1. Clemson (Last Week: 63-3 W @ Wake Forest)
Previous Rankings: 1 / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1
Clemson is out here acting like they called “all-time QB” on this season. Your consistent ACC #1 enters their bye week in that same position, fresh off destroying Wake Forest on the road. All the attention gets put on the QB position for the Tigers, but not nearly enough attention and respect is being paid to the Clemson ground attack which has talent and depth to a ridiculous degree. Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon, and Adam Choice combined for 30 carries, 458 yards, and 6 TDs vs Wake Forest. Yes, that’s 15.3 yards/carry. Yes, I know.
2. Miami (Last Week: 28-27 W vs Florida State)
Previous Rankings: 9 / 7 / 8 / 4 / 2
Miami gets credit for coming back and winning a rivalry game after being down big, but they also get knocked a bit because they fell behind big in the first place to this Florida State team. N’Kosi Perry threw for 4 TDs, but completed just 13-of-32 passes for 204 yards. The running back tandem of Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas (“Half priced well drinks for the next hour!”) were held in check, at least by their standards, combining for 31 carries for 101 yards. The jury is still out on this Hurricanes team, but they stand pat for now.
3. NC State (Last Week: 28-23 W vs Boston College)
Previous Rankings: 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 3
The Wolfpack were easily the better team on the field versus Boston College, but a flurry of mistakes allowed BC to hang close enough to make a 4th quarter run that almost resulted in an improbable loss for State. Still, the better team prevailed, and it’s an odd statement of progress when you can have the number of mistakes that NC State did and still come out in the Win column. The offense had a 56% success rate (that’s really good).
4. Virginia Tech (Last Week: 23-45 L vs Notre Dame)
Previous Rankings: 2 / 2 / 3 / 13 / 5
Hey, sometimes you can be something really nice and just be in the way of something better. It happens. VT might be a really good team... or maybe not, who knows... but Notre Dame is on the warpath right now and VT was just in their way. The Fightin’ Irish came out of the locker room in the second half and absolutely steamrolled VT. Damon Hazelton had a good day for the Hokies, at least, pulling in 12 receptions for 131 yards and a TD.
5. Duke (Last Week: Bye)
Previous Rankings: 4 / 4 / 5 / 2 / 6
Duke’s season hinges on their next three-game stretch (Georgia Tech, Virginia, Pittsburgh); all winnable games, but all very lose-able games, too. It definitely helps to have a bye week before facing Georgia Tech, so put your money on Duke in that one (don’t take betting advice from me - I pick State to win the NCAA Tournament every year).
6. Boston College (Last Week: 23-28 L @ NC State)
Previous Rankings: 3 / 3 / 2 / 7 / 7
Being without star RB AJ Dillon put a serious damper in Boston College’s chances of winning against NC State, although the bigger issue was QB Anthony Brown’s inability to hit open receivers early in the game. A late game flurry of offense, aided by some poor play from NC State, allowed the Eagles to almost complete the comeback. BC should win their next game (Louisville) with or without Dillon, but after their bye week the following week, they get Miami, Virginia Tech, and Clemson in a three game stretch that could drop them to a 5-5 record in a hurry.
7. Virginia (Last Week: Bye)
Previous Rankings: 7 / 8 / 9 / 5 / 8
Virginia comes off their bye week to jump into their full Coastal Division slate. This team could still make some noise, especially if they get a few players back to full health. Also, the fact that they have Bryce Perkins makes them a more diverse and dangerous team than...
8. Georgia Tech (Last Week: 66-31 W @ Louisville)
Previous Rankings: 5 / 9 / 12 / 10 / 10
This was a good match-up this past week for Georgia Tech: a great running offense versus a horrid running defense. The results were as you’d expect. GT only attempted two passes all game, but then again you don’t really need to pass when you average 8.3 yards/carry as a team. I’d mention the star running backs here, but all seven GT players with multiple carries averaged over 6.0 yards/carry, so what’s the point, really?
9. Pittsburgh (Last Week: 44-37 W vs Syracuse)
Previous Rankings: 8 / 13 / 10 / 12 / JV-NR
Hey-oh, Pitt! I see you! Quadree Ollison and Darrin Hall were fantastic running the ball (41 combined carries, 299 yards, 3 TDs), which was necessary because - outside of one pass - QB Kenny Pickett was terrible. That’s a really impressive win over Syracuse!
You still lost to UNC, though...
10. Syracuse (Last Week: 37-44 L @ Pittsburgh)
Previous Rankings: 13 / 10 / 8 / 6 / 4
Was it a Clemson hangover? Is this what ‘Clemsoning’ is now? When you come close to beating Clemson the previous week and then play like total crap the next? The same Syracuse defense which looked fantastic the previous week reverted right back to the garbage play that had people skeptical about the Orange to start the season. Allowing 6.00 yards/play to Pittsburgh is certainly impressive in the exact way you don’t want to be impressive.
11. Florida State (Last Week: 27-28 L @ Miami)
Previous Rankings: 10 / 12 / JV-1 / 9 / 11
It was a concern (for other ACC teams) that with the talent they have, Florida State would start putting it together as the season progressed. That may not be happening just yet (if at all), but despite another anemic performance from the offense (200 total yards at 3.08 yards/play; 26% success rate), this team was close to pulling off the big time win and (hard to believe I’m going to type this) upset over Miami. That at least shows some progress, even if Florida State may not be favored in more than one or two games the rest of the year. DT Marvin Wilson and DE Brian Burns had two sacks each in the game.
12. Wake Forest (Last Week: 3-63 L vs Clemson)
Previous Rankings: 12 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
I don’t think the defense is the (only) problem, Dave. Besides, your new DC could have held Clemson to two field goals and you still would have lost. Again, as has been the case for any team that’s taken an ‘L’ from Clemson, there’s no shame in it at all, but - ugh - where was the fight? Outside of two long runs for Wake (those two runs, by the way, accounted for almost 40% of Wake’s total yards for the day), the Wake offense was abysmal, with just a 13% success rate.
ACC JV Division
1. North Carolina (Last Week: Bye)
Previous Rankings: 14 / JV-NR / JV-NR / 11 / JV-1
Larry Fedora managed to not lead his team to defeat this past week (he also didn’t lead them to a win, but UNC-CH fans should be used to that by now), and for that the Tar Heels won’t fall in the rankings. Besides, UNC-CH has (surprisingly) a conference win this year, unlike...
2. Louisville (Last Week: 31-66 L vs Georgia Tech)
Previous Rankings: 11 / 11 / 12 / 14 / 12
“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen... Nobody knows my sorrow” - heard bellowing from Bobby Petrino’s office this week, probably.