#1 Clemson (15-0, 9-0):
I mean, at this point there isn’t much that I can say that my colleagues haven’t already said. Just an amazing end to an amazing season. Just a dominating performance not just in the Championship Game, but in the entire postseason. This stat sticks out to me.
Clemson’s defense vs. UofSC: allowed 35 points, 510 passing yards, 5 passing TDs.— Sanders Sullivan (@SandersSullivan) January 24, 2019
Clemson’s defense vs. final 3 opponents (Pitt, ND, Bama): allowed 29 points, 463 passing yards, 2 passing TDs. pic.twitter.com/ufj7jt4MPd
This stands out to me because of the uncharacteristically bad game the defense had against South Carolina caused a lot of worry heading to the postseason, along with many #hottakes. And once again, Venables was able to right the ship and get the performances needed out of his squad, even without Dexter Lawrence available in the Playoffs. This is just another reminder of why Venables is the highest paid college DC in the country and that we have some talented players all over the field, so maybe Tiger fans should pump the breaks if and when the team has a bad day at the office.
#2 Notre Dame (12-1, 5-1 vs ACC):
The Irish’s 30-3 loss to Clemson in the Cotton Bowl has led a lot of people to question if Notre Dame deserved a spot in the playoff, but after seeing Clemson make easy work of Alabama, I hope folks can realize that the Irish are a good team, Clemson was just better. Notre Dame was rightfully a top 4 team, despite the arguments about their schedule. Sure, we’d all love for ND to full on join the ACC so they could take their loss in Charlotte, but I have no issue with their placement in the playoffs.
#3 Syracuse (10-3, 6-2):
The Syracuse Orange earned their tenth win in a 34-18 win over a Will Grier-less West Virginia squad. Dino Babers has them in the right direction and they were able to take advantage of a down ACC to have a great season. Despite losing QB Eric Dungy, you have to think with Clemson poised to appear in the Playoff again next year, ‘Cuse could be a team fighting its way into a NY6 bowl.
#4 Virginia (8-5, 4-4)
Lololol UVA finished out the bowl season in amazing fashion by shutting out “SEC power” South Carolina in the Belk Bowl 28-0. Given UVA’s progress this year and the randomness of the Coastal, UVA making a return trip to Charlotte next year for the ACCCG is a possibility.
#5 NC State (9-4, 5-3)
Lollolol, again. NC State was slaughtered by Jimbo and Texas A&M 52-13. The best part: the Aggies capped off the game with a 12th man touchdown.
Texas A&M's "12th man" scoring his first career touchdown in his final college game was AWESOMEpic.twitter.com/7QiMZU0Xxk— MyBookie Sportsbook (@betmybookie) January 1, 2019
Thank you Aggies for this.
#6 Duke (8-5, 3-5):
Duke took care of Temple 56-27. Positive end to a solid year for Duke.
#7 Pitt (7-7, 6-2):
ACC Coastal Champion Pitt with the rate 7-7 record after a tough bowl loss to Stanford. Pitt parted ways with OC Shawn Watson, which isn’t particularly note worth except that it gave us this.
Pitt has fired Shawn Watson... they’ve De-Shawn Watson-ed https://t.co/m4qRUDOWrK— DEATH VALLEY RECORDS (@STSouthland) January 4, 2019
How is Twitter and STS still free, y’all?
#8 Boston College (7-5, 4-4)
BC’s bowl game with Boise St was cancelled due to weather. I feel like that was sort of buried in this whole season. Some of these bowl executives get paid good money to put on one event a year, and then weather comes in and instead of trying to reschedule they were just like “nah fam, just cancel it. Wild.
#9 Georgia Tech (7-6, 5-3):
The Jackets ended the Paul Johnson era with a 34-10 loss in Detroit to Minnesota. This also most likely means the end of the triple-option era for Georgia Tech and new coach Geoff Collins will make some style changes. First team that gets to see those changes: Clemson on an opening Thursday night in Death Valley. Thanks, ACC!
#10 Miami (7-6, 4-4):
The Mark Richt era wasn’t off to a good start and.....it’s gone. After a poor season and bad bowl loss to Wisconsin in New York, Mark Richt decided retirement was the right move, opening up the Manny Diaz era at Miami. Personally I would’ve supported Miami Head Coach Uncle Luke, but you can’t always get what you want.
#11 Wake Forest (7-6, 3-5);
Wake finished a rough season with a fantastic comeback win over Memphis. Deacs rallied from down 28-10 to win the Birmingham Bowl 37-34.
#12 Virginia Tech (6-7, 4-4):
VT lost a shootout to Cincy in the Military Bowl 35-31. It’ll be interesting to see if the Hokies can get back on track next year after losing several key players to transfer.
#13 Florida State (5-7, 3-5):
FSU didn’t make a bowl. Also Amari Rodgers dunked all over #FSUTwitter this week.
Winning championships at Clemson ... ♂️ https://t.co/8HiERv03W9— Amari Rodgers3️⃣ (@arodgers_3) January 28, 2019
Despite only being in year two, Willie Taggart may be feeling some pressure in 2019.
#14 Louisville (2-10, 0-8):
Fun fact, Louisville scored as many points against Clemson as Alabama. So, get ready for the possibility of Alabama coaching intern Bobby Petrino.
#15 North Carolina (2-9, 1-7):
Tar Heels got rid of Larry Fedora and hired Mac Brown back for his second stint in Chapel Hill. Wild move, but hey, maybe he’s what UNC needs.
Heres a nifty little chart to see how teams in the ACC shifted across the rankings this year. The numbers are a bit skewed because of our late addition of Notre Dame, but the main consistencies of the conference were Clemson at the top, ND #2, and then UNC at the bottom.
This has been a pretty wild year for the middle of the ACC. Having a 7-7 Coastal division champion was proof enough of that. I’m excited to see what the 2019 season brings for all of us!