The Confidential’s ACC Standings Poll: Week 12
It is now November. The season is down to its final month of regular season games. The ACC has identified a few teams that are weak (Wake Forest and Syracuse), and several that are mediocre (Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt, North Carolina, BC, and perhaps North Carolina State). Still, that leaves eight teams that are something more than mediocre and let’s see how they stand in the correspondents poll.
10.North Carolina State (5-5), 5 points. At 5-5 with Wake Forest coming to town, the pollsters liked North Carolina State (despite the abysmal 1-5 conference record). In fairness, who else deserves this more? Next up: Wake Forest.
9. UNC (4-5), 7 points. See above. Again, someone has to be in these #9 and #10 spots. The Tar Heels play a Pitt team that is 4-5 and similarly desperate for a win. UNC gets them at home. In the Coastal, anything can happen… so it might be a game to watch. Next up: Pitt.
8. Boston College (6-4), 14 points. Boston College is doing a fine job building off of last year. At 6-4, with Florida State looming, 6-5 is a very real possibility. However, keep in mind that BC has two weeks to prepare, FSU plays this game between Miami and Florida, BC played a better FSU team strong last year, etc. Classic trap game for FSU? Next up: @ Florida State.
7. Miami (6-3), 25 points. For Miami, this is where it all must come together. 6 wins seasons do not equal longevity in Coral Gables. Nor does routinely losing to Florida State. This is the opportunity for Miami to show that it is “almost back.” Next up: Florida State.
5. Georgia Tech (8-2), 27 points. The Yellow Jackets just keep on winning. A few years ago, Georgia Tech backed into the ACC Championship game. This year, they could go 10-2 and lose out to Duke (who would need to win out). But for 10-2, Georgia Tech will need to beat both Clemson and Georgia. Certainly possible, but let’s not count chickens as eggs yet. Next up: Clemson.
5. Louisville (7-3), 27 points. The Cards went 5-3 in conference, which is pretty close to what was expected. Fans might have expected 6-2, losing only to FSU and Clemson. Pretty close, though. It does not get easier now, as the Cards get Notre Dame in South Bend in two weeks. That may be a hungry Notre Dame team. Next up: @ Notre Dame.
4. Notre Dame (7-2), 37 points. The Fighting Irish lost fairly convincingly to Arizona State. That does not mean that Notre Dame’s season is a disaster. Indeed, 10-2 is still feasible. It also speaks to another point–no sense worrying about your #10 playoff ranking. If you don’t win, that ranking is irrelevant. And it now is. Next up: Northwestern.
3. Clemson (7-2), 37 points. For the third straight week, Clemson looked pedestrian against a foe with significantly inferior talent. The return of Deshaun Watson should change that, as he led the team to 91 points in 2 games, whereas the team only scored 90 in the next four. They will need that offense against a Georgia Tech team that is moving the ball well. Of course, the Clemson defense is incredibly strong. A win for Clemson this week will likely cause some folks to rethink the Duke-Clemson spots. For now, however, Clemson must defer to the 1-loss Blue Devils. Next up: @ Georgia Tech.
2. Duke (8-1), 44 points. Duke did not look outstanding against Syracuse. But like a crafty boxer, they engaged Syracuse for three quarters before delivering the knockout blow in the 4th. With Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Wake Forest looming (ALL AT HOME?!), Duke has a legitimate chance at 11-1. Next up: Virginia Tech.
1. Florida State (9-0), 50 points, 5 first place votes. The ACC schedulers did not do Florida State any favors. Miami has two weeks to prepare for the Seminoles (as noted above, BC will too). However, if FSU wants to win it all, that is no excuse. Just win and advance from here on out. Next up: @ Miami.
Others receiving votes: Pitt 4. Va Tech, Virginia, Syracuse, and Wake Forest were shutout.
What do you think? Did we hit/miss?