We have a unanimous No. 1 team in the power rankings and it isn’t the Clemson Tigers. That seemed virtually impossible no more than 45 days ago. 2021 is wild, man.
1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-0, 5-0)
Last game: win 45-7 vs. Duke. This week: at UNC
The Deacs complete their out of conference schedule this week against their ACC brethren, UNC. Undefeated through eight games, Wake is off to the best start in their school’s history. They’ve escaped a few games and are entering their hardest stretch with UNC, NC State, and Clemson in three straight weeks. According to the DraftKings Sportsbook, Wake Forest has the best odds—however improbable—to win the national championship at +10000.
2 (tie). Pittsburgh Panthers (6-2, 3-1)
Last game: loss 38-34 vs. Miami. This week: at Duke
Pitt gets to rebound with a practice game against the Blue Devils this week. The loss last week to the Hurricanes opened the Coastal back up to some chaos over the last month of the season. As it is written.
2 (tie). NC State Wolfpack (6-2, 3-1)
Last game: win 28-13 vs. Louisville. This week: at FSU
The Wolfpack got off the floor after losing to Miami two weeks ago with comfortable win over the Cardinals. With Wake still on the schedule they control their own destiny in their efforts to make ACC Championship Game.
4. Clemson Tigers (5-3, 4-2)
Last game: win 30-20 vs FSU. This week: at Louisville.
The Tigers won, but the ten point win is not indicative of how close the game was. This season is all but lost, but it will be interesting to see how engaged Jesus Dabo can keep his perennial playoff program down the stretch.
5. Virginia Cavaliers (6-3, 4-2)
Last game: loss 66-49 at BYU. This week: Bye
Putting up 80 point in the first half is one way for a game to go. The UVA defense continues to frustrate the hell out of everyone but perhaps the biggest loss of the evening was Brennan Armstrong to seemingly a rib injury. As Armstrong goes is how UVA will go.
6. Miami Hurricanes (4-4, 2-2)
Last game: win 38-34 at Pitt. This week: vs. GT
The Canes got on a roll at just the right time to keep their coach off a flaming hot seat with winning their last two games against ranked opponents. Amazingly they are still in the Coastal race with only 2 losses and a win over division leader Pitt.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels (4-4, 3-3)
Last game: loss 44-34 at ND. This week: at Wake
It’s almost basketball season in Chapel Hill, but don’t let UNC fans forget that they were ranked in the top 10 in the preseason and thought this team was going to the College Football Playoff.
8. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-4, 2-2)
Last game: win 26-17 at GT. This week: at BC
After losing three in a row the Hokies were able to get back on track with a win in Atlanta. BC hasn’t scared anyone in the ACC yet and with Duke coming next week, the Hokies are looking like they will be bowl bound yet again this season.
9. Louisville Cardinals (4-4, 2-3)
Last game: loss 28-13 at NC State. This week: vs. Clemson
Syracuse and Duke remain on the schedule, so the Cardinals should be able to get to 6 wins and a bowl, but a win over Clemson this week could produce a lot of goodwill for Scott Satterfield with the Cardinals’ fans.
10. Syracuse Orange (5-4, 2-3)
Last game: win 21-6 vs. BC. This week: Bye
This has been written on before but the Orange are 12 points away from being 8-1 and undefeated in the ACC. Instead, they have remaining games with trips to Louisville and NC State and a game against Pitt. They’re a win away from bowl eligibility, but don’t have any layups left.
11. Boston College Eagles (4-4, 0-4)
Last game: loss 21-6 at Syracuse. This week: vs. VT
The Eagles have lost four straight and only one of those losses was by less than 10 points. Theoretically they could get two more wins and a trip to a bowl, but that looks less and less likely every week.
12. Florida State (3-5, 2-3)
Last game: loss 30-20 at Clemson. This week: vs NC State
Credit to the Noles for continuing to fight in this dreadful season. Nobody can imagine FSU making a bowl game, but teams will almost certainly start to overlook them and maybe FSU could jump out and kill someone else’s season.
13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-5, 2-4)
Last game: loss 26-17 vs. VT. This week: at Miami
With four games remaining and the final two against Notre Dame and Georgia, it doesn’t look like a bowl game is happening for the Jackets. Given the rebuild and a win over UNC this season, Geoff Collins should remain off the hot seat this offseason, but it could get warm next year.
14. Duke Blue Devils (3-5, 0-4)
Last game: loss 45-7 at Wake. This week: vs. Pitt
The Blue Devils have lost their last two games by a combined score of 93-7 and they get to play a high powered offense in Pitt this week. Yeesh.