1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: The Clemson defense held Hartman to a single passing touchdown, his fewest since WF faced Norfolk State way back in week two. The Deacons were also held to a season low 36-yards rushing and allowed seven sacks. Wake got behind early, but a brutal third quarter that saw the Tigers outscore WF, 21-7, is what put the game out of reach. The Demon Deacons remain in control of their destiny. A win over Boston College this weekend will see them into the ACC Championship game for the first time since 2006.
2. NC State Wolfpack: Devin Leary and the Wolfpack punished Syracuse, 41-17. A 28-point second quarter saw the defense, special teams, and offense all score. The NCST defense held the Orange to a paltry 236 yards and allowed only 3 of 12 third down conversions. Next up the Wolfpack host UNC for their final game of the season.
3. Clemson Tigers: The Tigers scored their highest point total, and the defense held a vaunted offense in check on the way to their 13th straight win over Wake Forest. Clemson finally looked like an elite team and technically still alive in the Atlantic Hunt. If BC defeats WF and NCST loses to UNC the Tigers will sneak their way into the ACC Championship game.
4. Louisville Cardinals: Malik Cunningham detonated for 303 yards passing, 224 yards rushing, five passing TDs, and two more on the ground. The Cards were the latest ACC squad to devastate a completely overmatch Duke team. Louisville has a tough one this weekend against the Kentucky Wildcats.
5. Florida State Seminoles: After beating Miami last week by three points the Seminoles found another three-point victory over BC. FSU has won five of their last seven games and look to find bowl eligibility against an underperforming Florida Gators team.
6. Boston College Eagles: Their recovery with the return of QB Phil Jurkovec hit a snag when FSU got off to a quick start. Trailing 26-3 halfway through the third quarter, BC made a valiant comeback attempt, scoring three unanswered TDs and holding FSU scoreless. A fourth down interception at FSU’s 25-yard line ended the Eagles’ potential game winning drive. BC hosts Wake Forest this Saturday.
7. Syracuse Orange: Sean Tucker is now the Orange’s all-time leading rusher, but his 105-yards and TD on 13 attempts was nowhere near enough to stop the beating they suffered at the hands of NCST. After a season high of 236 yards in the air against VT, for the third time in a row the passing game failed to attain 100-yards. Saturday the Orange host the Panthers.
1. Pittsburgh Panthers: Pitt looked like a conference champion. After trailing 7-0 to start the second quarter, the Panthers scored 24-points before half-time. UVA tied it up early in the third quarter, but Kenny Pickett and the Pitt offense outpaced Armstrong and the prolific Cavalier passing game to win 48-38. After Wake’s struggles during the last three games the Panthers look like the best in the ACC. This weekend they travel to Chestnut hill looking to secure their first ten-win season since 2009.
2. Virginia Cavaliers: Well… Brennan Armstrong is back in the line-up after missing three weeks due to injury. If there was any concern that he would be missing a step that was quickly dissolved as he threw for 487 yards and three touchdowns. While the air attack looked stupefying the rushing attack was abysmal with only 27-yards on 24 carries (1.1 average YPC). This weekend they host a VT program that has seen the departure of their head coach and are well-positioned to recover the Commonwealth Cup they lost last year.
3. Miami Hurricanes: The ‘Canes earned bowl eligibility and Tyler Van Dyke had his fifth consecutive game of 300+ yards and multiple thrown TDs. Miami struggled to find life on the ground, but didn’t need it to defeat the Hokies, 38-26. Saturday, the Hurricanes look to win their fifth out of the last six games when they visit Duke to close out the regular season.
4. North Carolina Tar Heels: UNC beat Wofford. The End. This Friday they face-off against in-state rival NCST.
5. Virginia Tech Hokies: VT’s first game since former head coach Justin Fuente’s departure. Interim HC, J.C. Price, and the Hokies produced a valiant second half effort, but Van Dyke and the Miami WRs torched VT for multiple long scoring plays. Rivalry week takes place in Charlottesville this year and the return of Armstrong will make it tough for the Hokies to retain the Commonwealth Cup and earn bowl eligibility.
6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: GT has dropped five in a row. Most recently they suffered a 55-0 drubbing at the hands of the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Rivalry weekend is not going to be much kinder to the Jackets as they visit Athens and the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs.
7. Duke Blue Devils: After a 3-1 start the Blue Devils have dropped seven straight and all those losses have been by at least three scores. Duke has allowed 45+ points in their last five games and this established trend is unlikely to change against Miami.
1. (No. 17 CFB Playoff / No. 20 AP / No. 17 Coaches) Pittsburgh Panthers (9-2, 6-1 conf.) – Up One
2. (No. 18 / No. 21 / No. 21) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (9-2, 6-1) – Down One
3. (No. 20 / No. 24 / No. 24) NC State Wolfpack (8-3, 5-2) – Static
4. (No. 23 / unr. / unr.) Clemson Tigers (8-3, 6-2) – Static
5. Virginia Cavaliers (6-5, 4-3) – Static
6. Miami Hurricanes (6-5, 4-3) – Static
7. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-5, 3-4) – Up One
8. Louisville Cardinals (6-5, 4-4) – Up One
9. Florida State Seminoles (5-6, 4-4) – Up Three
10. Boston College Eagles (6-5, 2-5) – Down Three
11. Syracuse Orange (5-6, 2-5) – Down One
12. Virginia Tech Hokies (5-6, 3-4) – Down One
13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-8, 2-6) – Static
14. Duke Blue Devils (3-8, 0-7) – Static