1. Clemson (Last Week: 49-21 W @ Georgia Tech)
Clemson rolled right on through the Ramblin’ Wreck with no issues. Trevor Lawrence is now firmly entrenched as the starting QB for the Tigers after going 13-of-18 for 176 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT. Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster continue to be the scariest 1-2 RB duo in the ACC as they combined for 19 carries, 197 yards, and 2 TDs.
2. Duke (Last Week: 55-13 W vs NC Central)
Previous Rankings: 4/4/5
Quentin Harris looked much sharper throwing the ball in his second start (15-of-27 for 202 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT), and the Blue Devils rolled over their over-matched Durham neighbors. The Duke rushing attack posted 372 yards and 4 TDs on the ground at a 6.3 yards/carry rate, with the most aptly Duke named players ever leading the way, Brittain Brown (13 carries, 118 yards, 1 TD) and Marvin Hubbard III (20 carries, 96 yards).
3. NC State (Last Week: 37-20 W @ Marshall)
Previous Rankings: 6/5/4
Ryan Finley (23-of-40, 377 yards, 1 TD) and Kelvin Harmon (6 rec, 150 yards) made easy work of the Marshall secondary in the first half and - aside from a brief moment in the 3rd quarter - the game was relatively stress-free. The one time Marshall seemed to grab momentum, the State offense responded with a quick a 75-yard TD drive in just 1:47 to quickly put the game back in a comfortable zone. State’s deepest position, wide receiver, could do without the constant tests to that depth, though.
4. Miami (Last Week: 31-17 W vs Florida International)
Previous Rankings: 9/7/8
Don’t let the score fool you, that was a much more impressive win than the final margin indicated. The Miami D completely shut down the FIU offense until late in the game (the three FIU scores all came in the last seven minutes of the game). Freshman N’Kosi Perry came off the bench to replace an ineffective Malik Rosier and ended up throwing for 224 yards and 3 TDs (with 1 INT). Travis Homer ran for 114 yards and a TD on just 13 carries. Miami’s starting to look like the team to beat in the Coastal Division, as long as that QB battle doesn’t weigh them down.
5. Virginia (Last Week: 27-3 W vs Louisville)
Previous Rankings: 7/8/9
UVa easily dispatched a horrendous Louisville squad in Charlottesville. The game wasn’t the prettiest (especially the first half), but it was still an impressive win for the Wahoos as they pulled away in the second half and cruised to an easy win. Bryce Perkins had another fantastic day, completing 17-of-24 passes for 197 yards and 2 TDs (vs 1 INT) and also rushing 14 times for 78 yards and another TD. The Cavaliers defense posted 4 sacks and 7 TFL in the game, completely smothering the Louisville offense.
6. Syracuse (Last Week: 51-21 W vs UConn)
Previous Rankings: 13/10/8
The Orange dominated UConn in the Paul Pasqualoni Bowl (not a real thing - I hope), as Eric Dungey accounted for 363 total yards and 5 TDs. UConn is real bad, y’all (they’re the worst D1-A/FBS team according to F/+), but if this week taught us anything, it’s that taking care of business when you’re supposed to can never be overrated.
7. Boston College (Last Week: 13-30 L @ Purdue)
Previous Rankings: 3/3/2
We knew Purdue wasn’t as bad as their 0-3 record coming into the game with BC, but that still doesn’t make this a good loss... especially not when the offense was shut down. AJ Dillon was limited to just 3.1 yards per carry on 19 totes and Anthony Brown completed less than 50% of his throws, threw 4 INTs, and ended the game with a 1.7 QB Rating (out of a possible 100). Hope BC enjoyed that short-lived time being ranked in the national polls and at least made some T-shirts or commemorative hats.
8. Wake Forest (Last Week: 27-56 L vs Notre Dame)
Previous Rankings: 12/6/7
Cade Carney ran for 79 yards on 13 carries and backup QB Jamie Newman ran for 73 yards and a TD on 8 carries (we won’t talk about his passing), and that’s the entirety of the highlights for the Deacs. Notre Dame slammed Wake in Winston-Salem and it wasn’t even close in the 2nd half. Wake has some serious questions, and Dave Clawson up and fired his Defensive Coordinator after the game in an effort to answer at least one of them. So they have that going for them, which is nice.
9. Florida State (Last Week: 37-19 W vs Northern Illinois)
Previous Rankings: 10/12/JV
Well, hot dang! Florida State actually had an easy win! I mean, let’s not get carried away here; Northern Illinois is ranked just 90th in F/+ and 85th in Sagarin, but an easy win is an easy win and the Seminoles (and Willie Taggart, especially) needed it badly. Deondre Francois looked good and the defense limited NIU to just 3.62 yards/play, but the FSU rushing attack was held to just 2.1 yards per rush versus a MAC team that allowed 3.6 yards/carry the previous week to Central Michigan.
10. Georgia Tech (Last Week: 21-49 L vs Clemson)
Previous Rankings: 5/9/12
There’s certainly no shame in losing to Clemson, and getting your run game shut down by THAT Tigers D-line is not surprising, but when your offense revolves around the run and you get shut down running the ball, then you’re gonna have a bad time. GT only lost one turnover on the day (a fumble), but they put the ball on the ground an absurd eight times. Clemson averaged 4.1 yards PER PLAY better than Georgia Tech. The only reason GT isn’t ranked lower is because there are some atrocious ACC teams right now, including...
11. North Carolina (Last Week: 38-35 W vs Pittsburgh)
Previous Rankings: 14/JV/JV
Welcome back to the ‘W’ column, Tar Heels! You fellas earned yourself a little promotion out of the ACC JV Division with that performance. Antonio Williams ran like a beast (16 carries, 114 yards, 2 TDs) and Nathan Elliott looked like a real live actual college QB (22-of-31, 313 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT) as the UNC-CH offense broke out of the teens in scoring for the first time this year. Now let’s all point and laugh at...
12. Pittsburgh (Last Week: 35-38 L @ UNC-CH)
Previous Rankings: 8/13/10
Really, Pitt? Really?! You can’t lose to UNC-CH... especially not this UNC-CH team. That’s just... look, okay, you’re making us all look bad now. Go and return to Coastal Division irrelevancy because I really don’t want to look at you anymore. Still, at least you’re not...
13. Virginia Tech (Last Week: 35-49 L @ Old Dominion)
Previous Rankings: 2/2/3
Oh no, VT... what is you doin’?! Let’s look at one number: 114.7 <— That’s the average F/+ ranking of the three teams that Old Dominion (1-3) LOST to this year before beating the Hokies by two scores (oh, and that number is 143.0 if you’re looking at the Sagarin ratings). According to the Sagarin ratings, there are 32 D1-AA/FCS teams that the Hokies could have lost to that would have been “better” losses. Geez, Hokies... That ain’t a good look. There were a few bright spots on the offensive side for VT (Steven Peoples ran for 156 yards and 2 TDs and Damon Hazelton hauled in 5 passes for 154 yards and a TD), but starting QB Josh Jackson broke his leg and is out for the foreseeable future, plus that defense that just got gashed by a horrendous CUSA team just dismissed the team leader in TFLs. Welp!
14. Louisville (Last Week: 3-27 L @ Virginia)
Previous Rankings: 11/11/12
This might be the earliest I’ve ever seen a team give up on the season. On the bright side, the two Louisville QBs (Jawon Pass and Malik Cunningham) combined to post their highest completion percentage of any game this year... but that was still only 57.1%, and their two QB ratings for the game were 10.9 and 14.4 (out of 100), respectively. Bet Bobby Petrino’s thinking about firing up that old Harley and getting the heck out of Dodge right about now.