Last week we speculated on the scenarios that could land Miami into the ACC title game and would cancel out the final game for Georgia Tech. The ACC thwarted those unlikely scenarios midweek by adjusting Notre Dame’s and Clemson’s schedule to only play one more game.
Notre Dame was in by default even before they played Syracuse this week but Clemson only needed to knock off the Hokies to ensure a revenge game. Both teams must have relaxed on that news as they struggled early against their competition.
The Irish could not get their offense going and actually trailed Syracuse in the 2nd quarter. The game remained within 10 points until halfway through the third. Fortunately, for Notre Dame Syracuse was happy to assist with three fumbles.
Clemson likewise seemed unable to get a rhythm against Virginia Tech’s defense. The Hokies were also using their ground game to effectively keep the ball out of Clemson’s hands. Three turnovers by Virginia Tech late in the game undid their efforts despite holding the ball for 38 minutes.
Both Ian Book and Trevor Lawrence became their school’s quarterback with the most wins on the same night. Quite an accomplishment for two programs that have long had success.
Elsewhere, UNC disposed of Western Carolina quickly in an early match-up.
Virginia took advantage of a turnover-prone Boston College who was missing starting QB Phil Jurkovec. His backup, Dennis Grosel tossed three interceptions to negate his 520-yard performance. The Eagles had zero success in rushing with negative yardage.
Our own Yellow Jackets showed a decent performance given all the injuries but couldn’t overcome NC State on the road. The officiating crew left a lot to be desired in this one as well.
The final game of the night was Miami leaving Duke in the dust with a shutout and scoring 48 points off another stellar performance from D’Eriq King. It had been several weeks since Miami last played but was still missing about 15 players due to Covid issues.
- Notre Dame - The best team in the league finished up their regular season with the last-place team. Now if they can hold off Clemson again two weeks they will be a lock for their first appearance in the College Football Playoffs.
- Clemson - It felt like Clemson could be a victim of an upset in this one but they managed to come through and keep the ACC’s designs intact. Better performance will be needed in two weeks if they want to keep their streak of playoff appearances alive.
- Miami - Two games remain for the Hurricanes but it has to be a bitter pill to swallow knowing they could have been playing for the ACC title in a normal year. Instead, they will have to settle for a good record and hope King doesn’t bounce to the NFL.
- North Carolina - UNC worked in their lone non-conference game during the shuffle and made quick work of them. They will close out the season next week against Miami in an unofficial coastal title.
- North Carolina State - A win over Georgia Tech wrapped up the season for the Wolfpack. An 8-3 record was a big improvement from last year and they can finish no worse than fifth in the conference standings.
- Boston College - BC also ended their season this week but will close it out with a loss. Having QB Jurkovec out took away from an offense that has been a nice surprise this season. This is a solid team that could make a push next year.
- Virginia - The Hoos took advantage of the short-handed Eagles to move up to the middle of the standings. Charlottesville will be rocking if they can make it two in a row over rivals Virginia Tech to end the season.
- Virginia Tech - The Hokies gave Clemson a headache for most of the game. Virginia will be more forgiving on the turnovers. A stout run game could bring the Commonwealth Cup back to Blacksburg. The seat could be hot for Fuente if they lose again.
- Pittsburgh - Pitt sat idle this week after taking abuse from Clemson the week prior. They should finish out with a win over Georgia Tech who has a 5-day turnaround and dealing with injuries.
- Wake Forest - The Demon Deacons have been twiddling their thumbs for a month as they fell victim to the schedule adjustments. Two games remain against Louisville and FSU which should boost them in the standings. It would still only tally 8 conference games and the fewest played by an ACC team.
- Georgia Tech - The Jackets missed a chance to solidify a spot in the middle of the standings. A plethora of injuries and ACC officiating kept Tech short of winning back-to-back games for the first time under Coach Collins.
- Louisville - The Cardinals didn’t live up to the expectations they set after a surprising year one. There were grumblings that Coach Satterfield could take the South Carolina job but he will remain with Louisville. Wake will be their last test to not limp out of this season.
- Florida State - Another team that has sat for almost a month has been the Seminoles. It hasn’t been quiet with FSU administrators exchanging jabs with Dabo over their canceled game. Fortunately for FSU, they won’t have to make that up. Duke should make for a better chance to claim a win in the last weeks.
- Duke - If the Blue Devils can’t finish against FSU it would result in one of the worst seasons since David Cutcliffe took over in 2008. They will avoid the last place due to a tie-breaker over Syracuse. You have to wonder with Duke’s slow regression back to the bottom if Cutcliffe may hang it up soon.
- Syracuse - The Orange have cemented their last-place finish by ending the season with the first place Irish. They got in all 11 games and managed to score only 196 total points. The lowest total among ACC teams. That’s a bad look for a coaching staff who prides itself on offensive firepower.