1. Florida State (4-0, 2-0 ACC) Last Week 1
Result: (W 48-34 at Boston College)
This Week: vs. Maryland
Jameis Winston did his best Eli Manning impression when he completed this hail mary pass to Kenny Shaw to end the half with their first lead of the game and cap off a 21 point second quarter. Winston just wowed everyone on that play as he displayed his excellent elusiveness in the pocket and his outstanding arm strength on the throw. Winston had nearly 400 yards of total offense and had 4 touchdown passes to just 1 interception. Florida State started off very slow, trailing 17-3 20 minutes into the game, but Florida State demonstrated the true firepower of their offense when they outscored Boston College 45-10 over the next 27 minutes. Maryland comes to town next week and that should be a barn burner. I still, however, fully expect Florida State to win by at least two scores.
2. Clemson (4-0, 2-0 ACC) Last Week 2
Result: (W 56-7 vs. Wake Forest)
This Week: at Syracuse
If you tuned in a minute late, then you missed the Tigers' first touchdown. It took all of 46 seconds for Tajh Boyd to hit Sammy Watkins for a 64 yard touchdown. I don't think it's necessarily worth it to go over every play of this game, because I learned as much about Clemson in this game as I did when they played South Carolina State. Boyd only played the first two drives of the second half, before Dabo Swinney decided to put Cole Stoudt in the game. Thank you Dabo for having mercy on our souls. Stoudt was 10/11 and had a QBR of 95.0 against our defense. Clemson is still #2 this week in my rankings, but I became more impressed with Clemson when I saw that Georgia beat LSU.
3. Miami (4-0) Last Week 3
Result: (W 49-21 at South Florida)
This Week: vs. Georgia Tech
The score indicates that it was a romp, but it was even more lopsided than the score indicates. Miami was up 49-7 on South Florida headed into the 4th quarter before Al Golden and Miami called off the dogs. Stephen Morris was sensational and posted a QBR of 97.0 before leaving the game with a tweaked ankle. The Hurricanes will begin their ACC schedule this Saturday when they take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who are coming off a 17-10 loss against Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech really can't afford to fall to 0-2 in the conference with losses to Miami and Virginia Tech, so look for Miami to get Georgia Tech's best effort. Last season was a 42-36 OT thriller, so expect this one to be good as well.
4. Maryland (4-0) Last Week 5
This Week: at Florida State
Maryland fans, congratulations on making it back in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2011. For the past several weeks I have been saying that they deserve consideration, and I'm glad the AP voters gave them the recognition that they deserve. Their 37-0 thrashing of WVU looks even more impressive now that WVU upset #11 Oklahoma State. This week Maryland will open their ACC season and they will do so by traveling to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles. This will be by far their biggest test of the season, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they handle it. Look for this game to be a shootout and a great game to watch.
5. Virginia Tech (4-1, 1-0 ACC) Last Week 8
Result: (W 17-10 at Georgia Tech)
This Week: vs. North Carolina
I underrated just how good Virginia Tech's defense is. Very impressive performance to hold Georgia Tech to just 10 points at home. Holding East Carolina to just 10 points seems even more impressive now. Their offense is definitely a work in progress and will not get confused with the Denver Broncos anytime soon, but they are making adjustments and allowing Logan Thomas to run more as of late. I was incorrect earlier when I said that Virginia Tech was not a contender in the Coastal. I still maintain that they are fortunate/lucky to be 4-1, but this team is improving every week.
6. Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-1 ACC) Last Week 4
Result: (L 17-10 vs. Virginia Tech)
This Week: at Miami
When Georgia Tech only rushes for 129 yards, they usually don't win. #analysis I hope calling Vad Lee, "Bad Lee" doesn't become some terribly lame and inaccurate joke. He was forced to be more of a passer than he is accustomed against Virginia Tech, and he didn't exactly look like Peyton Manning, but he is still a young player who is a developing passer. Georgia Tech now enters a game at Miami that they must have if they want to win the Coastal.
7. North Carolina State (3-1, 0-1 ACC) Last Week 10
Result: (W 48-14 vs. Central Michigan)
This Week: at Wake Forest
Central Michigan is the opposite of good, but 48-14 is still an impressive win for NC State. In case you forgot, NC State won't leave the state of North Carolina until their road trip to take on Florida State on October 26th. In fact, they will only leave the state one other time on November 16th when they take on Boston College. No wonder they say #OurState. The Wolfpack now take on Wake Forest who is in absolute free fall. North Carolina State opens as a 9.5 point road favorite. From what I've been hearing I should expect to see a lot of red when I go to BB&T Field on Saturday. I might also see an airplane banner, but for that I'll just have to wait and find out.
8. Pittsburgh (3-1, 2-1 ACC) Last Week 7
Result: (W 14-3 vs. Virginia)
This Week: BYE
In a game where the two teams involved combined for just 387 total yards, Pitt at least made a big step towards bowl eligibility. Seriously, this game set football back 20 years. Pitt has this week off before traveling to Lane Stadium to take on Virginia Tech. If their offense struggled against UVA, it's scary to think what Virginia Tech's defense will do. I still believe they will sneak into a bowl game, but Tom Savage is going to need to play better than the 18.7 QBR he posted against Virginia.
9. Syracuse (2-2) Last Week 11
This Week: vs. Clemson
The scheduling committee really knows how to welcome a team to the ACC. Syracuse will play their first ever ACC game against the #3 team in the nation, Clemson. On the bright side, they don't have to go to Death Valley this year. To a Wake fan, their victory over Tulane seems more impressive because Tulane just beat ULM by two touchdowns on the road. So, there's that. It's not looking like Syracuse is going bowling this year, but I will say I have a higher opinion of them.
10. North Carolina (1-3, 0-2 ACC) Last Week 6
Result: (L 55-31 vs. East Carolina)
This Week: at Virginia Tech
Ruh-roh. The Tar Heels are in some serious trouble-not just in the Coastal, but it's absolutely possible that they do not make a bowl this season, and this time it won't be due to NCAA violations. North Carolina is playing matador defense and cannot stop anyone. East Carolina scored more against this Tar Heels defense than they did against Old Dominion. What's perhaps even more troubling for the Larry Fedora's Fed-Spread Offense is that Old Dominion scored more points against ECU than North Carolina did. When you're struggling, a trip to Lane Stadium against an incredible Virginia Tech defense isn't exactly what the doctor orders. The good news is that Carolina shouldn't have to change their itinerary that much because they are playing before 1 pm again.
11. Boston College (2-2, 1-1 ACC) Last Week 12
Result: (L 48-34 vs. Florida State)
This Week: vs. Army
I'm typically not one for moral victories, but I believe Boston College fans can take a lot of positives out of this game. They should be very proud their team got off to a hot start going against a team that is vastly more talented than they are. This team must beat Army next week if they want t overachieve in year one under Addazio and make a bowl. They should handle Army without any problems. There are good things to come for this BC program.
12. Duke (3-2, 0-2 ACC) Last Week 13
Result: (W 38-31 vs. Troy)
This Week: BYE
This game had to concern you if you are a Duke football fan. I emphasis the football in Duke football fan, because Duke fans and Duke football fans are most definitely not the same thing. Duke won, and I'll give them credit, but they allowed Troy to drop 31 on them. The Blue Devils have the week off and then they will take on Navy and their triple-option attack. Duke did not defend Georgia Tech's option well earlier this year, so the extra week of preparation will be a very good thing for them. If Duke does not beat Navy, then I do not believe they can make a bowl game.
13. Virginia (2-2, 0-1 ACC) Last Week 9
Result: (L 14-3 at Pittsburgh)
This Week: vs. Ball State
Virginia is just not a good football team and I think Mike London could be gone after this season. I really don't see any conceivable way this team gets to six wins. They are currently only 5.5 point favorites over Ball State this weekend, so this game isn't exactly a slam dunk either.
14. Wake Forest (2-3, 0-2 ACC) Last Week 14
Result: (L 56-7 at Clemson)
This Week: vs. North Carolina State
I really don't feel like commenting on this Wake-Clemson game, but I suppose I'm contractually obligated to do so. Not really much you can say about a 56-7 game other than South Carolina State "only" lost 52-13. The Deacs will look to rebound this week against an NC State Wolfpack team that appears to have found their offensive identity. I saw a great line on Twitter that Normandy was the only "must-win game," but this is pretty close for the Deacs. If Wake doesn't beat State, then they will begin a stretch where they play 3 top-25 teams in 4 games. The fan base is in a dangerous combination of anger/apathy that even sparked a poll on the OGBoards wondering if the fan base would be okay going to FCS in football if it meant making the NCAA Tournament in basketball each year. The football team absolutely must show up on Saturday. No Wake fan expected to beat Clemson (the line was 28 freaking points), but losing 56-7 is just not acceptable and not competitive. I'm okay with losing to better teams, but no team is 7 touchdowns better.