With just four ACC games last week, there wasn’t much room to shake up the power rankings, though Virginia Tech and Syracuse certainly made strong statements, and Louisville dominated NC State to continue its push for a playoff berth, even if it’s still firmly in the No. 2 spot in the ACC.
NC State’s blowout loss certainly didn’t make Clemson’s struggles against the Wolfpack last week look any better in retrospect, but all should be forgiven if the Tigers can play their best game next week and beat Florida State in Tallahassee, Florida, for the first time since 2006.
Lamar Jackson continues to dominate, with four more touchdowns in Saturday’s win over NC State. Louisville’s close loss at Clemson may keep it out of the playoff, but it sure looks like the Cardinals are one of the four best teams in the country.
When he avoids major storms, Mitch Trubisky is pretty darned good. Setting aside that loss to Virginia Tech, Trubisky is completing 75 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Dalvin Cook was Florida State’s only offense in a loss to Clemson last year. The Seminoles will need more than just Cook to topple the Tigers and move up the power rankings.
This just in: Bud Foster knows how to coach defense. The Hokies were without star pass-rushers Ken Ekanem and Nigel Williams, and somehow they still managed to sack Miami’s Brad Kaaya eight times in a dominant win. Virginia Tech’s chances for winning the Coastal are looking better and better.
Before we crown Virginia Tech, however, there’s the little matter of a Thursday night showdown against Pitt this week. The Panthers’ two losses came by a combined eight points, and they’ve had an extra week to prep for the Hokies.
Wake Forest had the week off, but the Demon Deacons will host Army in Week 9 with a chance to become bowl eligible. More good news: Starting QB Kendall Hinton is getting healthy and should be available for the game.
Maybe it was the hangover effect of a tough loss to Clemson or maybe it was just about how good Louisville is, but either way the Wolfpack looked awful this past Saturday. They’ll need to shrug off the frustrations of the past two games in order to get back on track for BC next week.
Remember when the Hurricanes were No. 10 in the nation? That was just three weeks ago, but Mark Richt’s crew has dropped three straight, including a bad loss to Virginia Tech last Thursday. Kaaya played relatively well, but he was once again unable to win a big game. This one all but ended Miami’s hopes for a division title.
10. Syracuse Orange
This also just in: Dino Babers knows how to coach offense. Eric Dungey looked terrific again, completing 32 of 38 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns, while Amba Etta-Tawo hauled in 10 catches for 144 yards to go over 1,000 yards for the season. With two straight wins, the Orange are eyeing bowl eligibility.
11. Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils had the week off, but they put it to good use, delivering some much-needed supplies to flood victims in Lumberton, North Carolina. And Louisville’s dominant win this past Saturday certainly made Duke coach David Cutcliffe look smart for keeping it close with the Cardinals a week earlier.
The Yellow Jackets are 4-3 and technically still alive in the Coastal, but this week’s game against Duke may be critical if they want to get bowl eligible. The schedule down the stretch isn’t easy.
It was a rough week in Charlottesville, Virginia, where news broke that the school was facing a lawsuit by a former player accusing the program of promoting hazing. On the field, things were ugly, too, as North Carolina thumped the Cavaliers 35-14.
After a 28-20 loss to Syracuse, BC has now dropped 12 straight conference games. No ACC team has had a longer streak since Duke lost 25 straight from 2004 to '07. And with Louisville and Florida State still on the docket, it might get worse before it gets better.