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The ACC in SP+, Week 8: NC State climbs for first time in weeks

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Hey, we were due.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off its most triumphant win over Syracuse, NC State finally moved up in the SP+ rankings for the first time in probably a month. The Wolfpack defense is up to No. 34, good for fifth overall in the ACC behind Clemson, Pitt, Virginia, and Miami. The offense, ehhhh, let’s not talk about that.

ACC Standings by SP+ Rating

Team Wk 8 SP+ Rtg (Rank) SP+ Rank Change Offense Rank Defense Rank
Team Wk 8 SP+ Rtg (Rank) SP+ Rank Change Offense Rank Defense Rank
Clemson 23.1 (8) 0 19 7
Miami 11.7 (30) 2 50 24
Virginia 5.5 (46) -6 98 19
Duke 4.9 (48) -2 71 43
Wake Forest 4.6 (49) 2 26 78
NC State 3.9 (52) 6 88 34
Pitt 3.5 (53) 4 114 11
UNC 3.2 (56) 5 44 72
Louisville 3.0 (57) 5 20 91
Florida State 2.8 (58) -13 28 84
Syracuse 1.7 (66) -1 80 50
Virginia Tech 1.3 (67) 5 63 66
Boston College 0 (69) 5 30 101
Georgia Tech -5.5 (86) 6 106 51

Scott Satterfield’s revitalization project in Louisville is well ahead of schedule thanks to his wizardly effects on the Cardinals’ offense, which is arguably the league’s best right now. That is crazy indeed. Louisville is averaging 6.9 yards per play on the season—it averaged only 5.3 YPP in 2018.

It helps that Louisville’s players are actually trying this year, but that alone doesn’t account for Louisville’s progress. Maybe Satterfield is the real deal. (Here I would once again like to thank UNC for hiring its grandpa rather than nabbing Satterfield, who is only 46 years old.)

And Miami is good again I guess? Nah, no, not really. SP+ has been skeptical of UVA all season, so the Canes’ win on Friday didn’t feel out of sorts. Didn’t look that way, either, considering how poorly UVA played. I’ve been trying to figure out how the Cavs’ offense is so inconsequential despite the existence of Bryce Perkins.

Eleven of the ACC’s 14 teams are ranked between 46th and 69th, and SP+ estimates that the difference between the best and worst of those 11 would be about six points on a neutral field. Good luck guessing what any of these average-ass teams are gonna do at any given time.