. Last week the Cardinals were the first victim of what appears to be a resurgent BC offense. This week Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals did just enough to defeat a FSU team that seems to be coming apart at the seams. Next week holds a visit against a tough Wake Forest team that will be looking to make a statement.
4. Syracuse Orange: Syracuse followed their surprise upset of Clemson with a resolute effort against another top ten team. The Orange were in the game deep into the fourth quarter and it took another episode of late game heroics for Miami to put them away. Next week ‘Cuse is off, but will play an extremely mortal FSU squad the following weekend.
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: WF led for much of their game against GT, but two long Jacket TD runs late in the third and fourth quarters were too much for the Demon Deacons to overcome. Wake does not have an easy path to a bowl berth and still must face No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 14 NCST. Next week is something of a revenge tour for the Deacons when they host the Cardinals, one of the programs known to have benefited from last year’s Wakey Leaks scandal.
6. Boston College Eagles: Whoa! Consecutive 40+ point games by the Eagles is not something I would’ve expected after their anemic offensive effort against VT. QB Anthony Brown had a statement game, throwing for 275 yards and three TDs. Instead of UVA locking up a bowl berth BC now has two surprising conference wins that keep their post season hopes alive. A vulnerable Seminoles squad might serve up a third consecutive conference win next week.
7. Florida State Seminoles: Alright, the wheels have completely come off this team. The head coach is arguing with fans in the stands and their two wins are by only one score. FSU must win four of their last five games simply to qualify for a bowl. Based on their performance thus far the only guaranteed win is their penultimate match against Delaware State. Things are very bad in Tallahassee.
1. Miami-Florida Hurricanes: They aren’t winning pretty, but they are winning. How many fourth quarter wins do the ‘Canes have left in them? It’s hard to imagine the toothless Tar Heels presenting much of a barrier, but behind UNC looms the defending Coastal champions, Virginia Tech, and the surprising CFB Playoff contenders, Notre Dame.
2. Virginia Tech Hokies: The Hokies qualified for their 25th consecutive bowl with an absolute lambasting of North Carolina. Cam Phillips didn’t have as statistically impressive a game as he had earlier this season, but his five receptions were enough for him to take over as the program’s leader in all time receptions. During garbage time, when the second and third stringers were in, Coleman Fox again looked like the best RB on the team. The Hokies starters still struggled to establish a reliable ground game, and I wonder if we won’t see more of Fox as conference competition ramps up. Next week the Hokies host another team from NC when Duke comes to visit. The Blue Devils have struggled of late, but VT cannot get caught looking ahead to the Miami game.
3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: The Jackets finally earned a win over a respectable team when they defeated Wake Forest, 38-24. That being said… they are only two combined points from being 6-0 and in charge of the Coastal. GT has a brutal final stretch that features three games against ranked opponents. That starts next week with a trip to Clemson.
4. Virginia Cavaliers: That was sobering. I certainly did not expect UVA to get blown out at home by Boston College. The Hoos easily had their worst performance of the season. The defense allowed 512 yards and multiple long scoring plays of over 75 yards. Meanwhile, the Cavalier offense only mustered 247 yards and turned the ball over three times, including a pick six. Next up the Hoos look to earn a bowl for the first time in six years when they travel to Pitt.
5. Duke Blue Devils: After a quick 4-0 start Duke has struggled with conference play. The losses to FSU and UVA were close, but it seems that teams have figured out how to halt the Blue Devil’s offense. In their opening four wins Duke averaged 40.5 points. In their following four losses they have only averaged 13.5. Things look bleak for Duke next week when they face a VT defense that mauled UNC.
6. Pittsburgh Panthers: The Panthers earned their best victory of the season and have kept their dwindling bowl game hopes alive when they defeated Duke. Junior RB Darrin Hall had only touched the ball 31 times this season until this week. He gashed the Blue Devils for 254 yards and three TDs over 24 carries. Hmm… both Pitt and BC had offensive explosions from players… Perhaps they can both turn the corner in the last half of the season? That will be very difficult for Pitt. Next week the Panthers will need to start with a win over UVA, then UNC, and find an upset against either VT or Miami to get the six wins they need for a bowl.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels: The Tar Heels are the first ACC team to lose bowl eligibility when the Hokies played a football game while UNC was also on the field doing something else. North Carolina looked helpless everywhere. They allowed defensive, special teams, and offensive TDs. There didn’t seem to be anything for UNC to even build upon. Fedora will be in full rebuild mode, all the while VT is pillaging North Carolina recruits. After all that NCAA violations buffoonery there isn’t anyone not wearing Carolina Blue that feels bad for the Heels. Next week UNC hosts Miami. Maybe they can catch the ‘Canes looking ahead, but probably not.
1. (No. 7 AP / No. 7 Coaches) Clemson Tigers (6-1, 4-1 ACC) – Static
2. (No. 8 / No.8) Miami-Florida Hurricanes (6-0, 4-0 ACC) – Static
3. (No. 13 / No. 13) Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1, 2-1 ACC) – Static
4. (No. 14 / No. 15) N.C. State Wolfpack (6-1, 4-0 ACC) – Static
5. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-2, 3-1 ACC) – Up Three
6. Virginia Cavaliers (5-2, 2-1 ACC) – Down One
7. Louisville Cardinals (5-3, 2-3 ACC) – Up Four
8. Syracuse Orange (4-4, 2-2 ACC) – Down One
9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-3, 1-3 ACC) – Up One
10. Boston College Eagles (4-4, 2-3 ACC) – Up Two
11. Duke Blue Devils (4-4, 1-4 ACC) – Down One
12. Pittsburg Panthers (3-5, 1-2 ACC) – Up One
13. Florida State Seminoles (2-4, 2-3 ACC) – Down Seven
14. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-7, 0-5 ACC) – Static