It was a lite week for the ACC as most teams were on a bye. The four games were all conference games involving two from each division. Clemson and FSU appeared to have a close matchup, but Clemson just let their foot off the gas, allowing FSU to sneak back to within a score in the 4th. Syracuse continues their impressive season against NC State who were without QB Devin Leary. Leary will be out for the season. Syracuse is a bit hard to gauge at the moment. You can’t deny them their record but what was supposed to be an impressive win seems a bit hollow without NC State at full strength.
UNC and Duke played for their annual victory bell trophy and a spot at the top of the Coastal standings. UNC kept its bell and place at the top after scoring in the waning seconds of the game to hand Duke their second tough loss in two weeks. Our last matchup was a tale of two halves between Miami and Virginia Tech. Miami raced to a 20-0 before and decided that was enough and became anemic after that. VT put two scores up in the fourth but couldn’t get the ball back to try for the win.
The Atlantic is likely down to Clemson and Syracuse who play each other this week. Clemson stands at 5-0 and a win there would make it really unlikely for anyone else at this point. Wake and Syracuse would be the only two mathematically left and they would need Louisville and Miami to beat Clemson. The Coastal is still a mess and some of that is due to several teams not playing any games till after week four. North Carolina is 3-0 and the only one left without a conference loss. Georgia Tech is the only other team with multiple wins and as their only loss in the conference is to Clemson, still control their own fate. Everyone else needs help, but it is safe to assume the two Virginia schools are out with three losses.
- Clemson - Clemson let FSU get ahead in the early part of the game but then buried the Seminoles in the third. This is always a heated rivalry game and isn’t easy for the road team. Clemson needs to win next week against Syracuse and their ticket to the ACC championship will be all but punched.
- Wake Forest - The Demon Deacons took a breather and still look to be the closest team to Clemson’s equal. Their next two games are against the bottom of the Atlantic with Boston College and Louisville. That will help them build momentum into a tougher stretch to close out the season.
- Syracuse - They are 6-0 for the first time since 1987 and have a chance to lay claim to first in the Atlantic with a win over Clemson this week. This will be by far the toughest test Syracuse has seen. Syracuse has only beaten Clemson once since joining the conference, a 27-24 win in 2017.
- North Carolina - North Carolina has been playing with fire the last two weeks but so far has avoided being burned. One thing they haven't seen much of this year is a stout defense and they’ll get that after a bye when they take on Pitt.
- Florida State - The Seminoles had their toughest opponents the last three weeks and went through it without a win. The schedule lightens up some as they hope for bowl eligibility but the divisional crown is now out of reach.
- Pittsburgh - One of the many teams to take a bye this week, Pitt still is in a good position to get back into the Coastal race. Louisville will ease them back in before matching up against UNC the following week.
- Georgia Tech - The Yellow Jackets will be best served coming off the bye as they had an extra week to adjust to the coaching changes. Virginia is reeling and taking advantage of that win will set the Jackets up well in the Coastal and make a bowl bid.
- North Carolina State - The Wolfpack still has a good record but losing Leary at QB is going to hurt. They struggled to move the ball well even with Leary this year but couldn’t do anything without him against Syracuse. A bye week is next to work on scoring before taking on Virginia Tech.
- Duke - Sometimes a whole season can be swayed by a few plays. That will be true of the Blue Devils this year who just missed being 6-1 overall and 3-0 in ACC play. Instead, they will head to Miami in a game they must win to stay in the coastal hunt.
- Miami - The Hurricanes will also need to win against Duke or get left behind after a few rough weeks. They did manage to get a win over Virginia Tech but it was sloppy and won’t earn them much against the eye test.
- Louisville - The three wins Louisville can claim aren’t much to cheer about and the last stretch of their schedule is against some pretty solid opponents. Even former FCS James Madison was just ranked in the Top 25. Pittsburgh will be up next and is the toughest defense they’ve seen so far.
- Virginia Tech - The Hokies are on a 4-game skid and would need to win four of their last five to go to a bowl game. They get a chance to rest this week before taking on NC State. If they can win that one they could pick up some momentum as there are struggling opponents left on their schedule.
- Boston College - The Eagles were also off this week but will jump right back with a tough opponent against Wake Forest. For any upset to happen the line has to protect QB Jurkovec who has been sacked 20 times this season.
- Virginia - Virginia also suffers from offensive line woes as they can’t open up anything for the ground that is averaging 4 yards per carry. The Cavaliers still have some tough opponents remaining and look unlikely to make a bowl this year.