1. Clemson (5-0, won over Georgia Tech 43-24)
The Tigers look like the real deal. They continue to separate themselves from the rest of the ACC and rise in the AP poll this week they beatdown a Georgia Tech that’s in a freefall. The final deficit of 19 points was closer than the game felt, with Clemson leading by as much as 30 in the second half. The defense has been remarkable considering how much they lost after last season
2. Florida State (5-0, won over Miami 29-24)
You’re going to have to blow out the Seminoles if you intend to beat them. The bend but don’t break mentality of last year’s team appears to have carried over to this year’s as they once again found an excuse to win this week. Dalvin Cook is really good at football. The Noles get Louisville at home next week.
3. Duke (5-1, won at Army 44-3)
Duke cracked the AP poll this week at number 25 with their destruction of Army. The defense was strong once again, holding the Knights well under 200 yards of offense. The Blue Devils play the other four teams capable of winning the Coastal in their next four games
4. UNC (4-1, Bye
UNC was off this week so they hold steady at number four for now. They get Wake at home next week
5. Pittsburgh (4-1, won over Virginia 26-19)
The Panthers are quietly sitting at 4-1 and 2-0 in the ACC after this week’s win. Their only loss came on a game winning field goal to an unbeaten Iowa team. They travel to Georgia Tech next week in a game that is looking increasingly winnable. Perhaps Pitt is a team to watch in the Coastal.
6. Louisville (2-3, Bye)
The top six teams this week are identical to last week, and the Cardinals round them after their bye week. They travel to Florida State next week
7. Miami (3-2, lost at Florida State 24-29)
The Canes took it on the chin early at Florida State, but absorbed their best punch and nearly left Tallahassee with a win. For the second straight year though, Miami lost to a Florida State team they definitely could have beaten. Last year the loss doomed the Canes in their following games. This year must be significantly different, because they get Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Duke next.
8. Virginia Tech (3-3, won over NC State 28-13)
Virginia Tech had to have this game to have a realistic shot at the Coastal, and they got it. The Hokies offense suddenly found life in the second quarter, where Brenden Motley tossed three touchdown passes. The second quarter ended up being enough to win, but a 59 yard touchdown run in the fourth stamped and sealed the game.
9. Georgia Tech (2-4, lost at Clemson 24-43)
Despite the dismantling they took at the hands of Clemson, Georgia Tech remains number nine this week and here’s why. They may have more losses than any non-Virginia team behind them, but all of their losses have come to teams that at least appear to be on the good to elite spectrum. Nobody behind them can say that. Tech can only lose two more games this year if they intend to go to a bowl. That’s a sad statement considering how high their preseason expectations were.
10a. Wake Forest (3-3, won at Boston College 3-0)
Wake appeared to have no interest in beating Boston College. Fortunately for them, the feeling was mutual. Both teams made about as many mistakes as humanly possible in the final minutes, but the Deacs somehow found a way to get a conference road win under their belts, so give them credit for that. They move up over some teams that also had poor performances, but did not win.
10b. NC State (4-2, lost at Virginia Tech 13-28)
NC State completely wasted a strong start on Friday night. They gave up 21 points in the second quarter to a struggling offense and couldn’t get anything going offensively for most of the night after they took a 10-0 lead. I don’t want to talk about this game anymore.
12. Boston College (3-3, lost to Wake 0-3)
Last week it was said that Boston College had only scored 48 points in non-Howard games this year and had only given up two touchdowns defensively this year. They played a game this week and all of that stat still holds true. The Eagles should be in almost every game this year because of their defense, but at some point they will need to score to win them.
13. Syracuse (3-2, lost at USF 24-45)
Some had the Orange pegged as a surprise team in the ACC. They would’ve been 5-1 if they could’ve won very winnable games against South Florida and Virginia, but it was not meant to be. The Bulls ran circles around the Syracuse defense, racking 541 yards and scoring a touchdown on five of six drives in the second half. A bowl game became considerably more difficult for Syracuse after this weekend.
14. Virginia (1-4, lost at Pitt 19-26)
Virginia played admirably against a decent Pittsburgh squad. A defensive touchdown in the second quarter kept them in the game and a late touchdown pass cut it to seven, but it just wasn’t enough in the end. The Cavaliers play Syracuse at home next week.