With only one season left things are pretty much settled. We have just one game of consequence left as Virginia takes on Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth Cup. Winner takes the Coastal and faces Clemson in the ACC Championship. Virginia Tech has had a massive turnaround this season and will likely be the favorite to win their 16th straight against the Cavaliers. In other news Miami lost to FIU and Wake Forest chugged along towards nine wins.
1 - #3 Clemson Tigers (11-0, 8-0)
Clemson had the week off to prepare for their final game against South Carolina. Not that they need it. They should cruise through that one and then head to the ACC Championship Game.
Last Week: Bye
Next Week: Saturday at noon at South Carolina
2 - #23 Virginia Tech Hokies (8-3, 5-2)
The Hokies are looking really dangerous right now, especially the Bud Foster defense. They pitched their second consecutive shutout this week against Pittsburgh who was playing for their ACC Title chances. Hendon Hooker looks like a very solid quarterback and he doesn’t need to do a whole ton with this defense playing the way it is. Hooker threw for 10/13 for 153 yards and two touchdowns. The running game was inconsistent, but it did enough. Virginia Tech had two 90 yard touchdown drives in the first half as well as a Pitt fumble that they returned for a touchdown. Outside of that the offense struggled, but the defense was just so, so good. They outscored Pitt’s offense. They held Pitt to just three first downs in the first half. They just completely dominated. If they play that well they should beat Virginia and head to the ACC Championship. Remember when they lost to Boston College and got blown out at home by Duke? Seems like a long, long time ago.
Last Week: Win 28-0 vs. Pitt
Next Week: Friday at noon at Virginia
3 - Virginia Cavaliers (8-3, 5-2)
Virginia had a tune up game before their big matchup next week and didn’t exactly impress. They beat Liberty 55-27, but it was a game going into halftime. The good news for this team was they didn’t rely on Bryce Perkins nearly as much as in past games. He had 199 yards passing on 18/30 and wasn’t able to use his legs nearly as much. He didn’t need to do as much though as their conventional run game finally made a difference. PK Kier and Lamont Atkins combined for 19 carries for 143 yards (7.5 ypc).
The defense played fine, but not great. The Flames had some success on the ground and made some huge plays in the passing game, although they were very hit or miss there. The defense needs to be very stout against Virginia Tech. That one should be a very low scoring game.
Last Week: Win 55-27 vs. Liberty
Next Week: Friday at noon vs. Virginia Tech
4 - Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-3, 4-3)
Wake Forest won this week against Duke to continue their very good season. There were some questions about how the Deacons would fare without Sage Surratt at receiver. They looked good this week, or more accurately Jamie Newman looked good this week. He threw 14/25 for 284 yards and a touchdown. In addition he ran 29 times for 144 yards. Duke could not stop him. Kenneth Walker III and Cade Carney joined in on the rushing attack effectively. Without Sage Surratt the passing game went through one man. Kendall Hinton 6 catches for 189 yards. This offense still has some pop.
The defense was just fine. They let the Blue Devils move the ball, but did turn them over 3 times. The special teams had some real trouble though giving up two kick returns for touchdowns. This is a blowout win without those two plays.
They have now swept Tobacco Road with wins against UNC, Duke, and NC State. A win next week at Syracuse would cement this as one of Wake Forest’s best seasons in recent memory with them finishing at 9-3 and a shot at the Orange Bowl.
Last Week: Win 39-27 vs. Duke
Next Week: Saturday at 12:30 at Syracuse
5 - Louisville Cardinals (7-4, 5-3)
Scott Satterfield’s first season at Louisville has been wildly successful. With a 56-34 victory over Syracuse they clinched a winning record in conference, a winning record for the season, and a decent bowl. They have way outperformed the expectations for them.
Micale Cunningham had a pretty good game with 11/20 passing for 238 yards, 5 touchdowns, and an interception. The real story though was the run game. Javian Hawkins had 23 carries for 233 yards (10.1 ypc). Hassan Hall added 8 carries for 71 yards (8.9 ypc). They ran all over the vulnerable Orange defense.
The defense has had some concerning moments and this game was full of them. They let Syracuse run over them and even let Tommy DeVito get going in the passing game. The defense isn’t fully there yet.
They have their rivalry against Kentucky next week. A win there would boost Louisville’s season to even further heights.
Last Week: Win 56-34 vs. Syracuse
Next Week: Saturday at noon at Kentucky
6 - Pittsburgh Panthers (7-4, 4-3)
Pitt was playing for a shot at the ACC Coastal title this week and got shut out. That’s not good. VT is on fire, but still. Kenny Pickett was 10/26 for just 103 yards (and a fumble). Running they had only 3.8 yards per carry (not counting Pickett’s runs). Pickett’s fumble was returned for a touchdown.
Pitt’s defense didn’t do half bad, but they never had a chance. They stuffed the Hokies’ run game, but they did allow Hendon Hooker to throw on them. They got down 21-0 pretty early in the game and the Hokies offense just kinda shut the game down.
Pitt finishes up with a game against BC. A loss would be a really poor ending to an otherwise decent season. A win would get them to 8-4 and into a decent bowl.
Last Week: Lose 28-0 at Virginia Tech
Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 vs. Boston College
7 - North Carolina Tar Heels (5-6, 3-4)
North Carolina has played a tough year full of tight games. Last week was a break where they got to beat down on Mercer. Sam Howell was near perfect, the offensive line was dominant, the running backs were straight up better than Mercer. The defense also dominated on the way to a 56-7 victory.
All focus is now on their rivalry against NC State. They need to win to make a bowl game this year. NC State isn’t playing for anything except to ruin UNC’s season. Sam Howell needs to play well and the defense needs to hold up to get the win.
Last Week: Win 56-7 vs. Mercer
Next Week: Saturday at 7 at NC State
8 - Florida State Seminoles (6-5, 4-4)
The Seminoles have had a very tough season leading to the mid-season firing of Willie Taggart. They now face #11 Florida on the road. An upset win over Florida this weekend would salvage a lot of it. They need to play probably their best game all year to have a shot.
Last Week: Bye
Next Week: Saturday at 7:30 at Florida
9 - Miami Hurricanes (6-5, 4-3)
Miami struggled early in the season, but had things totally turned around with three straight good wins (@Pitt, @FSU, vs. Louisville). Then they just lost to FIU. Florida International coached by former Miami head coach Butch Davis at the site of the old Orange Bowl. This game was an unmitigated disaster. Jarren Williams threw 3 picks. DeeJay Dallas left with a brutal arm injury. Their defense managed zero sacks on 30 FIU drop backs. They gave up 6.4 yards per carry to FIU running backs. They looked like they were going to potentially win 8 games and end on a 5 game win streak, but this put a stop to all of the positive feelings. Just a brutal loss in Manny Diaz’s first season. They still have a game at Duke next week and then a bowl game. It won’t be enough to overcome this game.
Last Week: Lose 30-24 “at” FIU
Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 at Duke
10 - Boston College Eagles (5-6, 3-4)
BC vs. Notre Dame was close until it wasn’t. BC led with 3 minutes left in the first half. They lost 40-7. Things went downhill very, very fast. The Eagles offense was anemic. They had a touchdown drive of 85 yards. Their next longest drive was just 20 yards. Denis Grosel was 9/20 for 63 yards and a pick. That’s bad. AJ Dillon was able to manage 4 yards per carry (56 yards on 14 carries), but that was the only bright spot. Defensively they couldn’t stop Ian Book either on the ground or in the air. They were just plain outmatched.
It all comes down to their final game to make a bowl. They head to Pitt for a tough game against the Panthers. They need the upset to hit 6 wins. They probably won’t get it.
Last Week: Lose 40-7 at Notre Dame
Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 at Pittsburgh
11 - Duke Blue Devils (4-7, 2-5)
A week after getting embarrassed by Syracuse, Duke continued their five game slide with a loss to Wake Forest. They struggled to hold Wake Forest’s offense and didn’t have the firepower themselves to overcome that. Quentin Harris again struggled to move the ball without giving it away. He had 14/23 passing for 163 yards and a pick as well as 14 carries for 39 yards and two fumbles (although luckily he didn’t lose either one). They ran the ball effectively with Mateo Durant (albeit for only 7 carries), but that was about it. The one bright spot in the game was Damon Philyaw-Johnson running back two kick returns for a touchdown. He kept them in the game singlehandedly well into the second half.
Duke now welcomes Miami as they look to the end of the season. There will be no bowl game. This has been rough end to the year and they now face Miami who should be playing very angry.
Last Week: Lose 39-27 at Wake Forest
Next Week: Saturday at 3:30 vs. Miami
12 - Syracuse Orange (4-7, 1-6)
A week after obliterating Duke, Syracuse was competitive with Louisville. A good sign that this team might be improving a little bit (although it is too little and too late). Tommy DeVito was mildly effective throwing for 153 yards on 14/21 passing and two touchdowns. Moe Neal ran for 163 yards on 20 carries (8.2 ypc). The offense performed pretty well against a decent team.
The defense on the other hand was back to its old ways. They couldn’t stop Micale Cunningham and they really, really couldn’t stop Javian Hawkins who ran for 233 yads on them and over 10 yards per carry. This defense has been a disaster all year and really needs to improve in the future if Dino Babers wants to keep his job.
They now welcome Wake Forest for their final game of the season. That would be a tough win.
Last Week: Lose 56-34 at Louisville
Next Week: Saturday at 12:30 vs. Wake Forest
13 - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-8, 2-6)
Hey! A fun win against NC State. Just don’t look at next week.
Last Week: Win 28-26 vs. NC State
Next Week: Saturday at noon vs. Georgia
14 - North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-7, 1-6)
This has been a terrible season for NC State. Despite a super easy non-conference schedule they will not make a bowl. An already young team has been hammered by injuries. And then they lose to Georgia Tech. They were undone by the defense, conservative coaching, and a failure in clutch spots. That was their fifth straight loss and they head into rivalry as underdogs to the Tar Heels. They can’t make a bowl, but if they win they could prevent UNC from making one. That should be enough motivation to play hard in this one.
Last Week: Lose 28-26 at Georgia Tech
Next Week: Saturday at 7:30 vs. UNC