Another unpredictable weekend in the ACC brought some big upsets (UNC/FSU) and plenty of movement in the power rankings. Still, the most embarrassing loss of the week was not Georgia Tech’s demolition at the hands of Clemson. No, that honor goes to Syracuse, who lost to Liberty, a team that had never beaten a Power 5 team before. With that in mind, here’s this week’s rankings.
1. Clemson (5-0)
WIN – Georgia Tech (73-7)
What can I write here about Clemson that hasn’t already been said? Clemson went to Atlanta with 80 players and used 79 of them to blew out the Yellow Jackets. Shame on Dabo for not getting an banged-up D.J Uiagalelei on the field so he could have fun with his buds.
2. Notre Dame (4-0)
WIN – Louisville (12-7)
The ACC-interloper has slid into sole possession of second place in the conference. They did so with a lack-luster performance against Louisville. There is good and bad here. The good: Holding a good Louisville offense to 7 points. The bad: Scoring 12 points against a bad Louisville defense. The Irish are in a good spot in the standings but trending down on a weekly basis. Are they frauds? It remains to be seen.
3. Miami (4-1)
WIN – Pitt (31-19)
A nice bounce back win for the Hurricanes. Manny Diaz said that this team was different and wouldn’t fold after a loss. They certainly did not on Saturday against Pitt. They handled the back up QB well but struggles on offense, save a few pop passes for big touchdowns. The Hurricanes showed resolve and should be better for it as the season progresses.
4. North Carolina (3-1)
LOSS – FSU (31-28)
The Tarheels got themselves in to a 24 point hold and could never recover. The team has lots of talent on offense but they were overmatched by a sloppy yet talented FSU team in Tallahassee. But the ACCCG is still the goal and there is no time to feel sorry for themselves as the Tarheels have a big challenge in NCSU Saturday.
5. Virginia Tech (3-1)
WIN – Boston College (40-14)
VT paid no attention to the BC hype coming in to the game. After playing it close until midway through the third quarter, Tech opened it up in the second half and didn’t look back. The Hokies have seemed to have found their stride at an important time where they can position themselves at the top of the conference. Who knows, a few big wins down the stretch and they could be talking playoffs. Their best football in in front of them.
6. NC State (4-1)
WIN – Duke (31-20)
The Wolfpack were really surging, and then the Devin Leary injury happened. There is a noticeable difference with him under center, and since the second half of the VT game the NCST offense has been on fire. State holds down the sixth spot out of respect for what has been done so far, but it will be interesting to see if they can stay there with the current QB situation. Calling this Saturday’s game “huge” would be an understatement.
7. Boston College (3-2)
LOSS – Va. Tech (40-14)
Phil Jurkovec piled up a ton of yards passing Saturday but he turned it over three times in addition to two more Eagles turnovers. BC can correct those mistakes and have a winnable game Saturday against GT. They are a top 7 team in the conference.
8. Pittsburgh (3-3)
LOSS – Miami (31-19)
I’d like to rank the Panthers lower, but the teams behind them in the rankings just can’t give me a reason to do so. Pitt hung tight against Miami with 15 TFL’s and four sacks. But a backup QB and dropped passes spelled doom for Pitt. Pitt largely held D’Eriq King in check but just couldn’t put the ball in the endzone. Pitt has a big opportunity Saturday but has given us little reason to believe they can win.
9. Wake Forest (2-2)
WIN – Virginia (40-23)
Wake Forest came out and earned their first ACC win by throttling Virginia. I wasn’t impressed by the Campbell win but this one caught me eye which is why Wake was the biggest riser this week. A win next week against VT would see the Deacs shoot up the chart.
10. Georgia Tech (2-2)
LOSS – Clemson (73-7)
I’m not going to fault Georgia Tech for getting lambasted by the No. 1 team in the country. It’s year two of the Geoff Collins’ experiment, and you’re going to have major ups with major downs. No fault here, but no movement in the rankings either.
11. Florida State (1-3)
WIN – UNC (31-28)
FSU showed that they are capable of winning any game on any given Saturday when they shocked UNC this week. Do you think those folks in Tallahassee forgot when UNC’s kicker ran across the field doing the tomahawk chop 2016? Nope, definitely not. They are going to savor this one until the two teams meet again in roughly six years.
12. Virginia (1-3)
LOSS – Wake Forest (40-23)
Lindell Stone did his best for fill in for Brennan Armstrong but that wasn’t enough to pull out the W against Wake. It doesn’t get any easier over the next two weeks as the ‘Hoos travel to Miami then host the Tar Heels. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has a reasonably talented team, but without a QB they are a little lost. Keep your eye on the concussion protocol in Charlottesville.
13. Duke (1-4)
LOSS – NC State (31-20)
Duke continues to fight and you can never rule them out. But that’s about the highest praise I can give him. Basketball practice began this week and every Duke alum has shifted their attention to the hardwood.
14. Louisville (1-4)
LOSS – Notre Dame (12-7)
This team is too good to be in the 14th spot, but being winless in conference play speaks more than talent on paper. It hasn’t been easy for the Cardinals but a home win against Florida State would be a good first step in the right direction.
15. Syracuse (1-4)
LOSS – Liberty (38-21)
I know this is a Syracuse blog… but man is it hard to find some positive things to say about the Orange. Losing at home to Liberty is a tough pill to swallow and it firmly cements the Orange in the cellar this week. Is there another win left on the schedule? You would be hard pressed to find one. But it’s not all bad, perhaps Syracuse got a firsthand look at their next coach with Hugh Freeze being in town and now they get to see the No. 1 team in the country on local broadcast.