It’s nice to have college football back, but the ACC could have had a better weekend. All of the league’s high-profile non-conference matchups went to the other side, which generally isn’t the best way to build national respect.
— Clemson’s loss to Georgia is more than excusable, though it was weird watching the Tigers’ offense look so pedestrian. I don’t know if they have a serious offensive line problem, or if UGA’s defensive front is just that good. If it’s the former, they may be due another loss at some point this season.
— Florida State was a bright spot in losing in overtime to Notre Dame, because that’s the kind of weekend it was, but the Noles did show a lot of life in the defeat. Rushing for 264 yards a defense like Notre Dame’s is a positive development for an FSU o-line that’s been a weakness for a while.
— Syracuse delivered a true road win at Ohio which is ... the best non-conference result of the week? (Virginia Tech’s win over UNC is undoubtedly the best win overall.) Pitt, BC, UVA, Wake Forest, and NC State each delivered lopsided wins against bad teams.
And then there was the bad...
— Miami looked completely uncompetitive against Alabama, and while their are worse crimes, I would expect more from a supposed top-15 team.
— Georgia Tech lost at home to Northern Illinois, which was an 18-point underdog. NIU won 22-21 after scoring a TD then successfully going for two in the final minute. Maybe this Geoff Collins thing isn’t going to work out in Atlanta.
— If you’re a Duke fan looking for optimism after that rough 2020 campaign, well, a 31-28 loss to Charlotte ain’t gonna help. At least the Blue Devils were willing to go on the road, but yikes. Looks like another year of struggle ahead.
— Louisville is up there in terms of disappointment—I thought the Cardinals would show some bounce back from last season but they were never really in the game against Mississippi. Maybe the Rebels are just that much improved themselves, but their defense was bad last season.
Overall, y’know, it could have been a better week. The ACC seems to be lacking depth in that middle tier, which, who knows, maybe Miami and UNC belong in. This first weekend just made the league look more wide open.