1. Clemson (Last Week: Bye)
Previous Rankings: 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1
Clemson was on a bye, which means the rest of the world wins as they weren’t subjected to having to listen to another Dabo Swinney self-aggrandizing postgame interview.
2. NC State (Last Week: Bye)
Previous Rankings: 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 3 / 3
NC State was on a bye, which resulted in NC State winning as they benefited greatly from a lot of ranked teams ahead of them losing this week.
3. Duke (Last Week: 28-14 W @ Georgia Tech)
Previous Rankings: 4 / 4 / 5 / 2 / 6 / 5
The David Cutcliffe/Paul Johnson matchup has been interesting. Johnson won the first six meetings, but Cutcliffe is now 4-1 in his last five games vs GT. Duke was well-prepared coming off their bye week and put forth a fantastic effort to notch a win that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. Yeah, it took the Blue Devils until late in the 3rd quarter to take the lead and then put the game away, but it never really felt like GT had it going on well enough in this one to win it. Deon Jackson had 98 yards and a TD rushing, Daniel Jones threw for 3 TDs (vs 1 INT), and Leonard Johnson notched a pair of sacks for Duke.
4. Virginia Tech (Last Week: 22-19 W @ North Carolina)
Previous Rankings: 2 / 2 / 3 / 13 / 5 / 4
That Duke win was really good, but aside from that, can you even name a VT win that’s actually good? The Hokies are 3-0 in the ACC, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. They may have the inside track to win the Coastal Division, but they also still have to play the three teams nipping at their heels (Virginia, Miami, and Pitt... Pitt?!), plus a cross-over game versus a Boston College squad that is more than capable of beating them. Ryan Willis played pretty well despite a few bad throws, but the offense was too much of him or nothing, and the defense got gashed to the tune of 7.15 yards/play against by a North Carolina squad that’s been shut down by everyone not named Pitt (Pitt?!). VT should have lost that game.
5, Virginia (Last Week: 16-13 W vs Miami)
Previous Rankings: 7 / 8 / 9 / 5 / 8 / 7
Bryce Perkins lit the field on fire... but in that self-immolation sense, not in the good way. Perkins completed just 12-of-21 passes for an absurdly low 92 yards, 0 TDs, and 3 INTs (by the way, Miami averaged more yards per Perkins pass that they caught than Virginia receivers did); he did run for 61 yards, but at a 2.9 yards/carry average, it’s not like that was really helping the offense, either. Somehow, though, UVa managed to win the game despite getting out-gained by over 2.00 yards per play. Juan Thornhill had two interceptions and Brian Delaney was 3-for-3 on FGs to lead the Wahoos. UVa (2-1 in the ACC) controls its own destiny in the Coastal Division. Beat Duke next week and the Wahoos may well be 8-2 (5-1) going into their final two games vs Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
6. Boston College (Last Week: 38-20 W vs Louisville)
Previous Rankings: 3 / 3 / 2 / 7 / 7 / 6
Don’t put too much stock in a win vs Louisville... Don’t put too much stock in a win vs Louisville... Don’t put too much stock in a win vs Louisville...
Boston College looked good in dismantling a very disinterested Louisville squad, even when BC was without the services of star RB AJ Dillon. The win was a nice bounce-back effort for the Eagles (5-2, 2-1), and now they get a bye week to get healthy before a finishing kick that could see them favored in four of their last five games (pending Dillon’s health). David Bailey and Ben Glines were great in Dillon’s absence, rushing for a combined 219 yards and 2 TDs on 45 carries.
7. Miami (Last Week: 13-16 L @ Virginia)
Previous Rankings: 9 / 7 / 8 / 4 / 2 / 2
Welp, go ahead and mark it down as another year in which everyone got way too excited way too soon about Miami. “They’re back!” No, they’re not... again. QB N’Kosi Perry looked like a true freshman, going just 3-of-6 for 20 yards and 2 INTs (and a QBR of 0.1 - out of 100) before getting yanked for Malik Rosier. Miami had a postgame win percentage of 64%, so yeah, they should have won, but they allowed an average opponent starting field position of almost the 41 in the game, which allowed a very pedestrian UVa offense to do just enough to hand the Hurricanes the ‘L’. RB Travis Homer had 11 total touches for 145 total yards... why the heck did that guy not get the ball more?!
8. Syracuse (Last Week: Bye)
Previous Rankings: 13 / 10 / 8 / 6 / 4 / 10
Syracuse was on a bye and I can’t really justify this ranking completely, but it feels about right... Man, what a poor comment about the current state of the ACC as a whole...
9. Georgia Tech (Last Week: 14-28 L vs Duke)
Previous Rankings: 5 / 9 / 12 / 10 / 10 / 8
You want to know how bad Louisville is? They made this Georgia Tech team look like a world-beater last week. GT put the ball on the ground six times (six!) in the game and just played had an all-around sloppy performance. Duke provided a window of opportunity for GT to make a run at the win by not capitalizing when they could/should have, but this ain’t that kind of team and this ain’t that kind of year for Paul Johnson. It’s pretty easy to see a 1-4 finish for the currently 3-4 Yellow Jackets.
10. Florida State (Last Week: Bye)
Previous Rankings: 10 / 12 / JV-1 / 9 / 11 / 11
FSU was on a bye and - well - at least they didn’t lose.
11. Wake Forest (Last Week: Bye)
Previous Rankings: 12 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 12
Wake was on a bye and - well - at least Dave Clawson had some time to look through the help wanted ads to see if there are any decent unemployed Defensive Coordinators just loitering around Winston-Salem looking for work these days...
12. North Carolina (Last Week: 19-22 L vs Virginia Tech)
Previous Rankings: 14 / JV-NR / JV-NR / 11 / JV-1 / JV-1
UNC-CH had Virginia Tech on the ropes and couldn’t deliver the knockout blow. The Tarheels somehow managed to a lose a game in which they had a post-game win probability of 75%. Bravo. Michael Carter went off for 165 yards on 18 carries and the UNC-CH QBs didn’t look like complete garbage, but it still wasn’t enough. Still, the effort was one of the two best performances of the year for UNC-CH, and I guess we’ll recognize that... /grits_teeth
13. Pittsburgh (Last Week: 14-19 L @ Notre Dame)
Previous Rankings: 8 / 13 / 10 / 12 / JV-NR / 9
Pitt came really close to pulling off a huge upset at Notre Dame, but couldn’t finish it off. Despite leading for all but the last 5:43 of the game, the feeling watching the game was still that Notre Dame was the much better team, but that everything was turning up Pitt on the day. A shame for Pitt, but given how this team was playing earlier in the year, the last two weeks have shown progress. The Panthers just need to find an offense now (77th S&P+)... and, well, maybe a defense still, too (89th S&P+)... and some special teams (102nd S&P+).
14. Louisville (Last Week: 20-38 L @ Boston College)
Previous Rankings: 11 / 11 / 12 / 14 / 12 / JV-2
Louisville’s offense averaged just 3.24 yards/play in the game, a level of ineptitude that put them in the same grouping as Rutgers and Rice for the week. No bueno, bro. The crazy part is that Louisville actually led this game 20-14 late in the 3rd quarter. At least this week the Cardinals waited until nearly the 4th quarter before giving up?