1. Clemson (Last Week: 28-26 W @ Texas A&M) Previous Rank: 1
Clemson went on the road and won in a hostile environment in College Station, and that speaks for itself. Dabo Swinney has some incredible luck in close games, though, as advanced statistics say that the Tigers should have lost this game (Postgame Win Percentage of just 39.7% - for reference, NC State’s was 100.0%). Texas A&M was done in by their inability to convert scoring opportunities into points, but you can’t really say that without also giving credit to the Tigers’ D. They still look like the best team in the league with no real challenger right now. Kelly Bryant accounted for 259 of Clemson’s 413 total yards.
2. Virginia Tech (Last Week: 62-17 W vs William & Mary) Previous Rank: 2
The Hokies absolutely dismantled an over-matched Bill & Mary team. The run game dominated putting up 305 yards on the ground, with nine different VT players carrying the rock and only one of those posting an average of less than 4.7 yards/carry.
3. Boston College (Last Week: 62-14 W vs Holy Cross) Previous Rank: 3
Somehow this game wasn’t even as close as the final score. BC did ungodly things to Holy Cross. Anthony Brown only attempted two passes and had one carry before being determined to have played a significant enough amount of snaps to have secured victory. AJ Dillon only carried the ball six times, but those six carries went for 149 yards and 3 TDs. He be good at the footballin’, folks.
4. Duke (Last Week: 21-7 W @ Northwestern) Previous Rank: 4
Northwestern’s not exactly a world-beater, but going on the road and winning pretty convincingly (even if it was a pretty unwatchable game) against a living, breathing team is more impressive than what a lot of other ACC teams did this week. Daniel Jones threw three 2nd Quarter TDs and finished with 192 yards passing.
5. NC State (Last Week: 41-7 W vs Georgia State) Previous Rank: 6
The game was closer than the score indicated, but the Wolfpack still won easily. There are still some issues with this team (primarily the rushing offense), but time shouldn’t be wasted fretting over a 34-point win. Ryan Finley continued his excellence, passing for 370 yards and 2 TDs (and one pass completion to the wrong team), while Kelvin Harmon and Thayer Thomas each went for over 100 yards receiving.
6. Wake Forest (Last Week: 51-20 W vs Towson) Previous Rank: 12
Cade Carney rushed for 130 yards and a TD and Sam Hartman accounted for over 300 total yards and 3 TDs as Wake cruised to a comfortable win after a back-and-forth opening quarter. Greg Dortch had two punt return TDs (70 yards and 60 yards) and continues to be a scary threat whenever he has the ball in his hands.
7. Miami (Last Week: 77-0 W vs Savannah State) Previous Rank: 9
*Yawn* Miami went out and got the easy ‘W’. Good for them, but there was nothing to learn from this game, and that LSU game is not that easily forgotten.
8. Virginia (Last Week: 16-20 L @ Indiana) Previous Rank: 7
The Hoosiers jumped out to an early lead, thanks in part to a fumble recovery on a kickoff return that set up a short TD to give them a lead they would not relinquish. The Cavaliers could never catch up, although JUCO transfer QB Bryce Perkins did rush for 123 yards and threw for 2 TDs.
9. Georgia Tech (Last Week: 38-49 L @ South Florida) Previous Rank: 5
The Yellow Jackets pissed this one away. They were up 10 early in the fourth quarter and then somehow ended up losing by 11. Terrence Horne scored three TDs for USF, including returning back-to-back kickoffs for TDs in the 1st Quarter (98 yards and 97 yards). Advanced stats say GT had a 78.3% chance of winning this game. Weird.
10. Syracuse (Last Week: 62-10 W vs Wagner) Previous Rank: 13
Eric Dungey threw for 5 TDs as Syracuse rolled against their D1-AA/FCS opponent. I should probably give the Orange more credit, but I still don’t believe in that ‘Cuse defense. They play Florida State next in a game that should provide a better opportunity to showcase the true level of this team... or maybe not.
11. Louisville (Last Week: 31-7 W vs Indiana State) Previous Rank: 11
Louisville’s defense suffocated Indiana State all game allowing the Cards to walk away from this one with an uneasily close win. There’s a QB controversy brewing now for Bobby Petrino’s ballclub. Backup QB Malik Cunningham looked really good in the 2nd half, turning a 7-7 game into a breathable finish after starting QB Jawon Pass couldn’t put the offense on the board in the 1st half.
12. Florida State (Last Week: 36-26 W vs Samford) Previous Rank: 10
Make no mistake about it, Samford deserved to win this game. Actually, advanced stats give Samford a 80.1% Postgame Win Percentage. Samford QB Devlin Hodges threw for 475 yards and 2 TDs (but also 4 INTs) and WR Kelvin McKnight accounted for 215 of those yards and both TDs on 14 catches. We figured this season would either go really well or really poorly for first-year FSU coach Willie Taggart, and it seems it’s going the latter.
13. Pittsburgh (Last Week: 6-51 L vs Penn State) Previous Rank: 8
I know the whole transitive property ranking in sports is a fool’s game, but I feel pretty confident in saying that Appalachian State has a better team than Pitt. This was a one-score game at half (13-6), but the Panthers were destroyed in the 2nd half. The Panthers were also horrendous when they had an opportunity to score, averaging just 1.75 points per scoring opportunity on four chances. Qadree Ollison was the lone bright spot for Pitt, rushing for 119 yards and a TD on 21 carries.
ACC JV Division
NR. North Carolina (Last Week: 19-41 L @ East Carolina) Previous Rank: 14
East Carolina lost at home to D1-AA/FCS foe NC A&T in Week 1. Then they beat the pants off UNC-CH in Week 2. That wasn’t a fluke win, either (Postgame Win Percentage of 93.2%). The Pirates shut out the Tarheels in the 2nd half and held Larry Fedora’s offense to just 19 total points despite not forcing a single turnover in the game. UNC-CH allowed 290 yards passing and 220 yards rushing (the most rushing yards in a game for ECU since 2016) to the Pirates. ECU has now won it’s last three games against UNC-CH, having outscored the Tarheels 166-91 in those games. HA!