1. Clemson Tigers: The Tigers had a perfectly symmetrical game, scoring 14 points every quarter, defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks, 56-35. Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne led the Tigers offense to an astounding 744 yards. The defense surrendered an uncharacteristic 600 yards total offense to SC, including a 510-yard, five touchdown performance from South Carolina QB Jake Bentley. Clemson makes their fourth consecutive appearance at the ACC Championship game when they face off against Coastal champions Pittsburgh on December 1st.
2. Syracuse Orange: Eric Dungey passed for three TDs and ran for three TDs on the way to dismantling Boston College, 42-21. The Orange finish the regular season with a 6-2 conference record and a 9-3 overall record. This is the best performance by the Orange sine Dino Barbers took the program. Syracuse will be making their first post-season appearance since they defeated Minnesota in the 2014 Texas Bowl.
3. N.C. State Wolfpack: NCST needed overtime to do it, but they defeated UNC, 34-28. Running back Reggie Gallaspy II accounted for all five of the Wolfpack’s touchdowns while Qb Ryan Finley struggled to get the passing game going. This weekend the 8-3 ‘Pack will face East Carolina during a make up game to replace their canceled game against West Virginia.
4. Boston College Eagles: A.J. Dillon was marginalized, and the BC offense struggled with four turnovers while the defense was overwhelmed with ‘Cuse QB, Eric Dungey. The Eagles finish the regular season with a 4-4 conference record and a 7-5 overall record.
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Wake Forest destroyed Duke, 59-7, on their way to a sixth victory and bowl eligibility. Four different receivers caught touchdowns and the defense pitched in with a pick-six. QB Jamie Newman threw four TDs, but it was the ground game’s 340 yards and three TDs that set WF up for success. With the win the Demon Deacons are bowl-eligible for the third consecutive year.
6. Florida State Seminoles: The longest unrecognized bowl streak game to an end after the Florida Gators suffocated FSU, 41-14. Deondre Francois threw two picks and the offense only managed 291 total offensive yards. The Seminole defense struggled to stop big scoring plays with three Florida TDs of 20+ yards, including a 74-yard touchdown run. Willy Taggart and Florida State finish the season at 5-7 and will be watching the post season from the couch for the first time in 36 years.
7. Louisville Cardinals: The Kentucky Wildcats pummeled Louisville, 56-10. The season could not end fast enough for the Cardinals who finish the season completely defeated in conference play and an overall record of 2-10.
1. Pittsburgh Panthers: The best overall record in the Coastal is 7-5, and there are five teams with an overall record of 7-5. All four of last week’s top four teams, in the Coastal rankings, lost. This is the muddiest I have seen the division since I started writing for Gobbler Country. Pitt was soundly defeated by the Hurricanes, 24-3. The Panthers’ rushing attack was stonewalled and held to a measly 1.8 yards per rush for a total of 69 yards. It was a surprising lack of performance, but the result changes nothing for Pitt who will still face Clemson during the ACC Championship.
2. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: No surprises here, GT’s triple option attack didn’t work against the Georgia Bulldogs, and their attempt at a passing game fell flat. The Jackets only managed 219 total offensive yards on the way to a 45-21 loss. Georgia Tech finishes the regular season 7-5 overall and with a conference record of 5-3.
3. Virginia Cavaliers: The Hoos fell to the Hokies during the first overtime meeting between the programs, 34-21. This marks the 15th consecutive loss to VT. This loss seems to be particularly stinging for the program which has lost 19 of the last 20 meetings. The 2018 VT squad seems to be particularly vulnerable and this year looked to have a stronger UVA squad finally end the losing streak. If UVA wasn’t already in their heads about losing to VT they will be now.
4. Miami-Florida Hurricanes: Guess that victory over VT last week was the catalyst Miami needed to remember how to play football. The Hurricanes handled Pitt, almost shutting out the Panthers, improving to an overall record of 7-5 and 4-4 in the conference.
5. Duke Blue Devils: Duke was dominated in every facet of play by a fired-up Wake Forest team desperate for bowl eligibility. Daniel Jones and the Blue Devil offense committed four turnovers and only managed 251 total yards while the defense surrendered 517 to Wake.
6. Virginia Tech Hokies: The Hokies earned a thrilling overtime victory, renewing the winning streak over UVA and resuscitating VT’s shaky hopes of maintaining their bowl streak. Although the Hokies played with more passion and temerity than we have seen in recent weeks, the plagues of poor second half performances remained. After shutting the Hoos out during the first half the Hokies surrendered 31 points in the second half and needed OT to finish the job. The Hokies have scheduled a makeup home game against the Marshall Thundering Herd, an 8-3 squad that just missed their own conference championship game.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels: After only winning five games over the last two seasons UNC bid farewell to head coach Larry Fedora and re-hired Mack Brown. Brown previously coached the Tar Heels from 1988-1997. Brown resigned as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns back in 2013 and has been an ESPN analyst since then.
Overall Conference Rankings
1. (No. 2 AP / No. 2 Coaches) Clemson Tigers (12-0 / 8-0) – Static
2. (No. 18 / No. 18) Syracuse Orange (9-3 / 6-2) – Static
3. N.C. State Wolfpack (8-3 / 5-3) – Up One
4. Pittsburgh Panthers (7-5 / 6-2) – Down One
5. Boston College Eagles (7-5 / 4-4) – Static
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5 / 5-3) – Up One
7. Virginia Cavaliers (7-5 / 4-4) – Up One
8. Miami-Florida Hurricanes (7-5 / 4-4) – Up One
9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-6 / 3-5) – Up Two
10. Duke Blue Devils (7-5 / 3-5) – Down Four
11. Virginia Tech Hokies (5-6 / 4-4) – Up One
12. Florida State Seminoles (5-7 / 3-5) – Down Two
13. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-9 / 1-7) - Static
14. Louisville Cardinals (2-10 / 0-8) – Static