1. Florida State (8-0, 6-0 ACC) Last Week 1
Result: (W 41-14 vs. Miami)
This Week: at Wake Forest
Florida State did not play anywhere near their best game last night and they still won by 27 points. Jameis Winston threw two interceptions and the offensive line had several false start penalties. Nevertheless, the Seminoles still outgained the Hurricanes by nearly 250 yards and had the ball for 17 more minutes. Last night Florida State fans started chanting "we want Bama," which is a bit presumptuous on the part of Noles fans. I fully anticipate Florida State will go undefeated the rest of the regular season, but even though they were second in the latest BCS rankings, the fans should be rooting for Stanford to beat Oregon this Thursday. According to Brad Edwards of ESPN, Oregon would be expected to pass Florida State again in next week's rankings if the Ducks win.
The only way they come even remotely close to slipping up against Wake Forest is if Jameis Winston can't see. That did remind of the great Chris Farley sketch on SNL. Hey dad, i can't see real good, is that Bill Shakespeare over there?
2. Clemson (8-1, 6-1 ACC) Last Week 2
Result: (W 59-10 at Virginia)
This Week: BYE
This was simply a dominant performance by a superior team. Congratulations to Tajh Boyd who broke Philip Rivers' ACC record for total touchdowns. The Tigers outgained the Cavaliers by more than 300 yards and this game was never in doubt. Clemson will now have a bye week before taking on Georgia Tech on a Thursday night in their final ACC game of the season. If Clemson wins, then it will be their second consecutive season finishing 7-1 in the ACC. Of course, what Clemson fans really care about is beating South Carolina on November 30th.
3. Miami (7-1, 3-1 ACC) Last Week 3
Result: (L 41-14 at Florida State)
This Week: vs. Virginia Tech
Miami held their own against Florida State better than I imagined. The fact that it was a 27 point game just shows you how highly I think of Florida State. This was the best showing any team has had against Florida State all season. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes (and ACC football fans), Miami will be without star running back Duke Johnson for the remainder of the season due to a broken right ankle. Miami will not be able to sulk about it though, as their focus needs to immediately shift towards Virginia Tech, who will be coming to Coral Gables this weekend. Miami can probably afford to lose one more time and still make it to the ACC Championship game, but they can't be losing games at home.
4. Duke (6-2, 2-2 ACC) Last Week 4
This Week: vs. North Carolina State
Duke sat at home during their bye week and watched their chance of winning the ACC Coastal increase. Both Miami and Virginia Tech lost so Duke now "controls their own destiny." But if it's their destiny do they really control it? Sorry, just pointing out what a terrible expression that is. Moving on, Duke will now face North Carolina State in a game which they are favored by 10 points. The Wolfpack are losers of four straight and have given up 32 points per game during that stretch. I look for the Blue Devils to move to 7-2 and keep their division title hopes alive.
5. Georgia Tech (6-3, 5-2 ACC) Last Week 6
Result: (W 21-10 vs. Pittsburgh)
This Week: BYE
It was a methodical victory for Paul Johnson's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech averaged more than 5 yards per rush and they actually forced Pittsburgh to have negative rushing yards. It was a huge victory for Georgia Tech as is it gives them bowl eligibility and there is certainly no guarantee they'll beat another FBS opponent for the rest of the season. The Yellow Jackets have a bye this week before traveling to Clemson to take on the Tigers on a Thursday night.
6. North Carolina (3-5, 2-3 ACC) Last Week 8
Result: (W 27-19 at North Carolina State)
This Week: vs. Virginia
Don't look now, but the Tar Heels are actually playing some pretty solid football right now. Their two quarterback system continues to work and forces opposing defensive coordinators to plan for multiple offenses. With the win Carolina moved to 3-5 on the season, and I fully expect they'll get win number four when they host Virginia this week. I've been saying it for weeks-this team will make a bowl game.
7. Boston College (4-4, 2-3 ACC) Last Week 9
Result: (W 34-27 vs. Virginia Tech)
This Week: at New Mexico State
Coach Addazio won't have to talk about moral victories this week because the Eagles sealed the deal in this one. Boston College got outgained pretty significantly by Virginia Tech, but they were opportunistic and forced four Virginia Tech turnovers. Andre Williams went as a monster for Halloween and he finished with 162 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries, including this 62 yarder which he took to the crib. Boston College will now travel all the way to New Mexico State, who is 1-8 on the year. After BC wins this one, they'll need to beat just one of N.C. State, Maryland or Syracuse in order to go bowling. I think they're going to get it done.
8. Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2 ACC) Last Week 5
Result: (L 34-27 at Boston College)
This Week: at Miami
Logan Thomas was back to his old bag of tricks against Boston College when he had more turnovers than a bakery. He had so many I think he was even eligible for a bulk discount. Virginia Tech outgained Boston College by more than 150 yards, but when your quarterback has four turnovers you can just can't expect to win road conference games. Virginia Tech, who is coming off back-to-back losses must now travel to Miami in a game that could very well decide the winner of the Coastal. If Virginia Tech can win this game, then I expect them to win the Coastal because their other two games are against Maryland and Virginia. But I just can't see them winning this one.
9. Syracuse (4-4, 2-2 ACC) Last Week 12
Result: (W 13-0 vs. Wake Forest)
This Week: at Maryland
With all due respect to Syracuse, they did not play a very good game against Wake Forest on Saturday. Their 11 punts is probably a good indication of that. I give them credit, however, they won the game and absolutely deserved to win. Syracuse now has four games to win two games in order to become bowl eligible. They won't win in Tallahassee, so it all comes down to them having to win two out of three against Maryland, Pittsburgh and Boston College. I do not expect them to earn a bowl berth, but then again I didn't think they'd beat Wake Forest.
10. Wake Forest (4-5, 2-4 ACC) Last Week 7
Result: (L 13-0 at Syracuse)
This Week: vs. Florida State
I try not to overreact to things, but I think it's fairly safe to say that Wake's season is over for all intents and purposes. Wake Forest simply had to have this game and instead, the Wake Forest offense and myself made it into the endzone the same amount of times. Just too many unforced penalties and lack of cohesion on the offensive side of the ball. I felt that we attempted far too many horizontal screen passes when Syracuse was defending it well. Our defense was outstanding and limited Syracuse to 13 points, yet our offense came nowhere near scoring all afternoon. If you want my extended thoughts on the game, be sure to check out the podcast. With regards to adjustments the bottom line is that our team is going against coaching staffs who are getting real-time Twitter updates and our coaching staff is not getting the news until they read the morning paper.
As most of you know, Michael Campanaro is likely out for the year due to a broken collarbone and therefore his Wake Forest career will also be over. Mike, if you're reading this, it was truly a pleasure to watch you play over the past four seasons. You've given me a tremendous amount of pride seeing such a great player/person represent Wake Forest University and it's an added bonus that we're both originally from the state of Maryland. I look forward to watching you on Sundays and I know you'll be causing NFL defensive coordinators fits just like you did to ACC defensive coordinators.
11. Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-3 ACC) Last Week 10
Result: (L 21-10 at Georgia Tech)
This Week: vs. Notre Dame
Pittsburgh certainly didn't have a strong showing in their game at Georgia Tech. The Panthers managed just 228 total yards. Oddly enough they had more passing yards than total yards because they had negative rushing yards. I've heard it's hard to win when you have negative rushing yards. Now this team must somehow find a way to win two of their remaining four games in order to become bowl eligible. It won't be easy this week when they take on #23 Notre Dame.
12. Maryland (5-3, 1-3 ACC) Last Week 11
This Week: vs. Syracuse
Maryland was off this past week and hopefully that allowed this team to get a bit healthier before taking on Syracuse this week. This game is critical for the Terps because it is their best remaining chance at clinching a bowl berth. After starting off the season 5-1 it would be a colossal failure for them not to make a bowl game.
13. North Carolina State (3-5, 0-5 ACC) Last Week 14
Result: (L 27-19 vs. North Carolina)
This Week: at Duke
The Wolfpack can copy ECU's field, but they can't copy the way the Pirates play against Carolina. N.C. State went up 10-0, but then the Tar Heels outscored the Wolfpack 27-9 to finish with a 27-19 victory. N.C. State has now lost four in a row after starting out the season 3-1. It continues to look less and less likely that this team will make a bowl game and I expect them to lose to Duke next week and go 0-3 on the season against ACC teams from North Carolina.
14. Virginia (2-7, 0-5 ACC) Last Week 13
Result: (L 59-10 vs. Clemson)
This Week: at North Carolina
Virginia is simply not a very good football team. Despite the fact that Mike London and his staff have been recruiting at very high levels, they simply aren't producing on the field. Excluding their 49-0 win over FCS opponent VMI, Virginia has been outscored by 19 points per game. Virginia now just has three games remaining and will be underdogs in all three. I fully anticipate a 2-10 season in Charlottesville.
But what do I know? What do you all think?