Ugh. Why is the ACC so bipolar? Just when you think you have these teams figured out, they show you a side of them that you never knew existed. I hadn’t even finished praising Virginia Tech for their undefeated conference record before they spited me with a loss. And how about Pitt with a legitimate shot at being crowned Coastal division champs? Or NC State with back-to-back losses? Wake Forest dropping 56?!?!!
I suppose these things shouldn’t come as a surprise at this point, but that doesn’t mean they make any sense whatsoever. Here’s where I’ve got everybody as we head into the 10th week of the college football season.
1. #2 Clemson (8-0 Overall, 5-0 Conference) (LW: #1)
Clemson handed Florida State its worst home loss in program history on Saturday. Surprisingly, the Tigers failed to find the end zone in the first quarter, marking only the second time this year they’ve been held scoreless during the first 15 minutes of a game. The drought didn’t last long, though, as the team exploded for 28 points in the second quarter and 24 in the third to put the game way out of reach. Clemson’s defense combined for 14 tackles-for-loss and held the Seminoles to just 247 yards of total offense and -21 rushing. Yes, you read that right, Florida State finished with -21 yards on the ground despite 35 attempts. LMAOOO yikes.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 vs. Louisville (2-6) at 12:00 p.m. on ABC
2. #23 Virginia (6-2 Overall, 4-1 Conference) (LW: #3)
The Cavs haven’t been bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons since ’04 and ’05. Last week, I said I was giving Bronco Mendenhall hella love because prior to his arrival, it had been seven years since UVA last had a winning season. From 2-10 to 6-7 to their current record of 6-2, the Cavs are a legitimate squad with a defense that ranks amongst the top 20 in yards allowed and yards per play. Cornerback Bryce Hall leads the ACC in passes defended with 18 (16 breakups, 2 INTs), doubling the stats of the next closest defender in the league. Olamide Zaccheaus recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving performance of the year, hauling in 10 receptions for 108 yards. After eight games, he’s got the third-most yards amongst the conference (690), second-most receptions (56), and is tied for the most TDs (6).
Up next: Friday 11/2 vs. Pitt (4-4) at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2
3. #22 Syracuse (6-2 Overall, 33-2 Conference) (LW: #7)
Up four spots from last week, Syracuse pulled off the upset against then-ranked No. 22 NC State to become bowl eligible for the first time in five years. After struggling last week against UNC and being benched in favor of Tommy “The Comeback Kid” DeVito, senior Eric Dungey accounted for 443 of Syracuse’s 561 total yards and 4 TDs in the win. Dungey also became the Orange’s career total offense leader with 10,064 yards, surpassing the previous record of 9,950 held by the legendary Donovan McNabb. Syracuse is ranked for the first time since 2001 and will probably be chilling up here in the conference power rankings for a little bit with Wake Forest and Louisville on deck.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 at Wake Forest (4-4) at 12:00 p.m. on ACC Network
4. #24 Boston College (6-2 Overall, 3-1 Conference) (LW: #8)
AJ Dillon was listed as questionable headed into BC’s Friday night matchup with Miami, but he rumbled his way to 149 yards and a TD in the 27-14 win. Despite missing two-and-a-half games this season due to a nagging ankle injury, Dillon still ranks second amongst the league in rushing yards (801). Hamp Cheevers also intercepted his fifth pass of the year to improve his ACC-leading total.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 at Virginia Tech (4-3) at 3:45 p.m. on ACC Network
5. NC State (5-2 Overall, 2-2 Conference) (LW: #2)
When NC State lost to Clemson two weeks ago, I didn’t punish the Wolfpack in the rankings. I thought to myself, “well, they’re still better than the rest of the field…”
However, after dropping their second game in a row, the red team from Raleigh is on a three-spot slide. Ryan Finley still continued to shine despite his team’s loss; he finished the day with 473 yards and 3 TDs. Kelvin Harmon also added a notable performance on offense, hauling in 11 passes for 247 yards and 2 TDs. State’s defense was led by Germain Pratt, who tallied a career-high 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks totaling a loss of 21 yards. The senior linebacker leads the conference in total tackles (73) and solo tackles (45). And for the record, I still think NC State is closest thing the conference has to offer in terms of second-best.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 vs. Florida State (4-4) at 3:30 p.m. on ABC
6. Virginia Tech (4-3 Overall, 3-1 Conference) (LW: #4)
I was high on the Hokies last week because of their undefeated record amongst ACC-play. But faced with college football’s most productive rushing offense last Thursday night, Virginia Tech’s momentum quickly dissipated. VT surrendered 465 yards to Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack, which was led by their backup quarterback. In fact, it was the most rushing yards allowed by Virginia Tech since SMU ran for 500 in 1973. I’m sure that’s not the #throwbackthursday moment the Hokies were looking for, but here we are.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 vs. #24 Boston College (6-2) at 3:45 p.m. on ACC Network
7. Pittsburgh (4-4 Overall, 3-1 Conference) (LW: #10)
The Panthers are up three spots after a gritty win against Duke in the final seconds of a game that saw the two teams combine for 1,254 yards of total offense. Pitt finished with 484 rushing yards, second-most in school history. Qadree Ollison, who currently ranks third amongst the ACC in rushing yards, led the team with 149 yards and a TD on 18 carries, followed by 137 yards and 2 TDs from V’Lique Carter. But it was Maurice Ffrench (yes, that’s spelled correctly) whose 25-yard touchdown catch with five seconds left in the game propelled the Panthers to victory.
Up next: Friday 10/2 at #23 Virginia (6-2) at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2
8. Duke (5-3 Overall, 1-3 Conference) (LW: #5)
Duke was in control of virtually the entire game against Pitt until they got to the fourth quarter. There, they allowed Pitt to score two touchdowns, a field goal, and record a safety. It wasn’t all bad for the Blue Devils, though, as Deon Jackson set the single-game record for all-purpose yards at 403. Jackson rushed 10 times for 162 yards, caught three passes for 89 yards and a TD, and returned six kickoffs for 152 yards. He also became just the third player in ACC history with 400 or more all-purpose yards in a game.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 at Miami (5-3) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2
9. Miami (5-3 Overall, 2-2 Conference) (LW: #6)
Miami is on a two-game losing skid and has really struggled throughout the entire month of October; their only win this month was a one-point victory over Florida State. Mark Richt believed Malik Rosier gave his team the best chance to win and opted to go back to starting Rosier over N’Kosi Perry, but the senior disappointingly threw 2 INTs and went just 19-of-36 for 150 yards and a TD in the loss.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 vs. Duke (5-3) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2
10. Georgia Tech (4-4 Overall, 2-3 Conference) (LW: #11)
Despite missing their starting quarterback/leading rusher in TaQuon Marshall, the Yellow Jackets dominated Virginia Tech and reminded the Hokies why they’re the NCAA’s leader in rushing offense. Saturday, Georgia Tech had nine players who rushed the ball, combining for 465 yards and 7 TDs. Stepping in for the injured Marshall was Tobias Oliver, who ran for 215 yards and 3 TDs of his own.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 at North Carolina (1-6) at 12:15 p.m. on ACC Network
11. Florida State (4-4 Overall, 2-4 Conference) (LW: #9)
Florida State was spectacularly embarrassing as a team against #2 Clemson. It wasn’t just simply that they were blown out by the Tigers, it was that they imploded in front of our eyes like teams with no discipline tend to do. The Seminoles committed 16 penalties for 134 yards… More than half of the 247 yards gained by their offense. In separate second-half incidents, both leading receiver Nyqwan Murray and linebacker Zaquandre White were ejected for throwing punches and will be forced to miss the first-half of their next game. Florida State’s offense finished with -21 yards rushing ON 35 ATTEMPTS in what was their worst home loss in program history.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 at NC State (5-2) at 3:30 p.m. on ABC
12. Wake Forest (4-4 Overall, 1-3 Conference) (LW: #12)
Only against Louisville could Wake Forest have three otherwise average players elevated to national recognition. Monday, the ACC announced that Matt Colburn, Carlos Basham Jr., and Cameron Glenn earned Player of the Week Honors for their respective performances against the Cards.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 vs. #22 Syracuse (6-2) at 12:00 p.m. on ACC Network
13. North Carolina (1-6 Overall, 1-3 Conference) (LW: #13)
The Tar Heels are on a four-game losing streak and haven’t moved from this spot in a month. Don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 vs. Georgia Tech (4-4) at 12:15 p.m. on ACC Network
14. Louisville (2-5 Overall, 0-4 Conference) (LW: #14)
I really wanted to leave this blurb simply as “we suck” and leave it at that, but just for fun, I’ll be specific:
· the offensive line has allowed 26 sacks for 150 yards, tied for 5th most in college football
· the defense ranks 121st in 3rd down percentage, allowing opponents to convert on the money down 48% of the time
· 110th in tackle-for-loss allowed
· 123rd in team sacks
· 125th in team tackles-for-loss
· 126th in turnover margin
· 102nd in total defense, 114th in scoring defense, 124th in rushing defense
· 113th in total offense, 114th in scoring offense, 118th in rushing offense
Louisville was favored by a point-and-a-half against Wake Forest and still managed to get busted by three scores to the only other team who was winless in conference-play. What made things worse was that the guy we dumped came in and glowed tf up on us for 243 yards and 3 TDs. NICE FOR WHAT.
Up next: Saturday 11/3 at #2 Clemson (8-0) at 12:00 p.m. on ABC