Halfway through the season and of course Clemson is the class of the conference. Please make it stop.
1. Clemson Tigers (6-0, 4-0)
Last week: win 31-3 at BC. This week: vs. FSU
We thought the Tigers were going to be able to coast after the NC State and Wake gauntlet, but now they’re looking at a trip to a resurgent Florida State followed up by back to back games against Syracuse and Miami. No, the national media will still say they have a super easy schedule.
2. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-1, 1-1)
Last week: win 45-10 vs. Army. This week: vs. BC
Wake continues to take care of business. The triple option wasn’t a problem last week for the Deacs and they’ll get to become bowl eligible after they handle Boston College. 2nd place in the Atlantic and possible NY6 bowl berth will still be on the line later in the year against NC State and Syracuse so Wake can’t relax just yet.
3. NC State Wolfpack (5-1, 1-1)
Last week: win 19-17 vs. FSU. This week: at Syracuse
It wasn’t all that pretty and State probably should have lost the game, but the defense turned up when it needed to most to force another interception. If the Wolfpack are going to be successful in the second half of the season, QB Devin Leary needs to play better than the 10-21, 130 yard, 1 TD, and 1 INT game he had last weekend against FSU.
4. Florida State Seminoles (4-2, 2-2)
Last week: loss 19-17 at NC State. This week: vs. Clemson
The Noles seemingly have the toughest Atlantic slate of the group. Coming off the last two games (losses) against Wake and NC State, they now get to host Clemson. FSU probably doesn’t have the horses and talent to stay with Clemson just yet, but the Tigers have looked vulnerable at times.
5. Syracuse Orange (5-0, 2-0)
Last week: Bye. This week: vs. NC State
Cuse is the clear darling of the conference in the first half of the season going undefeated, but the back half of the schedule might not be as kind. Trips to Clemson, Pitt, and Wake Forest go along with home games against NC State, Notre Dame, and FSU. They still have BC on the schedule, so a bowl game should be easily achievable.
6. North Carolina Tar Heels (5-1, 2-0)
Last week: win 27-24 at Miami. This week: at Duke
The Heels are flying under the radar after getting handled by ND a few weeks ago. They quietly dominated VT and beat Miami in Coral Gables. They’re in a prime position to win the Coastal if Drake Maye continues to shine as a redshirt Freshman.
7. Pittsburgh Panthers (4-2, 1-1)
Last week: win 45-29 vs. VT. This week: Bye
If the Panthers hadn’t dropped an absolute headscratcher of a game at home to Georgia Tech they’d likely be ranked and the favorite to win the Coastal again. Alas, they find themselves unranked and headed towards a showdown with UNC at the end of the month. They still control their own destiny, but can’t afford any more slip ups.
8. Miami Hurricanes (2-3, 0-1)
Last week: loss vs. UNC 27-24. This week: at VT.
The Canes have seven games left and need four more wins to get to a bowl in Mario Cristobal’s first year. Barring a sudden onset of decent football play, they’ll likely only be favored in four of those remaining games. They should easily get to six, but how crazy do Hurricane fans go if Mario fails to get to 6?
9. Duke Blue Devils (4-1, 1-1)
Last week: loss 23-20 at GT. This week: vs. UNC
The shine is starting to come off Duke a bit, though most should argue that this is already a successful season with four wins and BC and VT still on the schedule. Sophomore Riley Leonard has thrown for 1,312 yards and 8 TDs and the Blue Devils are averaging 190 yards on the ground per game.
10 (tie). Louisville Cardinals (3-3, 1-3)
Last game: win 34-17 at UVA. This week: Bye
Getting to play the Hoos is the cure for the common bad season. It is going to get really bad the rest of the season though. After playing Pitt next weekend, the Cardinals might have the toughest schedule in America with five straight games against ranked opponents including newcomer James Madison. Satterfield might have saved his job in Charlottesville for the time being, but not for long.
10 (tie). Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-3, 2-1)
Last week: win 23-20 vs. Duke. This week: Bye
Fire Geoff Collins and roll off two straight ACC victories. Amazing. Collins only won 10 games his entire tenure at Georgia Tech and only 7 of those came in the Conference. If interim head coach Brent Key can get another win or two (since UVA and VT remain) you have to think he’ll get serious consideration for the permanent position.
12. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-4, 1-2)
Last week: loss 45-29 at Pitt. This week: vs. Miami
For a defensive minded head coach and program, allowing nearly 500 yards of offense and 326 rushing yards, can’t feel great. Tech allowed Pitt’s Israel Abanikanda to break Tony Dorsett’s single game rushing record going for 320 yards and SIX touchdowns on the ground (!). The path to four more wins and a bowl game is looking bleak.
13. Boston College Eagles (2-4, 1-3)
Last week: loss 31-3 vs. Clemson. This week: at Wake
UConn remains on the schedule, and if you squint, maybe you can see another victory over Duke, but things aren’t great in Chestnut Hill. It will be interesting to see how new AD, Blake James, who was hired this past June handles the situation.
14. Virginia Cavaliers (2-4, 0-3)
Last week: loss 34-17 vs. Louisville. This week: Bye
We are straight up not having a good time right now.
Still trying to figure out what football games Wiley is watching.