Clearly Clemson is going to win the Atlantic division but who will take the Coastal? With Virginia Tech undefeated in ACC-play and three other conference one-loss teams, things are about to get dicey.
The league had nearly half of its members on byes last week as six teams took a pause for the cause. Here’s how we’re looking entering the ninth week of the season.
1. #2 Clemson (7-0 Overall, 4-0 Conference) (LW: #1)
Facing the closest thing to competition in the conference, Clemson once again reminded us how wide the gap is between them and everyone else. NC State entered the game averaging 480.2 total yards and having eclipsed the 500-yard mark in three of their five games, but Clemson’s defense held the Wolfpack to just 297 total yards, recorded 10 tackles-for-loss and forced three turnovers. Trevor Lawrence continues to be the most accurate passer in the ACC, completing nearly 70% of his attempts. Travis Etienne’s 800 rushing yards and 14 TDs also leads the conference. Barring a last-minute slip-up against rival South Carolina, Clemson wins out the rest of their schedule and returns to the College Football Playoff for the fourth year in a row.
Up next: Saturday 10/27 at Florida State (4-3) at 12:00 p.m. on ABC
2. #22 NC State (5-1 Overall, 2-1 Conference) (LW: #2)
The red team from Raleigh lost their first game of the season to one of the best teams in all of college football. Are they still ranked? Yes. Are they still better than anyone else in the conference? Probably. So, despite the blowout to Clemson, here the Wolfpack are in the same spot as last week.
Up next: Saturday 10/27 at Syracuse (5-2) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2
3. Virginia (5-2 Overall, 3-1 Conference) (LW: #7)
I’m gonna give Bronco Mendenhall hella love here because prior to his arrival, it had been since 2011 that Virginia had finished with a winning season. But midway through his third year, Mendenhall has led the Cavs from 2-10 to 6-7 and a bowl game to their current record of 5-2. Coming off back-to-back wins against Duke and then-ranked No. 16 Miami, I’ve got the Cavs up four spots in this week’s rankings.
Up next: Saturday 10/27 vs. North Carolina (1-5) at 12:20 p.m. on ACC Network
4. Virginia Tech (5-2 Overall, 3-0 Conference) (LW: #4)
The Hokies are the only other team in the league besides Clemson that is undefeated in ACC-play. However, let’s not forget how recent it was that they trailed North Carolina until there were just 19 seconds left in the game. A win is a win is a win, but come on, that’s pitiful. Coming off a bye week, Virginia Tech is staying put where they were a week ago.
Up next: Thursday 10/25 vs. Georgia Tech (3-4) at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
5. Duke (5-2 Overall, 1-2 Conference) (LW: #3)
Duke came out of the gate so hot but after their 4-0 start, the Blue Devils are 1-2 in the last three weeks. They looked sloppy against Virginia, throwing a pick and committing five penalties for 52 yards before halftime. The good news is that they’re still destined for an insignificant bowl game and they’ve got Pitt up next.
Up next: Saturday 10/27 at Pittsburgh (3-4) at 3:30 p.m. on ACC Network
6. Miami (5-2 Overall, 2-1 Conference) (LW: #8)
Fresh off the bye, Miami is turning back to Malik Rosier in hopes he can provide a spark for their upcoming matchup against Boston College. Rosier started the first four games this season, but Mark Richt benched him in favor of redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry. Neither of the two QBs have been overly convincing, but Richt is saying Rosier gives them the best chance moving forward. Only time will tell.
Up next: Friday 10/26 at Boston College (5-2) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN
7. Syracuse (5-2 Overall, 2-2 Conference) (LW: #6)
Oh! Tommy DeVito! The comeback kid came off the bench in replacement of a struggling Eric Dungey and threw for 181 yards and 3 TDs in Syracuse’s 40-37 double overtime win against UNC. The Orange boast a top-20 defensive line in terms of total sacks with Kendall Coleman (7.0) and Alton Robinson (6.0) leading the way, and don’t forget about Andre Cisco, who’s four interceptions is tied for the second-most in college football.
Up next: Saturday 10/27 vs. #22 NC State (5-1) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2
8. Boston College (5-2 Overall, 2-1 Conference) (LW: #5)
The Eagles got skipped over by a few teams while they were on the bye. I bet you’d be surprised to know that for a team who runs the ball as much as BC does, Anthony Brown has the most passing TDs in the ACC (14). Star running back A.J. Dillon is listed as questionable for Friday’s game against Miami; he’s missed the last two with an ankle injury.
Up next: Friday 10/26 vs. Miami (5-2) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN
9. Florida State (4-3 Overall, 2-3 Conference) (LW: #12)
Deondre Francois threw for a season-high 353 yards and led Florida State to 38 straight points to overcome a slow start against Wake Forest. Francois currently leads the ACC in yards (1,859) and his 13 TDs is the second most amongst the league. Rush end Brian Burns added two more sacks to his resume to push his season-total to 9.0, a number that currently leads the ACC and ranks second amongst the NCAA.
Up next: Saturday 10/27 vs. #2 Clemson (7-0) at 12:00 p.m. on ABC
10. Pittsburgh (3-4 Overall, 2-1 Conference) (LW: 11)
Pitt followed up their near upset against Notre Dame with a bye week, so they should be pretty recharged entering a matchup with Duke in which they’ve previously won the last three times these have teams met.
Up next: Saturday 10/27 vs. Duke (5-2) at 3:30 p.m. on ACC Network
11. Georgia Tech (3-4 Overall, 1-3 Conference) (LW: #10)
Well that was fun, Georgia Tech. After back-to-back weeks in which they scored 60+ points and 530+ yards per game, the Yellow Jackets returned to true form against real competition and mustered a measly 14 points. Their three wins have come against Alcorn State, Bowling Green State, and Louisville, and realistically they’ve got one more winnable game left on their schedule.
Up next: Thursday 10/25 at Virginia Tech (4-2) at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
12. Wake Forest (3-4 Overall, 0-3 Conference) (LW: #9)
Besides Louisville (who they play this week), Wake Forest is the only team currently without a conference win. The Demon Deacons are coming off a 38-17 loss to Florida State but despite their flaws, they still possess the ACC’s leading receiver in Greg Dortch, who’s caught 52 passes for 616 yards and 5 TDs, so they’ve got that going for ‘em.
Up next: Saturday 10/27 at Louisville (2-5) at 12:00 p.m. on ACC Network
13. North Carolina (1-5 Overall, 1-3 Conference) (LW: #13)
I really thought UNC was going to pick up a nice little win against Syracuse and move up a few spots, but alas, here we are. Despite forcing double overtime, the Tar Heels just couldn’t hang on any longer and dropped their third straight loss.
Up next: Saturday 10/27 at Virginia (5-2) at 12:20 p.m. on ACC Network
14. Louisville (2-5 Overall, 0-4 Conference) (LW: #14)
Coming off a bye week, the Cards are actually favored entering this week’s matchup against Wake Forest. Is 3-9 any easier to stomach than 2-10? Stay tuned to find out!
Up next: Saturday 10/27 vs. Wake Forest (3-4) at 12:00 p.m. on ACC Network