1. Clemson (8-0, 5-0, won at NC State 56-41)
Saturday’s version of the Clemson offense was something to behold. This team can beat you in so many different ways, whether it be a shootout or a defensive grinder. Deshaun Watson is absolutely electric. Next week is their toughest hurdle on their way to the playoff when Florida State comes to town.
2. Florida State (7-1, 5-1, won over Syracuse 45-21)
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.
Or not. Moving the Noles up to number two this week is sort of breaking criteria (after all, they beat Syracuse and the GT loss looks even worse), but Florida State is the second best team in the ACC and keeping them behind the top coastal teams feels kind of silly. Sean Macguire was outstanding in relief of Everett Golson. Next week is the ACC Atlantic elimination game.
3. North Carolina (7-1, 4-0, won at Pitt 26-19)
UNC has taken over first place in the Coastal after their big win Thursday night in Pittsburgh. They play Duke at home next week in what is probably an elimination game for the Blue Devils
4. Duke (6-2, 3-1, lost to Miami 27-30)
The Blue Devils battled back from multiple double-digit deficits to earn a shot at a go-ahead drive with around two minutes left. Then a huge mess of crap happened that sent everybody into a complete tizzy, which still has not ended. All we know for certain is that Duke had fewer points than Miami when the last play was over. The loss forces Duke into a must-win next week if they want to be in Charlotte for the title game.
5. Pittsburgh (6-2, 4-1, lost to UNC 19-26)
The Panthers failed to show up for the first half of their Thursday night showdown against UNC. They rallied in the second but the deficit was already too large. They are not out of the Coastal race by a long shot, but they will need Duke to beat UNC or it will be pretty bleak.
6. Louisville (4-4, 3-2, won at Wake 20-19)
Wake vs Louisville was like watching the episode of South Park when they are trying to lose at baseball— Dylan Turner (@d_flockTurner) October 31, 2015
This does a pretty good job summing it up. It was a long way from pretty, but Louisville is .500 and 3-2 in the league after Friday’s win. They may have moved up more had they actually played a quality game, but for this week they get up to sixth. They have a decent shot to win out.
7. Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3, won at BC 26-10)
Michael Brewer returning has clearly helped Virginia Tech. If they could’ve beaten Duke last week, they would actually be in a pretty solid spot. This win was huge for their bowl chances, which are fairly decent given the remaining schedule and the fact that this team is beginning to play a little better
8. NC State (5-3, 1-3, lost to Clemson 41-56)
Moral victories suck, but that is what this game was. There are plenty of positive takeaways from competing with a top five team, even though NC State probably feels they could’ve won this game. The Wolfpack are clearly improving as they go into the home stretch and have a huge opportunity to end an ugly losing streak in Chestnut Hill next week.
9. Miami (5-3, 2-2, won at Duke 30-27)
No head coach? No starting quarterback? No time left? No problem. Okay, well there were actually a lot of problems, but the fact that Miami was even in a position to win this game given the circumstances is noteworthy. They get Virginia next week and will be bowl eligible if they win.
10. Virginia (3-5, 2-2, won over GT 27-21)
Virginia turned the ball over only once, as opposed to five last week, and the result was a big win. They outrushed the Yellow jackets by almost 100 yards and held off the Jackets late rally to move to .500 in the ACC. That’s right, Virginia is .500 in the ACC. They could be looking at playing in a bowl game if the out of conference schedule wasn’t ridiculous. Now getting to a bowl will be almost impossible, but this is a good step forward.
11. Georgia Tech (3-6, 1-5, lost at Virginia 21-27)
Just one week after Georgia Tech’s season looked like it might have been revived, they find themselves hovering just above rock bottom. It’s probably best to ignore the Tech-FSU game entirely, for the sake of these things making any sense at all. If the Yellow Jackets lose one more game, they will have gone from perceived playoff contender to home for the holidays.
12a. Wake Forest (3-6, 1-5, lost to Louisville 19-20)
Wake Forest is quite the conundrum this week. On one side, they went toe-to-toe with a solid Louisville team which appears to signify improvement. On the other side, they lost a game that they absolutely should have won and blew about 576 different chances to do so. Wolford and Hinton were awful throwing the ball, going 9/30 combined and throwing four interceptions. The Deacs scored zero points after halftime and turned the ball over on every possession but one in that gruesome second half, yet they still somehow almost won. Go figure.
12b. Syracuse (3-5, 1-3, lost at Florida State 21-45)
Syracuse’s defense continues to lead the Orange on a losing streak that has reached five games. This week, they gave up 162 yards and 3 touchdowns to true freshman running back Jacques Patrick. The game was actually close at 21-14 with less than a minute to go in the first half, but the Noles scored the next 24 points and it was curtains.
14. Boston College (3-6, 0-6, lost to Virginia Tech 10-26
It’s just not happening for Boston College. They were close to winning a lot of games over the last few weeks, but a 16 point loss at home to Virginia Tech is probably their worst performance of the year. Injuries have further crippled an already inept offense and the Eagles phenomenal unit on the other side of the ball is going to waste. They will try to get back on track next week at home against NC State.