We saw quite the week in the ACC play. Florida State barely escaped from Blacksburg with a win, and Georgia Tech putting up basketball like numbers in Chapel Hill. With everything we've seen, I thought it was time to make a new number one. Clemson is deserving of that spot, and Dabo Swinney is in the process of turning them into a National Championship contender.
1. Clemson (W 45-10 vs. Maryland) (9-1, 6-1) LW 2
Next Week: vs. North Carolina State
It's time to reward domination. The Tigers have been nothing short of exceptional as of late, and they may have the second best offense in the nation behind Oregon. DeAndre Hopkins has turned into a serious deep threat this season. Hopkins is averaging nearly 17 yards per reception and has 14 touchdowns on the season. If they played Florida State on a neutral field this week, I would pick Clemson to win.
2. Florida State (W 28-22 at Virginia Tech ) (9-1, 6-1) LW 1
Next Week: at Maryland
Rashad Greene is faaaaast. It looked like he was floating to the endzone at the end of the game on Thursday. While Florida State did not live up to (my) pre-season National Championship expectations, I still fully expect them defeat Maryland and then win the ACC Championship (probably against Miami).
3. Georgia Tech (W 68-50 at North Carolina) (5-5, 4-3) LW 5
Next Week: vs. Duke
Yes, you read that correctly. Georgia Tech hung 68 points on the Carolina defense. Their basketball team only topped 68 points 9 times all last season. Clearly Georgia Tech's defense needs work (they still gave up 50), but their triple-option is clicking on all cylinders now. They face Duke this week in an absolute must-win game for bowl eligibility. If they do not beat the Blue Devils, then they will have to defeat Georgia in Athens , which won't be easy. I expect Georgia Tech to win fairly easily. Vlad Lee is going to be a force for years to come.
4. Miami (L 41-40 at Virginia) (5-5, 4-3) LW 3
Next Week: vs. South Florida
I don't want to call this upcoming game against South Florida meaningless, because if Miami wins then they become bowl eligible. However, their far more important game will be the following week when the Hurricanes travel to Durham to take on the Blue Devils. If Miami can win that one, then they will win the Coastal Division and play in the ACC Championship Game.
5. North Carolina State (W 37-6 vs. Wake Forest) (6-4, 3-3) LW 6
Next Week: at Clemson
I think the biggest remedy for playing poor football is to take on Wake in your home stadium. Mike Glennon is a solid quarterback, but Wake made him look like the second coming of Peyton Manning on Saturday. He was picking Wake's defense apart and it would've been even worse had it not been for all of their drops. They had the ball for 36 minutes, and that number is deceptively low because they had a 100 yard kickoff return to start the second half. State becomes bowl eligible with this win, but should get rocked by Clemson this weekend.
6. North Carolina (L 68-50 vs. Georgia Tech) (6-4, 3-3) LW 4
Next Week: at Virginia (Thursday)
How do you allow 68 points in any game let alone at home? That's just pathetic. They allowed 588 yards of offense and a 100 yard kickoff return to start the second half. They now travel to Charlottesville to take on a Cavaliers team playing with pride and has survived their last two bowl berth elimination games. Given that Carolina has nothing to play for on Thursday, I wouldn't be shocked at all to see Virginia take care of business.
7. Virginia (W 41-40 vs. Miami) (4-6, 2-4) LW 10
Next Week: vs. North Carolina (Thursday)
Michael Rocco was nothing short of sensational in this game. He threw for 300 yards, had 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also orchestrated a game-winning drive that resulted in a 10 yard pass to Jake McGee with 10 seconds remaining. Virginia now has a fast turnaround and faces the Tar Heels on Thursday night. Virginia is playing hard right now. Even though they are underdogs, I expect them to pull out the victory on Thursday because they want it more. I know that cliche if often overused, but I truly think it applies in this case where one team is two wins away from bowl eligibility and the other has no postseason eligibility.
8. Virginia Tech (L 28-22 vs. Florida State) (4-6, 2-4) LW 9
Next Week: at Boston College
Virginia Tech was extremely resilient in the second half on Thursday. The settling for field goals is what ultimately cost them. The Hokies must now win out to become bowl eligible. It all starts with a road game at Boston College, which the Hokies should win. If things play out like I expect them to, then Virginia and Virginia Tech will meet on November 24th with bowl eligibility on the line.
9. Duke (BYE) (6-4, 3-3) LW 8
Next Week: at Georgia Tech
Duke will have their hands full with this Yellow Jacket offense that just dropped 68 points on the Tar Heels. If Duke can somehow beat Georgia Tech this week, their game against Miami on the 24th will determine the winner of the Coastal Division.
10. Wake Forest (L 37-6 at North Carolina State) (5-5, 3-5) LW 7
Next Week: at Notre Dame
What else is there to say other than this was an embarrassing performance? We had no energy, and we gave our worst effort of the year in one of our final two legitimate chances at earning a bowl berth (see 24 point underdog at Notre Dame). We didn't come in with a game plan to win and it showed. Now it all comes down to a home game against Vanderbilt on the 24th. By defeating Ole Miss, Vanderbilt clinched a bowl berth, so we can only hope that the Commodores feel content when they come into Winston-Salem and don't have any urgency.
11. Boston College (L 21-6 vs. Notre Dame) (2-8, 1-5) LW 12
Next Week: vs. Virginia Tech
This game was closer than expected, but it still was never really in doubt. Boston College has been essentially non-competitive in 5 of their 6 ACC games this season. I expect that trend to continue for their final two games against Virginia Tech and North Carolina State, respectively.
12. Maryland (L 45-10 at Clemson) (4-6, 2-4) LW 11
Next Week: vs. Florida State
You can only overcome but so many injuries. Now converted linebacker Shawn Petty must go against the stout Florida State defense. This promises to end very poorly for the Terps. If they can remain relatively healthy at quarterback next season then I expect them to be bowl eligible. I believe Randy Edsall is growing on the Maryland fan base. He will need to get it done next year, though, or else fans may demand a change.