[Horizontal red lines indicate tiers]
1. Clemson (last week: 45-14 W vs Florida State)
Previous Rankings: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
Just yawning out 45-14 wins over rivals like it’s no big deal. We did, however, get to see another instance of Dabo Swinney being a complete and total dick to kickers, because apparently they are scourge of the Clemson program. Trevor Lawrence, you probably know him from every national media outlet wondering aloud this year “what is wrong with him?”, was 17-of-25 passing for 170 yards, 3 TDs, and an INT, while also running 6 times for 40 yards and another TD. He’s definitely broken. I bet Dabo chewed him out for that interception, too.
2. Louisville (last week: 62-59 W @ Wake Forest)
Previous Rankings: 11, 7, 10, 11, 11, 6
I know what you’re thinking, but right now, across the entire conference, what is the team you least want to play? If you said Wake Forest, go look again at the outcome of Louisville’s game last week. Scott Satterfield should probably be the ACC Coach of the Year. Not that the Cardinals’ program was devoid of talent when he arrived - and they almost choked this game away - but this team was such a mess last year, it’s a pretty astounding coaching job. Louisville hosts Clemson this weekend. Dang, I feel like I work for ESPN with this out-of-nowhere #1-vs-#2 matchup I just created out of thin air.
3. Wake Forest (last week: 59-62 L vs Louisville)
Previous Rankings: 5, 3, 3, 2, 3, 2
Probably still the 2nd best team in the conference, but they waited until the 4th quarter last week to wake up and it cost them the game. We also had our first Sam Hartman sighting of the year, and the sophomore (is he redshirting?) looked pretty dang good for having not seen the field yet this year: 9-of-15, 172 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT; 2 carries, 4 yards, TD, and an almost come-from-behind victory. The Deacs host Florida State this week looking to get back in the Win column.
4. Florida State (last week: 14-45 L @ Clemson)
Previous Rankings: 10, 12, 9, 7, 9, 5
Hot dang! 1-vs-2 and 3-vs-4 this week?! I promise this isn’t intentional, but this is working out well! The Seminoles got destroyed on the road by the Tigers, but as has been said for everyone else that’s had to play Clemson this year: there’s no real shame in that loss. This week’s game at Wake will go a long ways to telling us more about each of those teams.
5. NC State (last week: 16-10 W vs Syracuse)
Previous Rankings: 2, 4, 8, 8, 12, 10
Thursday night wins are always great. Going to work the next day for us fans, not so much. But at least for State fans it was a tired work day with a win in the pocket. State had an opportunity to - and should have - put Syracuse away earlier, but let’s not dwell on the negatives here. The defense notched 8 sacks for the second straight game and that unit looks like a legit strength, which has not always been the case under Dave Doeren. If the Wolfpack can get better O-line play, the potential is there given the overall lay of the land in the conference this year.
6. Syracuse (last week: 10-16 L @ NC State)
Previous Ranking: 6, 14, 12, 6, 7, 9
Syracuse has a lot of issues - OL play, a QB that avoids even the slightest bit of contact, a running game - but the defense is built around a very good line and there’s still talent in the receiving corps if the O-line can give Tommy DeVito enough time to get the ball off. The Orange get to welcome a Coastal Division foe this week in Pittsburgh.
7. Boston College (last week: BYE)
Previous Rankings: 4, 5, 13, 10, 8, 11
I’m starting to wonder how long Steve Addazio will be around with the Eagles program. Even if everything breaks right - QB injury luck certainly hasn’t for them - the best case scenario for BC is a 7-win regular season, which would be the 4th consecutive 7-win season for Addazio, and his 6th in seven seasons with the Eagles. BC hosts NC State this weekend in a big game for both teams.
8. Pittsburgh (last week: BYE)
Previous Rankings: 12, 9, 7, 3, 10, 7
Hey, look! Our first Coastal Division team! Pitt should probably be two or three spots - maybe even four spots - higher, but in a gross mess that is the ACC, the Coastal Division still looks like even more garbage than the Atlantic Division, so let’s just do this. The Panthers hit the road after their bye week to take on a Syracuse team with a lot of question marks, as outlined above.
9. North Carolina (last week: BYE)
Previous Rankings: 8, 6, 4, 9, 4, 4
Yeah, they were 4th last week, didn’t play, and are now 9th, but... whatever, man. I don’t care. The Tar Heels continue their road trip tour of bad Coastal Division teams this week with their visit to...
10. Virginia Tech (last week: 34-17 W vs Rhode Island)
Previous Rankings: 7, 11, 11, 12, 13, 12
After being the beneficiary of standing on the field while Miami beat themselves, the Hokies had a nice easy follow-up with a win over a horrible Rhode Island squad. That probably should have been a total blow out (the FCS-level Rams are just 1-5 this year), but VT led just 17-14 midway through the 3rd quarter and it was a 7-point game going into the 4th quarter. The good news for the Hokies is that QB Hendon Hooker has looked good over the last two games since getting the reigns of the offense, including going 16-of-27 for 261 yards and 3 TDs and rushing for 43 yards in this one.
11. Duke (last week: 41-23 W vs Georgia Tech)
Previous Rankings: 13, 8, 5, 4, 2, 8
A win over Georgia Tech. Yawn. Duke was up 38-7 in the 2nd quarter and then kinda just hit cruise control the rest of the way. DE Victor Dimukeje was a beast for the Blue Devils, tallying 6 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 2 QB hurries, and a forced fumble. Duke plays at Virginia this week in a game that will have significant Coastal Division implications.
12. Miami (last week: 17-9 W vs Virginia)
Previous Rankings: 9, 10, 6, 13, 6, 13
If there’s one thing that the Coastal Division has plenty of, it’s horrible games. Miami beat Virginia this week, 17-9, in a game that nobody should ever be forced to watch again. The Hurricanes are finally in the win column in ACC play at 1-2, and are one of five teams with a shot at the Coastal Division title. Seriously, folks, let’s move to a pods format and do away with this horrible thing.
13. Virginia (last week: 9-17 L @ Miami)
Previous Rankings: 3, 2, 2, 5, 5, 3
Remember when Virginia looked like a legit team? Me, too. That went bye-bye quickly, though. The Wahoos out-gained the Hurricanes by 71 yards and had 7 more first downs, but still managed just 9 points in the game. Getting inside the 10 and having to settle for FGs twice is a major killer. Even worse, a Cavs defense that played really well lost All-American CB Bryce Hall to a nasty leg injury that will keep him out the rest of the year. Next up: Duke.
14. Georgia Tech (last week: 23-41 L @ Duke)
Previous Ranking: 14, 13, 14, 14, 14, 14
I mean, at least the Yellow Jackets put up over 20 points for the second consecutive game? That’s the first time that’s happened this year.