1. Clemson Tigers: The Tigers held on to defeat the Texas A&M Aggies, 28-26. Clemson looked sluggish but did just enough to come away from College Station with a controversial win. Going forward Dabo and company must address a running game that has provided subpar performances during the first two games of the season. There could be some concern regarding the secondary as Texas A&M QB, Kellen Mond, lit up the Tigers secondary to the tune of 430 yards and three touchdowns. Clemson scheduled themselves another cupcake next week when they host Georgia Southern.
2. Boston College Eagles: BC is currently tied with Syracuse for the most points scored in the ACC (117). The Eagles looked how an elite offense should when it faces a squad like Holy Cross. AJ Dillon ran for 169 yards and three TDs, on six attempts, as Boston College cruised to a 62-14 win. BC and WF face off this Thursday as both teams open their ACC play.
3. N.C. State Wolfpack: NCST defeated Georgia State, 41-7, but don’t let that score impress you. The ‘Pack were deep into the third quarter before they were able to put the Panthers away. For the second week in a row the Wolfpack rushing game has looked pedestrian. 115 total yards on the ground came from 31 attempts. 39 of those yards came from one play, late in the fourth quarter. Next week N.C. State will have their hands full when they host the No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers.
4. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: WF defeated Towson, 51-20, improving to 2-0 on the season. The Deacons’ young QB, Sam Hartman, lost a fumble and tossed an interception, but continued to show promise going 17/27 for 242 yards and two TDs. The running game seemed to find its legs with Cade Carney contributing 130 yards and a TD on the way to the team’s 340 rushing yards. Thursday night Wake Forest will host Boston College in a game that will likely influence who will be the best of the rest, after Clemson.
5. Syracuse Orange: Eric Dungey threw five TDs and the Orange easily dispatched Wagner, 62-10. Syracuse will host FSU on Saturday. The Seminoles look very vulnerable, and a win would do much to help Syracuse end their bowl-game drought. In fact, I think Syracuse might just beat the brakes off Florida State.
6. Florida State Seminoles: FSU was losing to the Samford Bulldogs until the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. The Seminoles were never able to establish a solid ground game and were reliant on some late game heroics to finally lift them past the Bulldogs. After the shellacking they suffered at the hands of the Hokies and a close call to an FCS foe, the Willie Taggart era is off to a rocky start. Based on the play demonstrated in the first two games the Seminoles bowl streak could be in jeopardy. There is a lot of talent and athleticism on the field, but this is not a good team. It would not be surprising, at all, if FSU falls to the Orange on Saturday.
7. Louisville Cardinals: The Cardinals defeated Indiana State, 31-7, but the Cardinals are still struggling to figure out what sort of team they are without Lamar Jackson. Backup QB Malik Cunningham could start to provide some answers. During his time at QB he went 6/7 for 75 yards and a TD, while on the ground he also scored and ran for 54 yards. Louisville was still sloppy on offense, fumbling three times (losing one) and tossing an interception. Defensively it is hard to assess if LOU has improved on the porous unit they fielded last season. The Cardinals should collect their second win next week when they face Western Kentucky.
1. Virginia Tech Hokies: VT dominated William and Mary, defeating the Tribe 62-17. The Hokies offense largely looked solid, but the center-quarterback exchange woes continued as did the fumblitis. Against competition like W&M such miscues aren’t as costly, but FBS competition like Notre Dame and Miami will punish the Hokies for being that disordered. Hazelton and Grimsley both had banner days with Hazelton earning his first 100-yard game with VPI. Virginia Tech established a strong running attack that collected 305 yards and seven touchdowns. Next up the Hokies host the East Carolina Pirates. ECU just beat up on UNC, but also lost to North Carolina A&T the week prior. Virginia Tech must not take ECU lightly, but should have no problem improving to 3-0.
2. Duke Blue Devils: Duke collected a solid, 21-7, road win over the Northwestern Wildcats to improve to 2-0! But, tragedy has struck, and QB Daniel Jones is out indefinitely with a broken collar bone. Additionally, they lost their best DB, Mark Gilbert, for the season. Through the first two games of the season Jones has completed 29/39 for 389 yards, four TDs, and no interceptions. How well Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils respond to Jones’ absence will likely dictate their bowl eligibility and whether they stay up here in the rankings. Next week Duke faces the Baylor Bears, which should be a winnable game for the Blue Devils.
3. Miami-Florida Hurricanes: The ‘Canes set a program margin of victory record when they blanked the Savanah State Tigers, 77-0. This week Miami will face the Toledo Rockets and surely improve to 2-1.
4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Easily the most exciting game played in the ACC this past week. GT fought valiantly, but a fourth quarter surge by the South Florida Bulls carried them to a 38-49 win. The triple option worked well, and the Jackets ran for 419 yards, four TDs, and dominated possession 35:32. Critical turnovers, including a red zone fumble, and an inability to halt the USF offense in the fourth quarter cost GT the game. Next up the Yellow Jackets will face a reeling Pitt team.
5. Pittsburgh Panthers: The Panthers were able to hang with the Penn State Nittany Lions for the first half before PSU took off and defeated Pitt, 6-51. Four total fumbles (two lost) and an interception did much to stymie Pitt’s efforts. The Panther’s passing game was anemic, generating only 55 yards on 18 attempts, but they were able to establish a decent rushing attack with 245 yards and their only TD. Next week Pitt will have their hands full with the triple option attack of GT.
6. Virginia Cavaliers: Well, history repeated itself and UVA failed to deliver against Indiana for two years in a row. Bronco and his staff need to figure out how to help QB Bryce Perkins on offense. Perkins was 229 yards of UVA’s 294 total yards. Next up UVA hosts Ohio.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels: Ooh boy… things are not going well for Larry Fedora and UNC. After losing to North Carolina A&T, ECU socked North Carolina in the mouth, 19-41. Life gets worse when the Heels host No. 18 UCF on Saturday. 0-3 is all but assured.
Overall Conference Rankings
1. (No. 2 AP / No. 2 Coaches) Clemson Tigers (2-0)
2. (No. 13 / No. 11) Virginia Tech Hokies (2-0)
3. Boston College Eagles (2-0)
4. Duke Blue Devils (2-0)
5. N.C. State Wolfpack (2-0)
6. (No. 21 / No. 20) Miami-Florida Hurricanes (1-1)
7. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-0)
8. Syracuse Orange (2-0)
9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1)
10. Florida State Seminoles (1-1)
11. Pittsburgh Panthers (1-1)
12. Louisville Cardinals (1-1)
13. Virginia Cavaliers (1-1)
14. North Carolina Tar Heels (0-2)