National Championship Caliber
1. Florida State 8-0 (6-0)
Up Next: @ Wake Forest
Miami made the "god king" bleed a bit in the first half and proved that Jameis Winston is in fact human. Of course, the hailstorm would eventually come and Florida State reasserted their place atop the ACC with a 27-point victory over #7 Miami. They don't have another challenging game until they rematch Miami in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte (unless you count a trip to Gainesville). Now we can just hope that Oregon runs the table and FSU gets royally cheated.
2. Clemson 8-1 (6-1)
Up Next: Bye
Clemson fans can finally enjoy a fashionable blowout win. After a somewhat sluggish start, the offense got rolling and showed just how dominant they are when hitting on all cylinders. Boyd made some questionable throws into coverage, once getting picked off, but overall looked back to form tallying three passing TDs to go with one rushing TD in becoming the ACC's all-time touchdown leader (passing Philip Rivers).
This week's game ball goes to Jayron Kearse. He made a great play to nab an INT and later forced a fumble. The true freshman has done a lot to sure up a shaky secondary. Overall, the defense looked good holding the Wahoos to only 10.
Both backup QBs, Stoudy and Kelly, showed promise. Chad Kelly had an impressive touchdown run. That'll be an interesting QB competition in what will probably be a one-year gig next season while blue chipper, Deshaun Watson, redshirts.
3. Miami 7-1 (3-1)
Up Next: Virginia Tech
Miami played a decent game and still fell 27 points short against FSU. They put up more of a fight than we did, at least showing FSU to be human in the first half, but I'm even more confident that Clemson would beat Miami now than I was a week ago. Miami lost their best player, RB Duke Johnson, to a broken ankle. He will be out for the remainder of the season. VT's loss to BC essentially locks up the Coastal for the Canes, but their reward will be another matchup and probably defeat at the hands of Florida State, one that will likely keep them out of the BCS. Miami's schedule--facing FSU twice--makes me much less bitter about sharing a division with the 'Noles.
Muddled Mess of Mediocrity
4. Georgia Tech 6-3 (5-2)
Up Next: Bye
After dropping three straight to fall to 3-3, they've strung together three wins and now sit at 6-3. Additionally, their season opening win at Duke and the following win over UNC also look a bit more impressive now. They get a bye before playing at Clemson on Thursday. Then they'll face a second FCS foe before hosting UGA. They are likely headed to the Russell Athletic Bowl if the ACC can place two teams in the BCS.
5. North Carolina 3-5 (2-3)
Up Next: UVA
The most disappointing team in the ACC is starting to put it together. With a very, very front-loaded schedule, the Heels started 1-5. Wins over Boston College and then NCSU this week showed us they're not that bad. They'll beat White Meat at home next week and push it to 4-5. Don't be surprised to see them end the regular season on a six game win streak.
6. Duke 6-2 (2-2)
Up Next: NCSU
The Blue Devils got to bathe in the glory of their Lane Stadium victory during their bye week and will host NC State this coming Saturday. I expect them to come out as favorites against State, something that probably hasn't happened in eons. They already have six wins and with games against the three other ACC North Carolina schools remaining, they should pick up at least one if not two more wins. 7-5 and a trip to the Belk Bowl now looks like the worst case scenario. I said it last week and I'll say it again: kudos to the athletic department for scheduling a cake non-conference schedule this season. That's absolutely what borderline bowl teams should be doing. With back-to-back bowl appearances and a stadium renovation, Coach Cutcliffe has some building blocks.
7. Boston College 4-4 (2-3)
Up Next: @ New Mexico State
Last week I said they could only live off moral victories for so long. Finally, Steve Addazio's mantra of keeping it close and winning it in the 4th worked out as the Eagles pulled off the upset against Virginia Tech. He has himself a scrappy bunch that will make you earn it. It seems this is a program that will be on the rise over the next few years. With FSU, Clemson, and Louisville in the ACC Atlantic next year, the division could be downright nasty if BC or NCSU could become decent. However, to be even-handed I must mention that legitimate programs do not play road games at New Mexico State, which is where Boston College heads next week to pick up win number five.
8. Virginia Tech 6-3 (3-2)
Up Next: @ Miami
I resisted moving Virginia Tech down from the fourth spot after their loss to Duke, but with their defeat at Boston College I can no longer hold them there. Their offense is bad and their defense isn't good enough to make up for it even against Boston College and Duke. I thought the Hokies' down year last season was an aberration, but now I wonder if they are fading away in the ACC as so many other programs are poaching recruits from the Virginia Beach area. They'll be underdogs against a depleted Miami team next week in Coral Gables. Will 8-4 be the new norm in Blacksburg?
Up Next: @ Maryland
Syracuse picked up a big win this week as they held serve at home to shutout a Wake Forest team that had been playing well. Their blitz happy defense was exposed against Clemson, who has the athletes to beat them deep, but Wake Forest couldn't do the same. The Orangemen and women go to Maryland next week before heading to Tallahassee for a blood bath. After that they'll return home to host Pittsburgh and Boston College. I wouldn't be surprised if they can scrap together two wins over that stretch and squeak into a bowl game. Too bad we don't have the Pinstripe Bowl yet, they'll be sent there annually.
Up Next: Notre Dame
11. Wake Forest 4-5 (2-5)
Up Next: FSU
The Deacon's lost a must-win game at Syracuse this week and are likely going another season without a bowl game. That'll be three of the past four seasons ending without a bowl. Jim Grobe continues to be the most overrated coach in the conference. Adding to the disaster, Wake Forest's best player, WR Michael Campanaro broke his collarbone in the game and has probably played his collegiate game. With FSU next week it could get very ugly. Duke and Vanderbilt to close out the season (sounds more like the math bowl) and they very well could lose out. It's unfortunate, because this is a veteran team that looked poised to make a little noise this season.
12. Maryland 5-3 (1-3)
Up Next: Syracuse
Maryland's wins over UConn, WVU, and Virginia seemed a lot more impressive when they happened. The Terps are incredibly banged up, and making a bowl game would be a big step as they head off to the Big 10. They remain at five wins with four very winnable games remaining. They should be able to find win #6 before the season comes to a close.
The Not as Good as Ball State Tier
13. NC State 3-5 (0-5)
Up Next: @ Duke
Despite claiming "This is our state," the Wolfpack are losers of four straight and five out of six. They're the worst ACC football team in North Carolina. NC State has both the fans and infrastructure to be competitive. New head coach, Dave Doeren, did big things in Northern Illinois, but it's looking like it will be a bigger process than anticipated.
14. Virginia 2-7 (0-5)
Up Next: @ UNC
They're not all that talented, yet they still play far below their talent level. Luckily they have two five-star recruits coming in. It can only get better. Losing by 49 at home is not okay. It's definitely not ok twice in the same season (Oregon and Clemson).