This week Clemson squares off with the only other unbeaten team in the conference: NC State. That’s probably the toughest test standing in their way of another CFP appearance. The winner of that pretty much locks up the Atlantic division.
- NC State
From a Syracuse perspective, I’m trying to decide if it would be good or bad for the Wolfpack to win down at Death Valley this week. Who knows? Regardless, State is going to be a tough game in two weeks time. They haven’t really played anyone but they keep taking care of business rather easily.
- Virginia Tech
The Hokies get the nod over the Blue Devils because they beat them at their place earlier this year. Va Tech did not look great in their 22-19 squeaker of a win over UNC this weekend, but they’re still undefeated in conference and the favorites to win the coastal division.
In the wild and unpredictable world that is college football, Duke has been very consistent. After a two-touchdown victory in Atlanta this week, David Cutcliffe’s bunch has now won at Northwestern, at Baylor and at Georgia Tech this season. Not too shabby for a basketball school full of nerds.
We’ve got another basketball school climbing the ranks. UVA picked up a massive win over Miami at home this week, setting up a big coastal matchup against Duke this week. I never thought I’d actually watch a Duke/Virginia football game with something on the line but here we are.
Last week, Miami probably would’ve been two on this list. But after a hiccup in Charlottesville, this preseason top 10 team has some work to do if they want to make it to the ACC Championship. My guess is the November 17th meeting in Blacksburg between Va Tech and Miami will decide who gets to wear the coastal crown.
- Boston College
The Eagles steamrolled lowly Louisville this week. Now, BC enters a straight up gauntlet. Next four games: Miami, @VT, Clemson, @FSU, before finishing up with Syracuse at home. They’re at five wins now but it’s not far-fetched to think they will be vying for a bowl invite in that regular season finale against the Orange.
The Orange is right in the middle at the midway point of the season. After those two fourth quarter meltdowns, expectations now go from “let’s go win 8 or 9” to “boy we better not miss a bowl again.” You’d think coming off the timely bye week, though, this team should be just fine. The UNC game feels like a must-win all the sudden, but there’s no reason to think it shouldn’t be a win.
Pitt let the wildcat loose again on Saturday and almost played CFP spoiler like they seem to do every year, but ultimately fell short at Notre Dame. They’re steadily climbing the rankings and have two very good backs. At some point, you’d think the wildcat phase will run out of mojo though.
- Florida State
If we did an “ACC Football Talent Power Rankings,” FSU would probably be number 2 behind only Clemson. Yet somehow the Seminoles have all those four and five stars and only three wins. FSU has some tough games left like @Notre Dame, Clemson, @NC State, Florida and are really endanger of snapping a 36-year bowl streak. That being said, I bet they pick it up and pull off at least one upset to keep Willie Taggerts house off the market.
- Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets looked unreal against Louisville two weeks ago and seemed to be trending in the right direction. A disappointing home loss to Duke this week and now we know that game was probably more of Louisville just being Louisville than anything else.
This isn’t going to be the cake walk it once looked like. The Tar Heels have actually looked half decent the past couple weeks. They picked up their lone win over Pitt three weeks ago, got clobbered by Miami (which was not great), but then came back this past week and took Virginia Tech down to the wire.
- Wake Forest
After a bye week this week, it’s time to find out what the Demon Deacons are really made of. They have Florida State and Louisville on the road the next two weeks, which should give us a better idea before they welcome Syracuse to town in three weeks.
Lamar Jackson is not walking through that door. This is just a really bad football team in all three phases. As each week goes by, that home game down the road seems like more and more of a win for Syracuse.