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ACC Power Rankings: Late Cancellation

Clemson-FSU was postponed, NC State survives against Liberty, and Pitt rolls the Hokies

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 08 Memphis at Navy Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#1 Notre Dame (8-0, 7-0) LW: #1 Next Game: 11/27 @ UNC 3:30 PM ABC.

Notre Dame had the weekend off. I joke about how this is a “heated rivalry” game coming up between the Fighting Irish and UNC, but it really should be an entertaining way to spend Black Friday. Much better than fighting over TVs in a Walmart.

#2 Clemson (7-1, 6-1) LW: #2 Next Game: 11/28 vs Pitt 3:30 PM ESPN.

Uggghhh. There’s a lot going on here. So, first, it’s fine for FSU to feel concerned about playing this game with a potential exposure and to withdraw. It is also fine for Dabo and Clemson to be frustrated, particularly after spending $300,000 plus and having the rug pulled out from under them three hours before the game. Trust me, I understand. I had a hellacious week and was really looking forward to watching Clemson beat FSU senseless for three hours and then cracking open my postgame bottle of Rosé and/or a few beers and enjoying the rest of the games. I can only imagine how upset I’d have been after flying to Tallahassee and actually be preparing to play in the game.

A lot of talking points have emerged here and I think some things need to be cleared up. Here is the timeline of the infected player’s week.

So, the player felt sick Monday and Tuesday and did not practice despite a negative test. He then felt better Wednesday, had another negative and practiced. Continued doing better, another negative test, and traveled. Finally got a positive, was isolated and sent home.

There really isn’t much more I think you can ask Clemson to do. Some of the issue is that showing COVID-19 symptoms could mean a lot of other ailments. Assuming he had something like a sore throat, stuffed nose, and/or cough, the fact that he had multiple negatives would point to maybe something else. As a personal anecdote, when I played football I regularly would get a cough around this time of year. Practicing and conditioning in colder weather somehow would set me off. And while things are much different, when you’ve got three negatives and his symptoms have gone away, I don’t fault the program for allowing him to return. It’s unfortunate for this kind of thing to happen but I think that is part of the nature of the beast of playing football in 2020.

With all that being said, I wish Dabo had tempered his Sunday press conference some. I think he has the right to be frustrated, and I’m glad that he has been insistent that Clemson followed all protocols and that the ACC was on board with playing. However, his extemporaneous opining about FSU using COVID as an excuse is not a great look in my view. While that seems to be the general opinion of the program, some things are best kept said behind closed doors. It’s frustrating when Dabo makes good points but still gives the media a soundbite to which they can bash him on for weeks. This will blow over eventually, though.

#3 Miami (7-1, 6-1) LW: #3 Next Game: 12/5 @ Wake Forest.

The Canes’ game with GT got postponed with COVID. Hopefully we’ll see Miami return to the field for the first week in December. And with Clemson’s postponement, there’s been some questions about what if Clemson only plays 9 ACC games and Miami plays 10. That is addressed here.

So, it looks like barring anymore cancellations, it’s win and you’re in for Clemson regarding playing for the ACC championship. This may even be a moot point if Clemson-FSU gets rescheduled.

#4 North Carolina (7-1, 6-1) LW: #4 Next Game: 11/27 vs Notre Dame 3:30 PM ABC.

UNC had an open week to prep for Notre Dame. Now Mack Brown’s high flying Tar Heel offense will look to knock off Notre Dame on Black Friday in Chapel Hill.

#5 NC State (5-3, 5-3) LW: #7 Next Game: 11/28 @ Syracuse 12:00 PM ACCN.

They did it. The North Carolina State Wolfpack defended the ACC’s honor and knocked off the undefeated Liberty Flames. In this weird, crazy 2020 season, for one fleeting weekend, Dave Doeren is the ACC’s hero, and certainly won’t do anything to tarnish this moment.

Oh, never mind .

#6 Wake (4-3, 3-3) LW: #5 Next Game: 12/5 vs Miami.

The Deacs’ game against Duke was cancelled. Wake will be off Thanksgiving week and then take on Miami in December.

#7 Boston College (5-4, 4-4) LW: #6 Next Game: 11/28 vs Louisville 4:00 PM ACCN.

BC had the weekend off, and will host Louisville on Saturday.

#8 Pitt (5-4, 4-4) LW: #8 Next Game: 11/28 @ Clemson 3:30 PM ESPN.

For this year, Pitt is our Thanksgiving rival. I don’t like it any more than you do, but I am going to commit myself to hating and wishing nothing but ill will on the Panthers all week as I would the Gamecocks. Part of this has been because of a segment of college football fans online who have adopted Pitt as their “chaos” team, and I have absolutely no desire to hear chatter about Pitt pulling off another upset. I also am looking forward to the idea that Clemson could sandwich Thanksgiving in between a pair win wins over Pitt.

If you haven’t seen, Clemson United knocked off Pitt on Sunday to capture the ACC men’s soccer tournament championship. Let’s hope we can get another win over the Panthers Saturday.

Oh, I guess I should mention that the Panther football team beat Va Tech 47-14 on Saturday. Early lines have the Tigers as an overwhelming 26 point favorite in Death Valley.

#9 Virginia (4-4, 3-4) LW: #9 Next Game: 11/28 @ FSU 8:00 PM ACCN.

The Cavs knocked off Abilene Christian 55-15, which seems boring. I didn’t tune into this game because it didn’t seem worth watching, but the ending was spectacular.

Apparently UVA’s offensive coordinator was off a line on his play sheet and instead of sending in a clock draining play, he sent in a double pass. Why are you keeping those two plays together?!? That’s like keeping the spiked eggnog next to the half gallon of milk and pouring your kids’ a glass for breakfast without checking the label. That’s the play calling version of taking a swig out of a water bottle only to discover it’s vodka. And if you’re a player getting signaled in for a double pass at this moment, you have to be wondering what’s going on. Maybe consider changing the play. Hopefully UVA won’t have any mishaps like this at FSU Saturday.

#10 Virginia Tech (4-5, 4-4) LW: #10 Next Game: 12/5 vs Clemson.

The Hokies were blown out 47-14 by Pitt. Just an awful pair of weeks for Va Tech. They will try to regroup with an off weekend before Clemson comes to town.

#11 Georgia Tech (2-5, 2-4) LW: #11 Next Game: 11/28 vs Duke 7:00 PM RSN.

Ga Tech’s game against Miami was postponed. This week should be Clean, Old Fashioned Hate in the Peach State, but instead Tech fans will be treated to Duke playing in Atlanta. But, to be fair, this should be a closer game than if they played the Dawgs.

#12 Louisville (3-6, 2-6) LW: #12 Next Game: 11/28 @ Boston College 4:00 PM ACCN.

The Cards shut out Syracuse 30-0. Louisville will head to Chestnut Hill to take on BC Saturday.

#13 Duke (2-6, 1-6) LW: #13 Next Game: 11/28 @ GT 7:00 PM RSN.

Duke’s game against Wake was canceled. The Blue Devils will head to Atlanta looking for a win over Georgia Tech.

#14 Florida State (2-6, 1-6) LW: #14 Next Game: 11/28 vs UVA 8:00 PM ACCN.

The Noles’ postponement of the Clemson game had led to a war of words between the programs. Mike Norvell spoke on the situation Monday.

This sounds like a shot at Dabo over his statements. It’s annoying that the national rhetoric will have Norvell being the responsible coach and will continue to rip on Dabo. If Clemson and FSU do play again, either in Tallahassee or Clemson, there will certainly be a lot of bad blood between the two programs.

It is also annoying that FSU fans will claim a moral high ground on this, especially given how generally awful that fan base is, and how their coaching staff could have just as easily been on the other side of this issue.

#15 Syracuse (1-8, 1-7) LW: #15 Next Game 11/28 vs NC State 12:00 PM ACCN.

Cuse was blanked 30-0 by Louisville. NC State could really stomp the Orange this weekend.