Clemson’s reign of terror is long over. First NC State took the thrown. Now Wake Forest has taken the top spot. Nobody could have seen this coming.
1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-0, 4-0)
Last week: win 40-37 at Syracuse. This week: Bye
The Deacs escaped the Carrier Dome with a win. Win your clunkers to do big things. They’ve already achieved a bowl bid and with NC State, Clemson, and BC to end the season, they have their most important Atlantic games ahead of them.
2. NC State Wolfpack (4-1, 1-0).
Last week: Bye. This week: at BC
After a scare from Louisiana Tech after taking down Clemson, the Wolfpack had a bye to regroup and regain composure. They’ll have to as they take on a BC team who is seemingly going to fight for the Atlantic title with the Wolfpack.
3. Clemson Tigers (3-2, 2-1)
Last week: Bye. This week: at Syracuse
The Carrier Dome has been a house of horrors for college playoff Clemson teams in the past. The Orange just proved last week they can play a top team tough with an overtime game against Wake. Will be interesting to see if the Tigers can regroup and get their season back on track.
4. Pittsburgh Panthers (4-1, 1-0)
Last week: Bye. This week: at VT
The Panthers look like they could be the class of the ACC after all. Yes, the Pitt team that lost to Western Michigan at home could be the best team in the conference. It’s still a weird 2021.
5 (tie). Boston College Eagles (4-1, 0-1)
Last week: Bye. This week: vs. NC State
A loss to Clemson certainly makes the battle to win the Atlantic a little harder, but the Eagles still have NC State and Wake left on the schedule. One of those starts this weekend.
5 (tie). Virginia Tech Hokies (3-2, 0-1)
Last week: loss 32-29 vs. ND. This week: vs. Pitt.
Somehow the Hokies had their Bye week after their 4th game of the season. They’ll now have to withstand injuries and fatigue over the next 7 weeks after a heartbreaking defeat to Notre Dame last week. Fuente will likely get the Hokies to a bowl, but will that be enough to save his job?
7 (tie). North Carolina Tar Heels (3-3, 2-3)
Last week: loss 35-25 vs. FSU. This week: vs. Miami
Truly anything is possible. The Heels have now lost to arguably two of the worst teams in the conference in GT and FSU. Mack Brown can obviously still recruit, but can he still coach?
7 (tie). Virginia Cavaliers (4-2, 2-2)
Last week: win 34-33 at Louisville. This week: vs. Duke
Two straight road games won thanks to missed field goals. Wins are wins though. Now with Duke and GT over the next two weeks, the Cavaliers need to take care of business and lock up a bowl bid before October ends.
9 (tie). Louisville Cardinals (3-3, 1-2)
Last week: loss 34-33 vs. UVA. This week: Bye
Losers of two straight, the Cardinals are probably happy for the bye week to get back on track. Unfortunately they’ll get BC, NC State, and Clemson after the break so the schedule won’t get any easier.
9 (tie). Miami Hurricanes (2-3, 0-1)
Last week: Bye. This week: at UNC
Well, the Canes now know they won’t have D’Eriq King the rest of the season after the QB required shoulder surgery. With just 2 wins through 5 games, a bowl bid isn’t looking great given their recent performance. Will Manny Diaz be in Coral Gables next season?
11 (tie). Florida State Seminoles (2-4, 2-2)
Last week: win 35-25 at UNC. This week: vs. UMass
The team that was left for dead has won two in a row and with UMass this week, it’ll be three. They still won’t make a bowl game, but 4 wins is probably a success given what we thought they’d end up at the beginning of the season.
11 (tie). Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-3, 2-2)
Last week: win 31-25 at Duke. This week: Bye
The Yellow Jackets have alternated wins and losses since the beginning of the season. That would put them on pace for a loss this weekend in Charlottesville.
13. Syracuse Orange (3-3, 0-2)
Last week: loss 40-37 vs. Wake. This week: vs. Clemson
The Orange’s three losses are by a combined 16 points. 5-1 and 2-0 in the ACC would look so much better, but this is the hand they’ve played. They’ll get to host Clemson on Friday night in a game that could make their season.
14. Duke Blue Devils (3-3, 0-2)
Last week: loss 31-27 vs. GT. This week: at UVA
After running through the weak part of their out of conference schedule, the Blue Devils got to meet the ACC and it hasn’t been great. A bowl game in all likelihood isn’t going to happen, but they could knock off another win or two down the stretch against a team that doesn’t take them seriously.
Here’s how the STL writers’ votes shook out. Special thanks to Wiley for participating.