1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: It was a close game all the way until the final whistle, but WF won the turnover battle and managed to escape the Cardinals, 37-34. Sam Hartman had his first 300-yard passing game, throwing for 324 yards, two TDs, and one INT. The Demon Deacons remain firmly in control of the Atlantic and will look to tighten their grip on the conference next week when they visit Syracuse.
2. NC State Wolfpack: NCST narrowly avoided a hangover upset against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech is a deceptive team. All three of their losses are by single scores, including a 35-34 loss to the Mississippi State team that just upset Texas A&M. So, the close game isn’t necessarily indicative of a deficiency in NCST. The Wolfpack are on a bye this weekend.
3. Clemson Tigers: The Tigers managed to win, but like all of Clemson’s victories this year it was close and ugly. BC was driving and in scoring position on Clemson’s 11 yard-line when they fumbled. The Tigers defense kept them in the game, taking the ball from the Eagles three times. Clemson collects a much-needed bye-week and hopes to fix the offensive woes that are plaguing them.
4. Boston College Eagles: QB Dennis Grosel threw 40 times, completing 23 passes for an impressive 311 yards, but failed to complete any TDs and tossed two costly interceptions that Clemson converted into the two field goals that carried them to victory. BC’s offensive line was regularly dominated, allowing four sacks, six QB hurries, and nine tackles for a loss. The Eagles also get a bye week.
5. Louisville Cardinals: QB Malik Cunningham went off and accounted for all four of the Cardinal TDs, throwing for two and running for another pair. Like Hartman, whom he was playing against, Cunningham collected his first 300-yard passing game of the season, completing 73.1% of his passes for 309 yards, the two TDs, and no INTs. This weekend the Cardinals host the Cavaliers, both of whom need to win if they hope to keep their ACC hopes alive.
6. Syracuse Orange: The Orange lost a close one, 33-30 against FSU. Both Syracuse RBs eclipsed 100-yards on the ground with Garrett Shrader marking an impressive 137 yards on 16 carries (8.6-yard average) and three scores. The Orange face their toughest foe yet when No. 19 Wake Forest comes calling.
7. Florida State Seminoles: It took a 34-yard field goal as time expired for FSU to earn their first win of the season. QB Jordan Travis was their leading rusher offering 113 yards on 19 rushes, which is good because he only averaged 4.1 yards per completion on his way to a very pedestrian passing total of 131 yards. This weekend FSU visits Chapel Hill to face Sam Howell and the explosive UNC offense.
1. Pittsburgh Panthers: If the Panthers had not inexplicably dropped a game to Western Michigan, I would rank them higher than Wake Forest. QB Kenny Pickett had his third consecutive 300-yard game, raining fire and brimstone on a GT defense that held Sam Howell in check just the week before. Pickett completed 23 of 36 for 389 yards, four TDs, and zero INTs, on their way to blasting GT, 52-21. Like VT, Pitt controls their own destiny in the Coastal. The Panthers are on a bye.
2. Virginia Tech Hokies: VT was idle this weekend but have not looked anywhere near as dangerous as Pitt all season.
3. North Carolina Tar Heels: UNC responded to their surprise loss to GT by devastating their in-state rival Duke, 38-7. Sam Howell provided his fourth consecutive 300-yard game, hitting 321 yards on 18 of 32 passes and throwing three TDs and no INTs. The North Carolina defense harried Duke with five sacks, an INT, and a fumble recovery. The Tar Heels host the Seminoles this weekend.
4. Virginia Cavaliers: The Hoos looked commanding during the first quarter, but then allowed Miami to stay in the game. The Cavaliers only escaped a Hurricanes walk-off win because of a missed 33-yard field goal by Miami kicker Andres Borregales. UVA QB, Brennan Armstrong, was finally held to mortal passing numbers throwing for only 268 yards, one TD, and one INT. Next week Virginia must contend with all that is Malik Jackson and the Cardinals.
5. Duke Blue Devils: The Duke defense had an impressive five sacks and ten tackles for loss, but suffered from allowing big scoring plays, including TDs of 75 yards and 63 yards. A scoop and score fumble didn’t help the Blue Devils’ either. This weekend Duke hopes to return to their winning ways when they host the surprisingly dangerous Yellow Jackets.
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: After a dominant performance against pre-season Coastal darlings, North Carolina, the Yellow Jackets returned to earth as Kenny Pickett and the Pittsburgh offense pummeled them for 52 points. GT will be looking to prove that their win over UNC wasn’t just a fluke when they face another NC team, Duke, this weekend.
7. Miami Hurricanes: Manny Diaz’s seat must be feeling warm right now. That pesky win over a Power Five foe continues to escape the Hurricanes. Miami is on a much-needed bye this weekend as they try to figure out what is wrong in Coral Gables.
1. (No. 20 AP / No. 20 Coaches) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-0, 3-0 conf.)
2. (No. 23 / No. 22) NC State Wolfpack (4-1, 1-0)
3. (Unr. / No. 21) Clemson Tigers (3-2, 2-1)
4. Pittsburgh Panthers (4-1, 1-0)
5. Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1, 1-0)
6. Boston College Eagles (4-1, 0-1)
7. Louisville Cardinals (3-2, 1-1)
8. North Carolina Tar Heels (3-2, 2-2)
9. Virginia Cavaliers (3-2, 1-2)
10. Syracuse Orange (3-2, 0-1)
11. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-3, 1-2)
12. Duke Blue Devils (3-2, 0-1)
13. Miami Hurricanes (2-3, 0-1)
14. Florida State Seminoles (1-4, 1-2)