1. Florida State (last week: Bye)
Quite a well-timed bye week for the Seminoles. Coming off a pair of close wins, Jordan Travis can use the extra time to get healthier, especially with Virginia Tech coming to town, a team that’s coming off their best performance of the season.
2. Miami (last week: Bye)
The Hurricanes have done everything they hoped to do at this point. Now ACC play starts for them. Not to look too far ahead, but that Nov. 11th date at Florida State is looking like the ACC Game-of-the-Year right now.
3. Duke (last week: 14-21 L vs Notre Dame)
So based on the last two weeks, you can say that Ohio State is barely better than Notre Dame, who is barely better than Duke. Hard to knock the Blue Devils too much for that loss. The real hope for Duke is that QB Riley Leonard’s ankle injury isn’t too severe. If Florida State had a well-timed bye week, this coming bye week for Duke is perfectly timed. After that, they take on the Wolfpack, then three ranked opponents over four weeks.
4. Clemson (last week: 31-14 W @ Syracuse)
The Tigers went up to whatever the name of the Carrier Dome is now and handled business. The defense was great in holding Syracuse to 281 yards, with the only possible gripe being that they allowed the Orange to convert 9-of-17 third down attempts, but Clemson firmly controlled this game. QB Cade Klubnik put together another solid outing while the offense seems to be moving away from only utilizing RB Will Shipley. That’s a good thing.
5. Louisville (last week: 13-10 W @ NC State)
The question coming into the Cardinals’ game with NC State wasn’t whether or not the offense was legit, it was whether the defense could keep up. Coming out of that game, it might be the other way around. NC State’s offense was horrendous, but Louisville’s defense didn’t give them any opportunities to capitalize on their own defensive gem. Have to give credit where it’s due there. The Louisville offense, on the other hand, might not be what it was billed to be going into last week. They lit up bad Murray State and Boston College teams and had one good half of football against a Georgia Tech team that flips like a coin between being good and being atrociously bad. The two other games (Indiana, NC State) saw the offense score a combined 34 points.
6. North Carolina (last week: Bye)
If a bye week could have broken its winless streak, why couldn’t it have been last week at UNC? The Tar Heels get Miami in two weeks, but goodness does that schedule look about as light as it could possibly be? I hope you’re prepared for UNC in the ACC Championship Game (I’m not), because there’s at most two ACC losses on that schedule barring the team completely falling on its face.
7. Virginia Tech (last week: 38-21 W vs Pittsburgh)
The Hokies just scored the best win of the Brent Pry era (not saying much, really), beating a bad Pitt team. Outside of a pair of “whoopsie” long Pitt TD passes, the VT defense was impressive (Pitt’s other TD was a defensive score, because of course it was). The Hokies hit the road against Florida State next, so the happy-go-fun-times are going to come to a quick end, but for one glorious week in Blacksburg, VT is undefeated in ACC play.
8. Syracuse (14-31 L vs Clemson)
Absolutely no shame in losing to Clemson, but Syracuse fans probably would have liked to see a bit more out of their offense to provide some confidence heading into the next two games against North Carolina and Florida State. If the Orange can survive those two, or even go 1-1 in them (please let that win come in the first game, if you don’t mind), the final five ACC games are all very winnable.
9. NC State (last week: 10-13 L vs Louisville)
Thankfully, Dave Doeren is willing to make a change to try and spark an offense that just put together possibly the worse performance of the Doeren era. That was a tough game to watch. Unfortunately, the offensive woes overshadowed the finest defensive effort of the year for the Wolfpack. The miscues and missed assignments that plagued NC State prior to last week’s game didn’t surface against Louisville. Tony Gibson, his staff, and players (as well as the special teams unit) deserve one heck of an ovation for almost pulling a seeming unwilling offense to victory.
10. Boston College (last week: 27-24 W vs Virginia)
The Eagles played their fourth one-score game in five efforts this season. Check in on your Boston College friends; see if they need heart medication. BC erased a 21-7 halftime deficit in earning the victory, snagging their first ACC win of the year. This is a manageable six game stretch coming up (Army, GT, UConn, Syracuse, VT, Pitt), and the Eagles will need to win four of them to get bowl eligible because it ain’t happening in the season finale against Miami.
11. Virginia (last week: 24-27 L @ Boston College)
The Cavaliers fell to 0-5 on the year with their third loss by three or fewer points. That’s rough. QB Tony Muskett returned to lead the offense, but it didn’t make much of a difference; Virginia managed just 306 total yards. Bill & Mary come to town this weekend and, honestly, if Virginia doesn’t win that one, they might not win a game this year.
12. Pittsburgh (last week: 21-38 L @ Virginia Tech)
Let me pick up this rock real quick in my glass house, but, boy, is that Pitt offense some kind of awful? At least the Panthers can produce some explosive plays, though. I’m glad NC State and Pitt don’t play this year, because I’m pretty sure that would end in more rage-induced heart attacks in the stands than points on the board.
13. Georgia Tech (last week: 27-38 L vs Bowling Green)
What even is this Georgia Tech team? A week after scoring an impressive two-score win over Wake Forest, the Yellow Jackets blew a 14-0 first quarter lead in getting run off the field by a Bowling Green team that hadn’t won a game against an FBS opponent this year. And it’s not like they’ve been playing all their games against Michigan; the Falcons lost 38-7 last week to Ohio... no, not Ohio State. Ohio. The Bobcats. That’s a bad loss, BT. Real bad.
14. Wake Forest (last week: Bye)
It’s not technically possible to lose on a bye week, but last week the Demon Deacons were beat by two touchdowns by Georgia Tech, and this week Georgia Tech... well... that ain’t a good look. Wake takes another L thanks to their last L getting immediately worse.