1. Clemson Tigers: The Tigers have submitted three dominating victories since their close call against Syracuse. Their most recent performance was the devastation of FSU, 59-10. Trevor Lawrence went off for 314 yards and four TDs. The Clemson defense held the Seminoles to 247 total offensive yards, including an astounding -21 rushing yards. The Tigers will look to continue their domination of the ACC against Louisville this weekend.
2. Syracuse Orange: The Orange handed the ‘Pack their second consecutive loss during a shootout between Eric Dungey and Ryan Finley. Dungey threw for 411 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Strickland and DeVito also saw the field and the team combined for 480 total passing yards. With the win head coach Dino Babers has qualified for bowl eligibility for the first time during his tenure at Syracuse. Next week the Orange will face Wake Forest away.
3. N.C. State Wolfpack: NCST suffered their second consecutive loss when Syracuse defeated them 41-51. Ryan Finley threw for 473 yards, three TDs, and one INT, but it wasn’t enough to carry the Wolfpack. This weekend the ‘Pack will be off but will next look to secure bowl eligibility against Wake Forest.
4. Boston College Eagles: Well, that loss to Purdue doesn’t look so bad after the Boilermakers upset Ohio State. BC bolstered their resume when they defeated the Hurricanes, 27-14. This squad is simply a different team with A.J. Dillon on the field. Dillon rushed for 149 yards and a TD while the Eagle’s defense held the U scoreless during the second half. The victory places BC into bowl eligibility. Dillon and the Eagles must be licking their chops seeing how the Hokies rushing defense looked this past week against GT. BC invades Blacksburg on Saturday.
5. Florida State Seminoles: FSU looked to be stabilizing, but the first game of their five-game gauntlet was a savage beat down that made the Seminole’s rushing attack look inept. Cam Akers, once thought a dark horse Heisman candidate, was held to seven whole yards on 11 running attempts. Francois departed due to an injury and the Seminoles ended up suffering the worst home loss in program history. This weekend FSU travels to NCST for a game that they must win if they wish to maintain a realistic hope of earning bowl eligibility.
6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: The Deacons crushed a hapless Louisville squad, 56-35. Wake Forest RB, Matt Colburn, gashed Louisville for 243 yards and three TDs over 20 carries. As a team WF ran for 368 yards and five touchdowns. The Demon Deacons have four tough games remaining and it will be a challenge for the program to find the two wins necessary to qualify for a bowl.
7. Louisville Cardinals: Louisville is now the only ACC team without a conference win and seem to be in freefall. They are not technically removed from bowl contention, but their remaining schedule does not represent a realistic opportunity to gain eligibility. That slate includes No. 22 Syracuse, NCST, and No. 11 Kentucky. Before that gamut they must travel to South Carolina and face No. 2 Clemson.
1. Virginia Cavaliers: UNC showed the same chipiness that they have been demonstrating for the last two weeks but were unable to overcome Bryce Perkins and UVA. Perkins had a banner game completing 18 of 27 for 217 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. On the ground he added 112 yards and a score over 21 carries. Perkins continues to be a one-man show on the offense, but he is quite the show. With the win over UNC the Cavaliers have qualified for consecutive bowls for the first time since Darius the Great ruled over the Persian Achaemenid Empire. This Friday the Hoos face a Pitt squad that is simply better than I thought they would be. So much so that the UVA v Pitt game could have significant Coastal championship implications.
2. Miami-Florida Hurricanes: After Virginia the Coastal appears to be in the largest shambles it has ever demonstrated. Many of the teams have traded losses and have similar overall and conference records. BC ran all over the Miami defense and the Hurricanes look poised to suffer a second half season meltdown. Next week they host a Duke team that barely fell to the Panthers.
3. Pittsburgh Panthers: Over the last three weeks the Panthers have put together a resume that indicates they are on the rise entering the second half of the season. They defeated Syracuse, played an undefeated Notre Dame team to the bone at South Bend, and had a last second TD to defeat a solid Duke team. The Panthers earned a stupefying 484 yards on the ground. Pitt could really muddy the Coastal waters if they defeat the Hoos in Charlottesville.
4. Duke Blue Devils: Daniel Jones had a career day that saw him pass for 396 yards, four TDs, and zero INTs combined with Deon Jackson’s 162 yards on the ground fell just short when Pitt won the game off a last second TD, 45-54. The Blue Devils will travel to Coral Cables this weekend, in hopes of extending the Hurricanes’ woes and qualifying for bowl eligibility.
5. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: GT threw a singular pass, which fell incomplete, but executed the triple option well enough to crush Virginia Tech, 49-28. Backup QB Tobias Oliver racked up 215 yards and three TDs. The Jackets have a rough schedule ahead of them but will look to get one more game closer to bowl eligibility against UNC this weekend.
6. Virginia Tech Hokies: Justin Fuente has never defeated Georgia Tech, and this is the second time, during the 2018 season, that the Hokies were not only unable to manage a second-string quarterback, they were eviscerated by one. The Hokie defense habitually allowed long touchdown scoring drives while the offense was inept in the second half. This allowed GT to dominate time of possession 42:18 to 17:42. That ToP stat is ridiculous. One could watch two commercial free reruns of Seinfeld in the time GT owned the ball. Meanwhile, you couldn’t get through one Seinfeld rerun in the time the Hokies had the ball. The Hokies are in a precarious position. Every team remaining on the slate a legitimate threat. Based on their current level of performance the Hokies’ bowl streak and victory streak against UVA is in peril. The Fighting Gobblers face another robust rushing attack when A.J. Dillon and Boston College come calling this weekend.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels: Just as it happened last year UNC is dangerous in the second half of the season. Although they have only one win the team rarely quits and has kept the last three games in reach for the duration of regulation. Consistent miscues and mistakes have held the team back all season. UNC has a bye this weekend but they get a chance to earn another conference win, in two weeks, against GT.
Overall Conference Rankings
1. (No. 2 AP / No. 2 Coaches) Clemson Tigers (8-0 / 5-0) - Static
2. (No. 22 / No. 24) Syracuse Orange (6-2 / 3-2) - Up Three
3. (No. 23 / No. 22) Virginia Cavaliers (6-2 / 4-1) - Static
4. N.C. State Wolfpack (5-2 / 2-2) - Down Two
5. (No.24 / No. 25) Boston College Eagles (6-2 / 3-1) - Up Five
6. Miami-Florida Hurricanes (5-3 / 2-2) - Down Two
7. Pittsburgh Panthers (4-4 / 3-1) - Up Three
8. Duke Blue Devils (5-3 / 1-3) - Down One
9. Florida State Seminoles (4-4 / 2-4) - Static
10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-4 / 2-3) - Up Two
11. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-3 / 3-1) - Down Five
12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-4 / 1-3) - Down One
13. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-6 / 1-4) - Static
14. Louisville Cardinals (2-6 / 0-5) - Static