The ACC’s good record took a hit this week.
It has been evident after Clemson beat Syracuse, but this week the Tigers punched their ticket to the ACC Championship Game despite an ugly first loss to Notre Dame. Syracuse dropped their game against Coastal foe Pittsburgh to ensure Clemson’s spot. North Carolina sits pretty with a clean 5-0 record in conference play but there is an outside chance for Duke or Georgia Tech. North Carolina would need to lose all three of its remaining games for either to have a chance though.
Virginia and Virginia Tech both tried to snag some wins this week but had heartbreaking losses to North Carolina and Georgia Tech. They both take the bottom of the Coastal and their rivalry to end the season will decide who gets the basement.
The Atlantic had propped up the conference perception this year, but Wake Forest and Syracuse are now racking up multiple losses and will both be at risk of dropping out of the Top 25 this week. FSU is coming on strong here late, but some early season losses haven’t helped their cause for a good bowl game. On a good note, the Atlantic will boast 6 of their 7 teams making a bowl this year with only Boston College missing out. The Coastal has two making the cut so far with UNC and Duke. Pitt is a win away and should claim another win in its final three. Virginia Tech is out and Virginia has to win out, but Miami and Georgia Tech could sneak in with two wins of their remaining three. They will face each other this week so there will be one for somebody, but both teams have a brutal final stretch.
- Clemson – The first loss of the season was a rough one for the Tigers. Notre Dame pulled away quickly and Clemson tried to make it look respectable with two touchdowns in the end but it was truly garbage time by the fourth quarter. The final three should be winnable but Clemson may have lost its footing for a playoff spot.
- North Carolina – The Tar Heels took a scare this week against Virginia who led most of the first half. UNC settle down and managed to pull to a 10-point lead in the fourth. It wasn’t a typical day for the offense and Maye struggled to pass against a pretty good defensive unit.
- Florida State – The Seminoles made quick work of Miami on the road in a game that was over by the second quarter. The Miami offense has struggled lately but FSU has also made an improvement on defense and starting to look like one of the top teams in the ACC again. FSU has Syracuse who is sliding, Louisiana, and Florida left to play. It’s reasonable to think they can win out.
- North Carolina State – MJ Morris has done a phenomenal job taking over the QB role and leading this team to victory. They snuck by a bad Virginia Tech team last week but took care of business against a fairly good Wake Forest. Boston College should be another win next week and a big matchup with rival UNC awaits the last week.
- Pittsburgh – Things get harder to decide for the middle of the conference. Pittsburgh got a nice win over Syracuse who wasn’t far from beating Clemson. The offense isn’t going to beat anyone who can put up points but the defense has stepped up in some games. Still, some bad losses will weigh on this season.
- Louisville – Louisville had a slow start but is currently on a four-game win streak. Their win this week was over James Madison who is in their first year of FBS play and was a Top 25 team a few weeks ago. They needed those wins though as the final three are Clemson, NC State, and Kentucky.
- Wake Forest – Wake has been sliding for the last two weeks. Much like the Louisville loss, turnovers were abundant in the loss against NC State. Despite being ranked in the Top 10 at one point their conference record is now 2-3 with one of those being Boston College. FSU and Liberty are their wins against teams with winning records.
- Syracuse – Much like Wake, Syracuse has fallen from a once-promising season. After falling short of Clemson it seems the Orange have been deflated as they extended their losing streak to three against Pitt. FSU is up next and with the way both teams have looked it may extend to four.
- Duke – The Blue Devils notched a win over Boston College and became bowl eligible. Their schedule has benefitted from being soft and they even missed some opportunities against Georgia Tech and UNC. The remainder of the schedule has winnable games and the overall record will look good.
- Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets seem to find a way to make both teams sweat most weeks this year. The positive is that the Yellow Jackets have come out on top of the close games. Virginia Tech was the victim this week despite having a 12-point lead in the fourth. A win over Miami this week would have Georgia Tech on the verge of a bowl game.
- Miami – The Hurricanes showed up for one drive this week and then faded like a tropical depression in the tundra. Miami managed a measly 188 yards against FSU while allowing 454. Mami has four wins on the season and those teams have a combined record of 12-24. If they can’t beat GT this week I wouldn’t expect another win for Miami.
- Virginia – Virginia was close to making things real fun for the Coastal race this week but instead allowed UNC to close things out in the end for the win. It was still a good performance by the Cavaliers and showed their defense is for real. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough for most of the season as the losses keep adding up.
- Virginia Tech – The Hokies lost a heartbreaker to Georgia Tech. It looked like they would be able to win off a last-second field goal but would instead fumble the ball with less than a minute left in Georgia Tech territory. It’s been a rough season for the Hokies but maybe a win over UVA to end the year could cheer them up.
- Boston College – The Eagles were competitive against Duke and racked up the yardage but fell short and were eliminated from bowl contention. The final three games are against, NC State, Notre Dame, and Syracuse so it probably won’t be a kind finale to the season.