1. Clemson (Last Week: 48-7 W vs Furman)
Clemson did Clemson things to Furman, even with the Paladins being led at QB by a Clemson student. Dabo cares not for you, son, nor your feelings. The only commitable offer he’s making you is for a take-home ‘L’. Anyways, moving on...
2. Virginia Tech (Last Week: 24-3 W @ Florida State)
Welp, anyone out there betting against the Hokies winning the Coastal Division now? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Justin Fuente’s group dominated Willie Taggart’s bunch down on the Seminoles’ home turf. The offense didn’t look great, and the team lived on turnovers, but a dominant win on opening weekend is a dominant win. People (read: voters) will probably put too much stock in this win, but it could look even better as the season progresses based on what happens with FSU going forward.
3. Boston College (Last Week: 55-21 W vs UMass)
When UMass looks back on this game, at least they’ll be able to say they kept AJ Dillon under 100 yards rushing and without a rushing TD (he ran for 98 yards on 20 carries, and caught 2 passes for 27 yards and a TD). That’s about it, though. The BC offense looked fantastic with Anthony Brown (15-21, 279 yards, 4 TD) back under center in his return from injury.
4. Duke (Last Week: 34-14 W vs Army)
Duke looked the part, cruising to a win against an Army team that posted 10 wins in 2017. Daniel Jones was sharp (13-17, 197 yards, 1 TD), playing to the level many expected of him a year ago.
5. Georgia Tech (Last Week: 41-0 W vs Alcorn State)
The Jackets had four players rush for at over 70 yards each and cruised to a win over a much weaker D1-AA/FCS team. Not at lot to learn here. GT did shut down the Braves offense, allowing just 146 total yards.
6. NC State (Last Week: 24-13 W vs James Madison)
We all know what happened here. State struggled to run the ball against one of the top D1-AA/FCS teams, but was able to at least push through to victory. Ryan Finley (29-43, 309 yards, 2 TD) was very productive even though he wasn’t completely in sync with Kelvin Harmon, and Jakobi Meyers (14 rec, 161 yards) came through repeatedly in the clutch. There are a lot of questions this team has to answer moving forward.
7. Virginia (Last Week: 42-13 W vs Richmond)
JUCO transfer QB Bryce Perkins was a beast in the Wahoos’ win, passing for 185 yards and 2 TDs and rushing for 108 yards and 2 more scores. SR Jordan Ellis ran for 146 yards and 2 TDs on 20 carries. The Cavs over doubled up the Spiders in total yards.
8. Pittsburgh (Last Week: 33-7 W vs Albany)
Pitt looked great in throttling Albany and Vinny Testaverde’s kid (seriously, check out that ‘stache). Kenny Pickett threw for 154 yards and 2 TDs while rushing for 42 yards and another score. Albany is a pretty bad team, though, so this win doesn’t really tell you much.
9. Miami (Last Week: 17-33 L vs LSU)
LSU is a very talented team, no doubt about it... but, dude... Miami? What happened? The Hurricanes actually outgained the Tigers and held them to just 3-of-16 on 3rd down conversions and yet still somehow got blown out. Go figure. At least they didn’t look as bad as...
10. Florida State (Last Week: 3-24 L vs Virginia Tech)
There’s no shame in getting beat by Virginia Tech and that Bud Foster-directed defense... but that was bad. I guess the one way to look at it is that things can only go up from here for Willie Taggart’s tenure in Tallahassee. Besides, I find it fascinating and brave how he’s forcing an impatient fan base to wait an extra week for their first touchdown of the season. The Seminoles really weren’t that terrible, but when you have five turnovers in a game, you’re gonna have a bad time.
11. Louisville (Last Week: 14-51 L vs Alabama)
Did anyone really learn anything about Louisville last week? I’m not sure. Alabama pantsed the Cards in front of a primetime national audience, but it’s not like Louisville is the first team they’ve done that to. The biggest surprise is probably that Louisville had just 16 yards rushing on 26 carries as a team. Jawon Pass (20-39, 252 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) had a rough first start, but he did complete passes to 10 different receivers, which has to at least make Bobby Petrino somewhat happy.
12. Wake Forest (Last Week: 23-17 W @ Tulane)
The Deacs put up a ton of yards (548), but not at lot of points to show for it (23). Losing the turnover battle 3-to-1 will do that to you. Freshman Sam Hartman (31-51, 378 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) had some flashes of brilliance, along with the expected freshman mistakes. Still, needing overtime to beat a Tulane team that went 5-7 last year and finished 89th in S&P+ doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence.
13. Syracuse (Last Week: 55-42 W @ Western Michigan)
The Syracuse offense was clicking, rolling up 560 total yards with Eric Dungey rushing for 200 and passing for 184 (although completing just 7-of-17 passes). However, the defense surrendered 621 yards (!!!) to a team that ranked just 79th in S&P+ Offense rankings last year. Did Syracuse move to the Big XII?
14. North Carolina (Last Week: 17-24 L @ California)
The UNC-CH offense struggled in the first half, failing to have any drive last longer than three plays and just looking completely inept. The 4th quarter was a different story as the Tar Heels showed some life when Cal looked like it was desperately trying to run out the clock. The bright spot for the Heels moving forward is that their typically atrocious defense allowed just 279 yards on the day, although they failed to generate a turnover (while the offense committed four of its own - all from the arm of Nathan Elliott).