College Basketball got off to a hot start in the ACC this week with the annual B1G vs ACC Challenge...wait, these were all football games? Did they do this on purpose? There were 6 matchups this week with the Big 10. One can only assume this was an under-the-table deal done by the forgotten Alliance between the ACC, Big 10, and some other conference that doesn’t seem all that important now.
Whether by design or pure happenstance, the ACC looked the better taking 4 out of the six matchups. UNC, Duke, Louisville, and Syracuse all took care of business with the closest margin of victory being 7 points by Louisville against Indiana. All four of these teams now sit with a 3-0 record.
Virginia and Virginia Tech were the two losses this week to the Big 10 with Virginia being blown out by Maryland and Rutgers taking care of the Hokies in a similar fashion. Both Virginia schools look to be the bottom dwellers of the conference this year with Virginia remaining winless and Virginia Tech claiming a slim victory over Old Dominion.
Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh were the other two matchups against another Power 5 conference but neither managed to lift the conference record in the early season. Georgia Tech traveled to Ole Miss where it was tight into the 4th quarter but a gassed defense in short field situations let the Rebels hang some bonus points in the end. Pittsburgh took on old Big East rival West Virginia in a renewal of the Backyard Brawl. It was certainly a brawl for points as West Virginia managed 17, but the Panthers couldn’t reach paydirt and settled for only two field goals on the night.
Among the other out-of-conference games, Miami, Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson took care of their lesser foes. Wake Forest did struggle against the aforementioned Old Dominion before gaining the upper hand late.
The lone ACC showdown was Florida State traveling to Boston College where it was assumed the Seminoles would cruise to victory in their ACC opener. They did come away with a win, but also some soiled underwear as Boston College nearly made the upset of the week against the favored team of the ACC.
Last Week’s Rankings:
- Florida State
- North Carolina
- Wake Forest
- Georgia Tech
- North Carolina State
- Virginia Tech
- Boston College
Week 2 Rankings
- Florida State - Last week I stated how this game could get ugly, and I wasn’t wrong. It just got ugly for FSU instead of Boston College early. The Seminoles did go into this game missing some key pieces, but they found a way to fight back and get the road win. They take the trip to Death Valley next week where both of the league favorites need to shore up some holes.
- North Carolina - Drake Maye shredded the Minnesota defense with over 400 yards passing as he continues his march toward Heisman candidacy. The defense appeared better this week though Minnesota hasn’t been great on offense. The Tar Heels are off to a good 3-0 start and Pitt doesn’t look to be a threat next week, but I also said that about BC last week so Pitt will probably win. Such is the life of the ACC.
- Duke - Let’s give the Blue Devils some love this week. They are undefeated through three weeks after they dismantled Northwestern, which is a program in some turmoil right now. Besides the FSU win over LSU they have the best individual win of the ACC over Clemson. QB Riley Leonard has been solid so far though most of his scoring production is coming on the ground. They travel to UConn next before hosting the Fighting Irish the following week.
- Louisville - It was a great start to jump up on Indiana 21-0 going into the half. They couldn't find the endzone again as the Hoosiers tried to claw back into it, but the Cardinals’ defense did just enough to seal the win. Beating Boston College next week will give Louisville a nice 2-0 start to ACC play.
- Miami - There wasn’t much to worry about this week as Miami participated in their annual beatdown of FCS foe, Bethune-Cookman. Bethune-Cookman usually struggles in the FCS ranks. The Hurricanes travel for the first time this season up to Philidelphia to take on Temple next week. Maybe they won’t succumb to the northern weather like FSU almost did.
- Syracuse - I was hesitant to rank Syracuse high after two weeks because of a weak schedule, but beating Purdue by 15 was a worthy win. Syracuse QB Shrader amassed 195 yards rushing with four touchdowns. Army will present an interesting challenge next week as their offense has been rolling.
- Wake Forest - The Demon Deacons wrap up the last of the undefeated ACC teams. It appeared Old Dominion would get the better of them with a 17-0 lead at halftime but Wake Forest managed to convert some touchdowns after coughing the ball up 3 times. Georgia Tech visits this week and QB Mitch Griffis will need to take better care of the ball if they want to stay perfect.
- Clemson - Fine, I’ll be nicer to “lil ol clemson” this week. They are 2-1 after whooping up on FAU this week in a fine defensive performance. We finally get to see FSU and Clemson face off this week. Clemson can reassert itself at the top with a win, or end most hopes of an ACC Championship appearance with a loss.
- North Carolina State - The Wolfpack have been very ho-hum so far this year. They haven’t looked great but not bad either. In other words, it’s a typical North Carolina State year. They easily took care of VMI and should do the same with Virginia in the next game. The offense hasn’t shown if it can keep pace with stiffer competition though.
- Georgia Tech - Despite the ugly final score against Ole Miss, Georgia Tech truly did have a chance to at least tie the game up late in the final quarter. The defense couldn’t get the ball back after getting within one score and it was all she wrote from there. The Yellow Jackets are a hard team to peg right now because they’ve played a tougher schedule than most and have shown flashes in their losses. They have to get the offensive and defensive lines playing better. Wake Forest is winnable this week, but they need to limit explosive plays. A loss would make bowl hopes slim to none.
- Boston College - Even in a loss the Eagles showed some fight with FSU in town. Penalties were the undoing in the game they had a chance to win, but fans should feel better after watching the previous lackluster performances. QB Castellanos had a great day with 305 yards passing and 95 rushing. Boston College appears to be reliant on him this season and as he goes so will the team.
- Pittsburgh - I wrote last week that Pitt probably wasn’t as bad as the 8th-place ranking I gave them. I was right...they were worse. Pitt sits at 1-2 and the offense looks anemic. The line is allowing Jurkovec to be consistently pressured and sacked. That has led to some untimely interceptions as well. That will not be a winning formula against UNC next week. Pitt fans have to wonder if a bowl game is at risk this season.
- Virginia Tech - The Hokies had to face Rutgers without their starting quarterback and top wide receiver. QB Drones came in and performed okay, but Virginia Tech was gashed on the ground by RB Monangai who had 143 yards. Virginia Tech has plenty of holes on both sides of the ball and doesn’t appear to have many favorable matchups left on the schedule.
- Virginia - The Cavaliers are the lone team without a win in the ACC after three weeks. They got off to a 14-0 lead over Maryland but fell apart before the second quarter. Four turnovers will undo a team and they haven’t had much luck on the defensive side of generating their own. Virginia was in a rough spot when Tony Elliot took over last year, but fans have to be wondering when will things start to improve.