1. Clemson (Last week: 41-6 W @ Syracuse)
Previous Rankings: 1, 1
Another week, another win. At this point, it will be a shock if Clemson doesn’t roll through ACC play undefeated. I know, it’s college football, but there just doesn’t seem to be a legitimate threat to Clemson in the ACC - at least not that any team has shown through three weeks of the season. The Tigers averaged 9.3 yards per pass attempt and 7.6 yards per rush in the dominant win over the Orange. The Clemson defense also tallied 8 sacks and a whopping 15 tackles for loss.
2. Virginia (Last week: 31-24 W vs Florida State)
Previous Rankings: 3, 2
I fully expected Virginia to whip FSU, but that didn’t happen. What did happen, however, was a 21-point 4th quarter from the Wahoos to claim the come-from-behind victory. This Florida State squad isn’t anything to write home about, but 4th quarter comeback wins are special anyway they come (aside from waiting for a missed XP in OT from an inferior opponent). In a weak year for the conference, Virginia probably is the second-best team.
3. Wake Forest (Last week: 24-18 W vs North Carolina)
Previous Rankings: 5, 3
The Deacs looked really good in the first half of their non-conference win over the Tar Heels, but then just about pissed it all away by going conservative on offense late in the game and not being able to pick up stops when they needed - and should have. Still, in a down ACC, a 3-0 team is something to be celebrated.
4. North Carolina (Last week: 18-24 L @ Wake Forest)
Previous Rankings: 8, 6
The loss doesn’t hurt as bad as it otherwise would have since it was a non-conference game, but Mack Brown and Co. have to be kicking themselves for waiting to show up until the second half of their loss at Wake. Freshman QB Sam Howell had his moments, but you still have to wonder why the offense doesn’t revolve around Michael Carter (13 car, 96 yds) and the running game, especially with the O-line giving up six sacks.
5. Duke (Last week: 41-18 W @ Middle Tennessee State)
Previous Rankings: 13, 8
Since getting blown out vs Alabama in the opener, Duke has won its last two games by a combined score of 86-31. Just don’t look who those games were against... Ah, dangit! I wrote it right there above! The Blue Devils hit the road for VT next week, and then have home games against Pitt and GT the following weekends. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them sitting at 3-0 in ACC play after that stretch.
6. Miami (Last week: 63-0 W vs Bethune-Cookman)
Previous Rankings: 9, 10
Manny Diaz captures his first win as a head coach in convincing fashion, but unfortunately, there’s nothing to be learned by this one. Bethune-Cookman is a team that Miami should absolutely destroy. The Hurricanes take on Central Michigan this week in another game that shouldn’t really tell us anything. The VT and UVA games that follow should tell us more. By the way, you should at least watch the highlight of the Miami walk-on RB scoring a TD and doing a front-flip to earn a 15-yard penalty (worth it).
7. Pittsburgh (Last week: 10-17 L @ Penn State)
Previous Rankings: 12, 9
The Panthers’ defense is legit, apparently. The offense? Still a big issue. The coaching decisions might have been the biggest fart of them all, though. Down 7 with under five minutes to play and with the ball at the PSU 1, Pat Narduzzi chose to attempt a 19-yard field goal (dumb). The field goal was no good (
street field justice), and Pitt deserved to lose after that nonsense. Pitt gets to host a strong G5 team in UCF this week. Hey, Pat, don’t do dumb stuff if you actually want to win.
8. NC State (Last week: 27-44 L @ West Virginia)
Previous Rankings: 2, 4
The Wolfpack failed miserably in their first road test of 2019, getting outcoached and outplayed in Morgantown. Granted, this WVU team isn’t as bad as everyone chalked them up to be after the first two weeks of the season, but that was just an entirely poorly played and mismanaged game on behalf of NC State. There are a lot of issues with this team, and when offensive play-calling is one of them, there are massive concerns about the overall potential of the rest of the season.
9. Florida State (Last week: 24-31 L @ Virginia)
Previous Rankings: 10, 12
The Seminoles are now 1-2, and in both losses, they have blown leads that should have been sustainable. There’s a lack of execution and - perhaps worse - a seeming lack of belief of the FSU players that the team will win the close games. The Willie Taggart era might come to a sudden and quick stop should this continue. Based on talent alone, there’s no reason why Florida State shouldn’t be the 2nd best team in the conference year in and year out.
10. Louisville (Last week: 38-21 W vs Western Kentucky)
Previous Rankings: 11, 7
Louisville WR Tutu Atwell (awesome name) had 4 receptions for 141 yards and 3 TDs. That’s an awesome day. The Cardinals sit at 2-1 overall on the year with suddenly winnable-looking games against Florida State and Boston College on the immediate horizon. Scott Satterfield has things looking up quickly for UL.
11. Virginia Tech (Last week: 24-17 W vs Furman)
Previous Rankings: 7, 11
The Hokies were down 14-3 at the half to FCS Furman. Granted, they came back to win, but that’s not exactly the best look. Remember when Justin Fuente started off his VT career with a 19-8 record? Yeah, amazing how long ago that seems (it was just 2016-2017). The Hokies get a much needed bye this weekend, which is frankly sad to say when you’re at Week 4 and a bye is a blessing for non-injury related reasons.
12. Syracuse (Last week: 6-41 L vs Clemson)
Previous Ranking: 6, 14
Anyone still projecting Syracuse for a second straight 10-win season? Didn’t think so. While there’s absolutely no shame in losing to Clemson - and really no shame in getting pantsed by them, either - the Syracuse offense has some serious issues and the defense is plain awful right now. The Orange have a tougher-than-you’d-think match up with Western Michigan this week.
13. Boston College (Last week: 24-48 L vs Kansas)
Previous Rankings: 4, 5
Dude. Duuuuude. Kansas hadn’t won a road P5 game in 11 years. And they blew the doors off of BC. This was supposed to be an easy win for the Eagles, and yet Steve Addazio probably just went from being in safe waters to firmly on the coaching hot seat with one game. Will another seven-win season keep Addazio in town? Could they get anyone better?
14. Georgia Tech (Last week: 24-27 L vs The Citadel)
The win for The Citadel was their first of the season after they had lost their first two games versus Towson and Elon. This is just bad, but it is Year 0... err, maybe Year -1... for Geoff Collins in Atlanta.