We’ve reached the halfway point of the season for most of the ACC teams. Not many surprises as we knew the top tier coming into the season and were pretty sure of the bottom as well. That big shrug in the middle is the same any year anyways. 2020!
1. Clemson Tigers (5-0, 4-0)
Last game: win at GT 73-7. This week: vs. Syracuse
Georgia Tech is like at least 8 rungs below Clemson when it comes to a talent deficit. The biggest point difference in ACC football history and this week they play a team who is arguable worse than the Yellow Jackets. Eesh.
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0, 3-0)
Last game: win 12-7 vs. Louisville. This week: at Pitt
Certainly what you want to see from the only team that might challenge Clemson this season: scoring 12 points against the team with arguably the worst defense in the conference. Defense held its end of the bargain, but the Irish have to do better.
3. Miami-Florida Hurricanes (4-1, 3-1)
Last game: win 31-19 vs. Pitt. This week: vs. UVA
While most teams have a down week coming off getting murder-trucked by Clemson, the Hurricanes responded nicely with a comfortable 12 point win against Pitt. D’Eriq King had a decent game through the air with 222 yards and 4 TDs, but with 2 picks and leading the team rushing with only 32 yards, the Hurricanes are going to need more from their offense.
4. Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1, 3-1)
Last game: win 40-14 vs. BC. This week: at Wake
The Hokies shrugged off their hard fought loss to the Heels from the week before with a shellacking of BC. Wake, Louisville, Liberty over the next three weeks should not be too hard of a challenge, but Miami, Pitt, Clemson loom in November.
5. North Carolina Tar Heels (3-1, 3-1)
Last game: loss 31-28 at FSU. This week: vs. NC State
Coming off a thrilling victory and looking forward to an in-state rivalry game leads to laying an egg against....FSU? 2020 is wild.
6. N.C. State Wolfpack (4-1, 4-1)
Last game: win 31-20 vs. Duke. This week: at UNC
The Wolfpack had been a different team with Devin Leary behind center but now that he is out, will they revert back to the team that squeaked by Wake and lost handedly to VT?
7. Pittsburgh Panthers (3-3, 2-3)
Last game: loss 31-19 at Miami. This week: vs. ND
It’s been a rough three game stretch for the Panthers losing all three of their games by a combined 14 points. With ND, VT, and Clemson still on the schedule, it doesn’t look like getting to .500 will be in the cards this year.
8. Boston College Eagles (3-2, 2-2)
Last game: loss 40-14 at VT. This week: vs. GT
BC is probably winning the games they are supposed to win and losing the ones they are supposed to lose. Credit to them because that at least creates stability within the program and sets expectations. Beating the Yellow Jackets this weekend would keep that streak going.
9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-2, 1-2)
Last game: win 40-23 vs. UVA. Next game: vs. VT
Wake ended up with the W and rightfully so, but was gift wrapped more than a few points in the game against UVA. They are by no means a good football team, but not many in the ACC are at this point.
10, Florida State Seminoles (2-3, 1-3)
Last game: win 31-28 vs. UNC. Next game: at Louisville
Ultimately the Noles won, which is what matters in the end, but after going up 24-0, I am not sure being outscored the rest of the way 28-7 is all that inspiring. They were outgained by the Heels by more than 100 yards and had 12 penalties on the night. Usually that doesn’t produce wins.
11. Virginia Cavaliers (1-3, 1-3)
Last game: loss 40-23 at Wake. This week: at Miami
The once vaunted defense and heralded secondary has seemingly turned into a sieve. They are averaging allowing nearly 40 points a game over the last three. That isn’t going to cut it in any year and certainly not when your starting QB goes down.
12. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-3, 2-2)
Last game: loss 73-7 vs. Clemson. This week: at BC
We’ll just ignore their last game. GT is playing some better football, which under a complete rebuild like Geoff Collins has in year 2 is really all you can ask. BC this week and Duke in late November are likely their best shots for more wins so they really need to come out firing this weekend.
13. Louisville Cardinals (1-4, 0-4)
Last game: loss 12-7 at ND. This week: vs. FSU
Nothing has really gone that well for the Cardinals this year after coming in with some fairly lofty expectations. Slap fight with FSU could fix what ails them.
14. Duke Blue Devils (1-5, 1-5)
Last game: loss 31-20 at NC State. Next game: vs. Charlotte (10/31)
Cutcliffe Wizard gets a week off to regroup before their out of conference game. Wake, GT, and FSU finish up their season and could Duke win all of those games? Sure. Could they lose all 3? Of course.
15. Syracuse Orange (1-4, 0-3)
Last game: loss 38-21 vs. Liberty. Next game: at Clemson
First rule is to never schedule Liberty in anything. Let’s just hope they were overlooking them and looking forward to this week at Clemson. Not a smart thing to do, but it is something they could do.