Before we explore the rankings, I must say this has been one of the most disappointing college football weekends I’ve experienced, as a Hokie fan and for the ACC. It is tough to be a fan right now.
1. Clemson Tigers: The Tigers looked absolutely unprepared and lost for the majority of their game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. All phases were a meltdown, and the game was nowhere as close as the 35-14 score might indicate. As a conference the ACC has lost control of its College Football Playoff destiny. Even with the loss, Clemson secured the Atlantic title because of another disappointing ranked ACC team loss. Next week Clemson faces a Cardinals squad riding a four-game winning streak.
2. NC State Wolfpack: True freshman QB, MJ Morris, out gunned Sam Hartman, handing Wake their second consecutive loss, 30-21. Morris threw three TDs while the NCST defense picked off Hartman three times and held WF to a paltry 17-yards rushing on 25 carries. Must be nice to have such depth. Next week the Wolfpack hosts BC.
3. Louisville Cardinals: Things start to get muddy for the Atlantic now. Louisville, Wake, ‘Cuse, and FSU all have an argument for this spot, but I think the Cardinals are playing slightly better football than the other three with back-to-back wins against decent teams with winning records. The Cardinals defense held the upstart Dukes to 193 total yards while Cunningham threw for three TDs. Louisville must be thinking they can add to Clemson’s woes this weekend.
4. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Sam Hartman and that WF offense looked pedestrian for the second week in a row. Yes, NCST has one of the best defenses in the country, but getting outgunned completely, by a true freshmen QB on his second start, is painful (as we well know). Next week’s game against UNC has the potential to be quite the shootout.
5. Florida State Seminoles: FSU does have a win over Louisville but that was week three and I wonder how the game would result if it was played now. Anyway, the Seminoles made Miami question their entire decision-making paradigm, defeating the ‘Canes, 45-3. The defense held Miami to 188 total yards, including only 62 passing yards. The Seminoles visit the Orange this weekend.
6. Syracuse Orange: The Orange get this week’s “What the hell?” loss in the conference. A Pitt team that had lost three of their last four, somehow shut down everything Syracuse had, only allowing the Orange 145 total yards. FSU will look to extend Syracuse’s losing streak to four games.
7. Boston College Eagles: The only team that might be more hapless than the Hokies. BC didn’t have starting QB, Phil Jurcovek, due to a knee injury and freshmen, Emmett Morehead, showed up and immediately looked better than Jurcovek had all year. Morehead threw for 330-yards and four TDs, but it wasn’t enough to take down the Blue Devils. BC next visits NCST.
1. North Carolina Tar Heels: UNC had a close call against UVA but held on to win 31-28. WR, Josh Downs, had a banner day with 166-yards and a TD while QB, Drake Maye, made plays with his arm and legs. Next week’s probable shootout, against Wake, should be fun to watch.
2. Duke Blue Devils: First year head coach, Mike Elko, continued to demonstrate how one should operate as a first-year head coach and Duke earned bowl eligibility with a hard-fought win over BC. Dual threat QB, Riley Leonard, will look to increase VT’s woes, on Saturday.
3. Pittsburgh Panthers: Pitt broke their losing streak with win over Syracuse. The Pitt defense gets most of the credit, holding the Orange to only field goals and 145 total yards. QB, Kedon Slovis, has a passing touchdown drought that is now four games long. This Saturday the Panthers visit the Hoos.
4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: True freshmen QB, Zach Pyron, found himself during the fourth quarter of the Jacket’s comeback victory over the Hokies. GT must be licking their chops when they look at hosting the Hurricanes this Saturday.
5. Miami Hurricanes: If there’s an ACC squad more disappointing than VT, it is the Hurricanes. Remember when Manny Diaz had Miami looking lethal during the last seven games of last year? You can be sure the fans do. Miami could easily find themselves on the couch, with the Hokies, during bowl season.
6. Virginia Cavaliers: UVA almost pulled the upset against UNC when they found a rushing attack that featured four TDs. The Hoos host the Panthers.
7. Virginia Tech Hapless Hokies: Whatever dude.
1. (No. 10 CFBP / No. 12 AP / No. 12 Coaches) Clemson Tigers (8-1, 8-0 ACC)
2. (No.15 / No. 15 / No. 14) North Carolina Tar Heels (8-1, 5-0)
3. (No. 16 / No. 17 / No. 16) NC State Wolfpack (7-2, 3-2)
4. Louisville Cardinals (6-3, 4-3)
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-3, 2-3)
6. (No. 23 / No. 15 / Unr.) Florida State Seminoles (6-3, 4-3)
7. Syracuse Orange (6-3, 3-2)
8. Duke Blue Devils (6-3, 3-2)
9. Pittsburgh Panthers (5-4, 2-3)
10. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-5, 3-3)
11. Miami Hurricanes (4-5, 2-3)
12. Virginia Cavaliers (3-6, 1-5)
13. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-7, 1-5)
14. Boston College Eagles (2-7, 1-5)