1. Clemson (7-0, 4-0, won at Miami 58-0)
Clemson did some serious NSFW things to Miami on Saturday. They gained 567 yards on offense and held Miami to 146. It was 42-0 at halftime. They are far and away the best team in the ACC. They go to Raleigh next week.
2. Duke (6-1, 3-0, won at Virginia Tech 45-43)
Duke is one of those teams that just find ways to win games. They allowed Virginia Tech to come back from a 21-10 deficit and send the game to overtime, but four overtimes in, Thomas Sirk rushed in for the game winning two point conversion. They get Miami, UNC, and Pitt next in what will be their deciding stretch for the Coastal title
3. UNC (6-1, 3-0, won over Virginia 26-13)
UNC pitched a shutout in the second half to get by Virginia in a game that was tighter than expected. They go to Pittsburgh on Thursday for a game that has huge implications on the Coastal.
4. Pittsburgh (6-1, 4-0, won at Syracuse 23-20)
The Panthers squeaked by a peculiar Syracuse team with a game winning field goal. They move up one as a result of Florida State and stay neck and neck with the other two Coastal contenders. Pitt, UNC, and Duke have a combined one win over power-five teams with a .500 record or better (4-3 Illinois). Pittsburgh’s loss to Iowa is the toughest game any of the teams have played.
5. Florida State (6-1, 4-1, lost at Georgia Tech 16-22)
Florida State is probably still the second best team in the conference, but I encourage you to try the blind resume test with them and the next three teams ahead of them. You’ll be surprised. The Noles offense is great when Dalvin Cook is running for 200 yards but it’s becoming increasingly clear that it lives and dies with him.
6. Georgia Tech (3-5, 1-4, won over Florida State 22-16)
Well that’s one way to win a game. Tech broke their five game losing streak in the most dramatic way possibly, returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown as time expired. Suddenly, reaching a bowl game doesn’t seem that far-fetched at all. They go to Virginia next week in a game that they should win.
7. Louisville (3-5, 2-2, won over BC 17-14)
If you scored one offensive touchdown, committed four turnovers, and still won, you probably played Boston College. The Cardinals actually managed a solid 365 yards on offense, but turnovers stopped them from cashing in on some of those yards. Defensively, Louisville was dominant, giving up only 79 yards
8. Virginia Tech (3-5, 1-3, lost to Duke 43-45)
Virginia Tech absolutely had to have this game to have a shot at the Coastal. They were so close. Michael Brewer threw three touchdowns and the Hokies racked up 452 yards of offense, but came up just short when Thomas Sirk found his way into the endzone in the fourth overtime.
9. NC State (5-2, 1-2, won at Wake Forest 35-17)
You’ll win a lot of games scoring 28 points in the first quarter, even if you only score seven the rest of the game. The Wolfpack exorcised the first of two incredibly gross road demons they will face this year with their win in Winston-Salem. Next week is the big one. Clemson has not played well in their last two trips to Raleigh, but this Clemson team is really really good.
10. Miami (4-3, 1-2, lost to Clemson 0-58)
Gah! What in the world happened here?
11a. Boston College (3-5, 0-5, lost at Louisville 14-17)
10% of Boston College’s offensive yards came on their lone touchdown. That doesn’t sound too abnormal until you realize the touchdown was eight yards. The defense is so good that the Eagles will hang in nearly every game they play, but the offense is just awful. They are on a four game losing streak, with three of the losses coming by eight combined points
11b. Wake Forest (3-5, 1-4, lost to NC State 17-35)
The Demon Deacons actually outscored NC State 17-7 after the first quarter. Why that happened can be debated, but the game was already over at the end of the first. Since the win at Boston College, Wake has been beaten badly twice, so they find themselves tied with the Eagles. Kendall Hinton should be the starting quarterback.
13a. Syracuse (3-4, 1-2, lost to Pitt 20-23)
What is this team? They looked extremely competitive against quality teams like Pittsburgh and LSU, but lost to Virginia and needed OT to beat Central Michigan at home. They are somewhere in this jumbled mess at that back.
13b. Virginia (2-5, 1-2)
You can’t have five turnovers and win a football game. Virginia was very competitive in Chapel Hill, but failing to score a point in the second half and having five turnovers did them in.