The inevitable is upon us. Clemson has clinched the Atlantic and all that is left is to see what terrible ACC teams scratch out 6 wins and which mediocre Coastal team is sacrificed to King Dabo. ALL HAIL KING DABO!
To the rankings.....
1. Clemson Tigers (11-0, 8-0). Last week: 1
Last game: win vs. Wake 52-3. This week: BYE
What we had hoped might be a good game to earn some respect for the conference turned into another blood bath. The only question that remains is will UVa fans cheer for Virginia Tech or Pitt in the ACC Championship Game to bring down the death star?
2. Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3, 4-2). Last week: 4
Last week: win at GT 45-0. This week: vs. Pitt
It feels like a different world from where we were two months ago with Duke blowing the doors off the Hokies and all of us wondering whether Justin Fuente would make it through the season. VPI has gone 5-1 since and control their own path to Charlotte. Of course they are peaking at the end of the season.
3. Virginia Cavaliers (7-3, 5-2). Last week: 2
Last week: BYE last week. This week: vs. Liberty
This year might become known as the “almost” year. An egg laying at Miami and Louisville coupled with the decimation of the defense has seemingly prevented the Cavaliers from a special season. This weekend could go a long way in inspiring any confidence in the fan base heading into rivalry week.
4. Miami-Florida Hurricanes (6-4, 4-3). Last week: 5
Last week: BYE last week. This week: at FIU
The Hurricanes have won three straight and taken some of the heat off Manny Diaz. They’ll be heavily favored in their final two (at FIU and at Duke) so they could be a somewhat fraudulent 8-4 team, get selected for the Orange Bowl, and lose by 40 to an ACC team. Then again, you could say that about just about any of the Coastal teams.
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-3, 3-3). Last week: 3
Last week: loss at Clemson 52-3. This week: vs. Duke
Two straight uncompetitive losses have taken some of the shine of the Wake season but ending the season against Duke and Cuse could give them two more wins to get to 9-3. Ending the season 9-3 likely gets the Deacs ranked heading into bowl season and with Sage Surratt and Jamie Newman returning next year, their should be confidence for the Deacons in 2020.
6. Pittsburgh Panthers (7-3, 4-2). Last week: 6
Last week: win vs. UNC 34-27. This week: at VT
The Panthers have won six of their last seven but all by one of those 6 were single possession wins. With BC at the end of the season, this weekend’s game at Blacksburg should be viewed as their biggest game of the season. Win and they still have a chance at back to back Coastal titles.
7. Louisville Cardinals (6-4, 4-3). Last week: 8
Last week: win 34-20 at NC State. This week: vs. Syracuse
Scott Satterfield needs to thank his lucky stars Bobby Petrino left him Micale Cunningham. Cunningham has a 14-3 TD to INT ratio and is third on the team with 314 rushing yards. Satterfield has worked a legitimate miracle this season after most expected Louisville to be a dumpster fire entering the season.
8. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-6, 3-4). Last week: 7
Last week: loss 34-27 at Pitt. This week: vs. Mercer.
It is probably hard to be super excited about UNC’s season given the 4-6 record but all of their losses are by seven points or less. Mercer and NC State at the end of the season should get the Heels to six wins and a bowl in Mack Brown’s first season. Couple that with the recruiting miracles he has performed and the future looks good.
9. Florida State Seminoles (6-5, 4-4). Last week: 9
Last week: win 49-12 vs. Alabama State. This week: BYE
Well, the Noles will make another bowl this season. Their athletics foundation should be about bankrupt which could make it somewhat difficult to hire a big name. Fortunately Florida is pretty banged up so their rivalry game could be competitive. A win over the Gators save some positive memories for the season?
10. Boston College Eagles (5-5, 3-4). Last week: 11
Last week: BYE. This week: at Notre Dame.
Outside of beating Virginia Tech and Richmond to open the season the Eagles haven’t been able to run off back to back wins the rest of the season. Ending the season with two straight road games won’t help but who would really be surprised if BC upsets ND or Pitt to get to a bowl?
11. Syracuse Orange (4-6, 1-5). Last week: 13
Last week: win 49-6 at Duke. This week: at Louisville
After four straight weeks of losses and blowouts against Maryland and Clemson, what else would make sense other than Cuse laying the wood at Durham. A bowl game is probably a bridge too far this season and that has to be a huge disappointment after last season.
12. Duke Blue Devils (4-6, 2-4). Last week: 10
Last week: loss 49-6 vs. Cuse. This week: at Wake.
We thought Cutcliffe could work more magic after losing his NFL QB, but it looks like that might not come to fruition. Cutcliffe is now 65 and has been at Duke since 2008. It will be interesting to see how much longer he coaches.
13. N.C. State Wolfpack (4-7, 1-2). Last week: 12
Last week: loss 34-20 vs. Louisville. This week: loss 28-26 at Duke.
The Wolfpack fell behind GT 21-3 to start the game but stormed back in the second half to at least make their loss interesting. Like UVa, injuries have decimated the Wolfpack this year but will that be enough for NC State to let Dave Doeren keep coaching? He’s run off 5 straight bowls entering this season and back to back 9 win seasons in ‘17 and ‘18. Seems like fans in Raleigh think they are Clemson for some reason.
14. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-8, 2-6). Last week: 14
Last week: loss 45-0 vs. VT. This week: win 28-26 vs. NC State.
Credit to Geoff Collins for having his team keep the buy in for this season after how it’s gone. They likely don’t have a chance next week against Georgia but getting a win against NC State is a positive. Still, this season will be remembered for losing to a team that won’t be above .500 in the FCS. Though scheduling such a team should be a win and the GT athletic director should be commended!