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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the category “Football”

Was the ACC the Best CFB Conference in 2016?

Tonight is the grand finale and the ACC’s finest will be playing the SEC’s finest. One thing is for certain, the national championship trophy will remain in the South. Another important discussion is the power of the ACC as a, wait for it, football conference. Who would have ever guessed? After adding Pittsburgh, Louisville and Syracuse all the experts thought the ACC was going to be a basketball only league. Boy were they wrong.

The ACC had an outstanding overall bowl record and proved to be the class of college football. In a down year for the SEC and Big 12 it was the perfect opportunity for the ACC to put their best foot forward. Not only did the ACC show up in a strong way during bowl season, they had the top two in votes received for the Heisman Trophy.

So, can the ACC continue as a football conference in 2017 and beyond? It will all come down to quarterback play. The reason the conference was so strong in 2016 was the strength of the QB position which was the weakness of the SEC. If the ACC quarterbacks continue to be the best in the country, the league will be in the top 3 year in and year out.

In my opinion, the Big 10 and the Pac 12 are going to struggle in the years to come. USC has an amazing QB but other than that, things are looking bleak in the Pac 12. We saw just how good the Washington QB was when he went against a great defense. The Big 10 has become a joke. In the last two years they have been blasted 38-0 and 31-0 in the College Football Playoff.

So, what do you think? Do you thin the ACC is going to be a strong football conference moving forward? Were they the best college football conference in 2016?

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2017 was a Year of What Could Have Been for NC State Football

Once again, NC State football fans are thinking “what could have been?” A chip shot field goal that goes through the uprights in Death Valley and an easy interception in the end zone against Florida State and NC State would have been 8-4 going into the bowl season. An eight win ACC team with wins over two of the top 15 teams in the country.

This seems to be the thought process for NC State fans almost every year. There were numerous years when Philip Rivers was quarterback and fans were left scratching their heads. How could State beat a top 5 Florida State team and lose to an unranked Wake Forest team. Well, not much has changed in the last decade as State physically dominated Clemson in Death Valley and turns around and loses to a Boston College team that had not one in the ACC in several years.

So, what can we make of the progress of Dave Doeren? It is quite clear that the team is more talented than the Tom O’Brien teams. The defense is very impressive at times and the offense shows signs of being fantastic when they gain momentum. Is this a coach that can get NC State into the top 25 and win 9 or 10 games every year? Or, is this a coach that is going to get to second tier bowl games and continue to make excuses for balls that happen to bounce into the opponent’s arms while they stride into the end zone?

Well, we will get another year to figure that out as Doeren will be back for the 2017 season. Maybe next year will be the year it all turns around for the Pack. Just maybe…

This blog post is supported by Gladwell Orthodontics and their Raleigh Offices. The Lane family is a huge supported of NC State athletics; especially NC State Football. You will notice their logo at many of the NC State sporting events you attend.

How Many ACC Players Will be on the Field for Wake Forest vs Middle Creek?

On Friday, we finally get the high school football showdown we have waited for in the Triangle. WRAL has had Middle Creek and Wake Forest #1 and #2 pretty much all year. This Friday night they will play for a chance to go to the 4AA state championship game next weekend. Both of these teams are 14-0 and have a number of athletes that could play in the ACC in the next few years. So, how many ACC players will be on the field on Friday night?

No, Dexter Lawrence is no longer at Wake Forest but there are still some D1 athletes on the Cougars roster. Xach Gill is the #9 player in the state and one of the top Defensive Tackles in the entire nation. Can you imagine him playing beside Dexter Lawrence? Well, it happened last year and it could happen again at Clemson.

Darius Hodge is a 3 star linebacker that has committed to NC State and will make a huge impact in this game.

Daniel Jackson is a 2 star safety for Middle Creek that has committed to Army. If he has a huge playoff run and is willing to open his option he could definitely end up at an ACC school.

When looking at current juniors or the 2018 class the best player on the field is going to be Wake Forest’s Devon Lawrence that will be playing running back. He is currently the #8 player in the state and a 4 star running. He too can increase his stock by having a strong showing in the last two games of the season; if the Cougars make the state championship game.

By simply looking at the ACC talent on the field it would seem Wake Forest will dominate Middle Creek. As we know, teams are comprised of many players, not just a handful. MaxPreps has Middle Creek as the #5 team in the state in 4AA football and Wake Forest as #11. Obviously these rankings mean absolutely nothing as we are down to the final four.

If you are in the Raleigh/Durham area this Friday night, you might want to make a trip down to Apex to check out the Wake Forest vs Middle Creek game. It is sure to be one of the best games of the year in 4AA football. Also, there isn’t much else going on in terms of football this time of the year.

Over the years, many businesses have helped players for both teams. In fact, Wells Family Dental, a very well know Rolesville, NC dentist’s office has assisted a number of the players that played on the Wake Forest High School football team this year.

Is the Heisman Trophy Going to an ACC Quarterback?

It was all but wrapped up for Lamar Jackson two weeks ago. It may still be, but the race has gotten closer with Louisville’s poor performances against Houston and Kentucky; both losses. With Deshaun Watson playing in his second straight college football playoff after winning the ACC Championship two years in a row he has pulled to a close second according to the Heisman “experts”.

In a year in which the Big 10 (B1G) is supposed to be head and shoulder above any other conference, they only have one Heisman finalists and he has almost a zero percent chance of winning it. In fact, the ESPN experts have him 10th yet he is still getting a trip to NYC. Go figure. If he is 10th on the list wouldn’t it make sense to take one of the guys from, I don’t know, 5th through 9th? I guess that bias against the Big 10 (B1G) isn’t so strong anymore.

So, it is between Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. Two dual threat quarterbacks from the ACC that have thrown for a gazillion yards and dozens of touchdowns. They have also helped their teams with their legs with each quarterback rushing for well over 500.

When looking at the stats, Lamar Jackson should. He threw for 3390 yards and ran for 1538. Heck, his rushing stats along would make him one of the best running backs in the nation. With 21 rushing touchdowns and 30 passing touchdowns it is going to be hard to not hand him the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night.

Either way, the Heisman Trophy will be going to an ACC quarterback. That is really all that matters.

ACC Football Rankings: Week 13

Each week, the Confidential will rank the top 15 teams (includes Notre Dame) in the A.C.C. and provide a brief explanation for the decision.  Feel free to list your own below or otherwise comment.  Here it goes for week 13:

  1. Clemson 11-1.  Clemson destroyed rival South Carolina to end up 11-1 and just one game away from a playoffs appearance.  Virginia Tech is on a bit of a roll–should be quite a matchup. Next up: Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game.
  2. Louisville 9-3. The Cardinals have not had a second half with nearly as much impressiveness as the first half of the season.  The losses to Clemson and Houston can be excused, but the close games against Duke and Virginia (a combined 6-18) raised some questions.  The loss to rival Kentucky is inexcusable.  At the same time, it is hard to drop Louisville below a Florida State team it crushed and a Virginia Tech team that lost to 4-8 Syracuse.  In other words, #2 by default.  Next up: A nice bowl game.
  3. Florida State 9-3.  The Seminoles took care of Florida handily to claim state-wide domination for yet another season.  It would be interesting to see if Louisville could beat Florida State this Saturday, but, alas, they played at Louisville destroyed the Seminoles in a way that just cannot justify FSU leapfrogging a Louisville team with the same record.  Next up: a nice bowl game.
  4. Virginia Tech 9-3. The Hokies arguably deserve the #2 nod by beating Virginia to win the Coastal.  But Virginia Tech lost to Syracuse–easily the worst loss among the three 9-3 teams.  Also, Virginia Tech avoided the top 3 teams in these standings–something that the top 3 teams were unable to do (Clemson went 2-0, Louisville 1-1, FSU 0-2).   The Hokies get their chance to prove themselves with the Championship Game against Clemson.  Next up: Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
  5. Pitt 8-4.  There are four Coastal teams at 8-4.  Of these, Pitt played the toughest OOC schedule, with 10-2 Penn State and 9-2 Oklahoma State.  They split those games.  They lost to UNC by 1, to Va Tech by 3, and the only real blowout loss was to Miami.  They also are the only team to beat Clemson.  There are many arguments to be made here, but we’ll go with Pitt at #5.  Next up: a decent bowl game.
  6. North Carolina 8-4. The Tar Heels beat Miami, Pitt, and Georgia Tech–which ordinarily should mean an easy slotting in at #5.  But it is hard to get by losses to Duke and NC State, a combined 10-14.  Again, a decent argument for #5.   Next up: a decent bowl game.
  7. Miami 8-4.  Miami beat Pitt badly.  Miami also beat Georgia Tech.  But the overall weak OOC schedule is likely what made Miami 8-4, and that includes a loss to one of the worst Notre Dame teams in recent history.  Still, a good year for the Hurricanes to build off of… with the other three losses coming to teams with a combined record of 26-10.  Next up: a decent bowl game.
  8. Georgia Tech 8-4.  Georgia Tech beat rival Georgia to get to 8-4, a very nice rebound year for the Yellow Jackets.  No dreadful losses.  A nice win over Virginia Tech.  Having lost to all three 8-4 teams, they get stuck with the #8 slot.  Next up: a decent bowl game.
  9. NC State 6-6.  NC State’s chances of a bowl game required a win at North Carolina.  And they got it.  Coupled with a win over Wake Forest, NC State easily gets the #9 slot.  Next up: a bowl game.
  10. Wake Forest 6-6.  Losses to Army and Boston College take some of the glee out of this otherwise good season for the Demon Deacons.  Next up: a bowl game.
  11. Boston College 6-6.  The Eagles won two conference road games…NC State and Wake Forest to get to 6 wins and bowl eligibility.  With a super soft OOC schedule, they did what they needed to do.  Despite losing to Syracuse, B.C. gets the extra practices and bowl swag.  It is what it is.  Next up: a bowl game.
  12. Duke 4-8.  Duke’s loss to Miami ended the season on a sour note at 4-8.  Duke did beat Notre Dame though.  Next up: 2017.
  13. Notre Dame 4-8.  Notre Dame’s loss to USC ended the season on a sour note at 4-8.  Notre Dame did beat Syracuse though.  Next up: 2017.
  14. Syracuse 4-8.  Syracuse’s loss to Pitt was exciting, but ended the season on a sour note at 4-8.  Syracuse did do amazing things on offense, even in the finale with its backup QB and an injured squad.  Next up: 2017.
  15. Virginia 2-10.  After beginning the season with a loss to in-state Richmond, the Wahoos finished the season with a loss to in-state rival Virginia Tech.  The latter was no surprise.  Next up: 2017.

So, what do you think?  How would you change these rankings?

The Confidential’s ACC Football Over-Unders: Recap.

Every year, the Confidential does over-unders for each ACC school, based solely on the regular season.  In 2014, we had 6 schools correctly pegged within 1/2 a win of their ultimate totals.  In 2015, we improved to 7 schools correctly pegged within a 1/2 a win of their ultimate total.  And now it is on to 2016.  Remember, these are regular season wins only.  No bowl games or playoffs.  Here is the final tally of the Confidential’s over-unders for 2016, as well as the final results/analysis:

Clemson: 11.5 wins.  CORRECT!  At 11-1, Clemson ended up within 1/2 a win of the Confidential’s projection.  And Clemson certainly could have beaten Pitt.  Of course, Clemson should have lost to NC State, Troy, or both.  It is what it is.

Notre Dame: 10.5 wins.  WOEFULLY INCORRECT.  At 4-8, Notre Dame blew a season with a weak schedule.  They lost to Texas (who fired its coach), Michigan State (down season), and Duke (down season), among others.  Just a horrible, terrible season.

Florida State: 9.5 wins.  CORRECT!  At 9-3, Florida State fell a bit short of the under, but this was always setting up to be a tough season for the Seminoles.  They did fine overall.

Miami: 8.5 wins.  CORRECT!  A streaky season for the Hurricanes, with blocks of 4 wins surrounding a block of four losses.

North Carolina: 8.5 wins.  CORRECT!  UNC fell one game short of its win total, like several of the above teams.  In fact, the ACC ended up fairly down by the end of the year.  However, it it was a decent OOC season and the ACC teams fared well in their SEC rivalry games (3-1) again.

Louisville: 7.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  Many folks criticized this one and perhaps deservedly so.  But Louisville losing to Kentucky should silence Cards fans for a while.

Virginia Tech: 7.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  Like Louisville, the Hokies did much better than expected at 9-3.

Pitt: 7.5 wins.   CORRECT!  Despite the difficult schedule, Pitt fared well at 8-4, including the sole win over Clemson so far.

Duke: 6.5 wins.  INCORRECT!   Duke finished at 4-8, well short of the estimated over-under.

North Carolina State: 5.5 wins.   CORRECT!  This one was correct heading into the surprise  victory over UNC, which pushed NC State into the “over” category.

Georgia Tech: 5.5 wins.  INCORRECT.  The Yellow Jackets did much better than expected with an 8-4 regular season.

Virginia: 5.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  Virginia only managed 2 wins.  On to 2017.

Boston College: 5.5 wins.  CORRECT!  BC had an easy OOC schedule and fared well.  Wins over NC State and Wake Forest gave the Eagles the “over.”

Syracuse: 4.5 wins.  CORRECT!  Losing to USF, Wake Forest, and NC State meant that Syracuse could not get the over, despite the Virginia Tech upset.

Wake Forest: 3.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  At 6-wins, the Demon Deacons went way over and are going bowling!

PRESEASON ANALYSIS: By far, the most controversial selection was Louisville at only 7.5 wins.  However, with road trips to Syracuse, Marshall, Virginia, Boston College, and Houston–it is asking a lot of the Cardinals to avoid tripping up against three of its four easiest conference games and two challenging OOC games.  Meanwhile, Florida State and Clemson remain on the schedule.  Notre Dame at 10.5 wins surprised some folks too, but look at who the Fighting Irish play and where.  In any event, it is what it is.  The Coastal, of course, is a mess.  Would any team winning it be a true surprise?  Meanwhile, the Atlantic has NC State, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest in a perpetual battle to avoid the cellar, it seems.

POSTSEASON ANALYSIS: Well, the Confidential edged up to 8 teams picked correctly (within 1/2 game of their final win total).  ND and Duke were the biggest disappointments (along with Virginia), while Wake Forest, Va Tech, Louisville, and Georgia Tech all did better than expected.  Louisville ended up handling its difficult road games, except Houston.  And they almost nipped Clemson.  Anyway, it is an improvement for the Confidential!

 

 

ACC Football Rankings: Week 12

Each week, the Confidential will rank the top 15 teams (includes Notre Dame) in the A.C.C. and provide a brief explanation for the decision.  Feel free to list your own below or otherwise comment.  Here it goes for week 12:

  1. Clemson 10-1.  Clemson rebounded from its first loss of the season to defeat Wake Forest by a comfortable margin.  The ACC’s only hope for a playoff team is the Tigers and that depends on two more wins.  The ACC Championship Game looms, but Clemson must first beat rival South Carolina. Next up: South Carolina.
  2. Louisville 9-2. The Cardinals leapfrogged Clemson in many ACC standings, but not here.  And Louisville confirmed same by losing to Houston convincingly.  This was not the Louisville of the early part of the season.  But a major bowl game is still in play after the rivalry game with Kentucky.   Next up: Kentucky.
  3. Florida State 8-3.  The Seminoles took care of Syracuse appropriately.  This was a nice tune-up before heading into a rivalry game with 8-2 Florida.  The Gators just beat LSU and will be ready.  Next up: Florida.
  4. Virginia Tech 8-3. The Hokies traveled to South Bend and nipped Notre Dame 34-31 to get to 8-3.  Now the Hokies just need to escape a rivalry game with Virginia to get to the ACC Championship Game.  Next up: Virginia.  
  5. North Carolina 8-3. The Tar Heels beat Citadel 41-7.  Hoorah.  North Carolina State comes to town next, really needing a win to get to bowl eligibility.  UNC needs to be ready.  Next up: North Carolina State.
  6. Miami 7-4.  After four straight wins, Miami loss four straight (including to Notre Dame).  Now, Miami has won three straight by handling North Carolina State on the road.   An 8-4 regular season would be an outstanding rebound for Mark Richt and Miami.  Duke comes to town next.  Next up: Duke.
  7. Pitt 7-4.  Pitt destroyed Duke 56-14.  Wow.  A wounded, fading Syracuse team comes to town next.  Syracuse may be “up” for this quasi-rivalry game.  or they may be very very down.  Either way, note that the top 7 teams in these standings are all at home this week.  Next up: Syracuse.
  8. Georgia Tech 7-4.  After sweeping both Virginia schools, the Yellow Jackets have confirmed that this is quite a rebound year.  But the major test remains–rival Georgia.  The Bulldogs have won three straight and are at home.  Next up: @ Georgia.
  9. Wake Forest 6-5.  Wake Forest lost to Clemson, which is no surprise.  Wake Forest is going bowling.  Boston College needs a win to go bowling.  This game will be a tough test for both teams.  Next up: Boston College.
  10. NC State 5-6.  After losing to Miami, NC State’s chances of a bowl now really need a win at North Carolina.  This will be a tough, but hardly impossible test.  Next up: @ North Carolina.
  11. Duke 4-7.  Duke is still bowl-eligible in a sense.  If they can beat Miami, they will be 5-7 and have a great APR to help get them in at 5-7.  The hard part will be beating streaky Miami.  Next up: @ Miami.
  12. Notre Dame 4-7.  We have covered the dismal Fighting Irish season at length.  A win over rival USC would be a nice way to finish a disappointing season.  Difficult to see Notre Dame accepting a bowl at 5-7 though.  Next up: @ USC.
  13. Syracuse 4-7.  Syracuse’s loss to FSU was, as expected.  With the injuries, it is difficult to envision Syracuse beating Pitt at Pitt.  Unlike Notre Dame, Syracuse would jump all over a chance to go bowling at 5-7 though.  Next up: @ Pitt.
  14. Boston College 5-6.  The Eagles beat UConn handily, but deserve minimal credit for having a cupcake OOC schedule. UConn was BC’s toughest OOC matchup, but Syracuse’s third toughest matchup.  Still, BC has a chance to go bowling.  Next up: @ Wake Forest.
  15. Virginia 2-9.  After a loss to Georgia Tech, all that remains is a trip to Virginia Tech with a game against the rival Hokies.  Next up: @ Virginia Tech.

So, what do you think?  How would you change these rankings?

ACC Football: From Riches to Rags in Weeks

For a good part of this season, ACC football was something to brag about.  Entering Week 5, only Notre Dame and Virginia were below .500.  As of Week 10, only Duke was added to those schools and it was very impressive how deep the football depth actually was.  Plus, Clemson and Louisville were a combined 15-1.  Good times!  Even entering this week, there was a way–however unlikely–for both Clemson and Louisville to be in the playoffs.  And then Houston goes ahead and throttles Louisville, 36-10.  So much for that.

Now, the ACC looks to be having a down season.  Clemson is 9-1, but could have (should have) lost to both Troy and NC State.  Although Clemson beat Louisville, Louisville just lost by 26 to a team that lost to SMU.  Florida State has losses to both Clemson and Louisville.  Virginia Tech has lost to Georgia Tech and Syracuse.  North Carolina was blown out by that same Virginia Tech team and lost to Duke.  Miami lost four straight at one point.  North Carolina State lost to Boston College and East Carolina.  Even Notre Dame has been more dreadful than mediocre.  And so on.

This is a long way of saying that maybe, just maybe, this is a year that the ACC does not have a representative in the playoffs.  If Clemson wins out, it (and the ACC) will be there.  But that is it.  Much like Washington is the Pac-12’s only hope, the ACC is down to one school with a chance.  At present, it seems as if the playoff will be: Alabama, (winner of Ohio State/Michigan), Clemson, Washington.  And if everything holds, that is how it should be.

As for Louisville, with Ohio State and Michigan yet to play each other, the Big 10 was guaranteed to have only one school with one loss.  Louisville had a chance to beat out any of those two loss teams by winning out.  It failed.  Now it is part of a group of two loss teams, and not a real opportunity to make the sour taste of a blowout loss fade away.  As always in football, if you are going to lose bad, lose early.  See Penn State, Oklahoma.

 

ACC Football Rankings: Week 11

Each week, the Confidential will rank the top 15 teams (includes Notre Dame) in the A.C.C. and provide a brief explanation for the decision.  Feel free to list your own below or otherwise comment.  Here it goes for week 11:

  1. Clemson 9-1.  After flirting with disaster against Troy and NC State, Clemson finally lost a game to Pitt.  In fairness, this is a decent Pitt team that has beaten Penn State.  But it is the same Pitt that lost to Miami.  The only thing keeping Clemson here is the head-to-head win over Louisville.  Next up: @ Wake Forest.
  2. Louisville 9-1. The Cardinals have an argument for #1 that goes like this… Clemson lost to Pitt, we lost to Clemson–a much better team than Pitt.  However, Louisville did not play Pitt.  And Louisville played Clemson and lost.  Meanwhile, it is odd that Louisville’s conference season is already over.  They travel to Houston for a Thursday tilt against the 8-2 Cougars before playing Kentucky to end the season.  Next up: @ Houston.
  3. Florida State 7-3.  There is an argument for each of the three 7-3 teams to be #3.  North Carolina beat FSU, which is the same logic used above to separate Clemson and Louisville.  However, UNC was drubbed by middling Duke and Virginia Tech, who has lost to middling Syracuse and Georgia Tech.  Meanwhile, the Seminoles have not lost to a team with a worse record, as Louisville, Clemson, and North Carolina are a combined 25-5.  The Seminoles squeak into the #3 spot.  Next up: @ Syracuse.
  4. Virginia Tech 7-3. The Hokies had won three straight headed into a home game with Georgia Tech, where they lost by 10.  Georgia Tech is not horrible, but this was a game that Virginia Tech could have won to show some separation from the rest of the Coastal.  Not to be.  Given Va Tech’s domination of UNC, they get the edge at #4 though.  Next up: @ Notre Dame.
  5. North Carolina 7-3. The Tar Heels were on target to go 10-2, but then they lost to Duke–giving the Blue Devils their only ACC win of the season so far.  Sigh.  While UNC can get to 9-3 with wins over Citadel and NC State, it is just not the same.  Next up: Citadel.
  6. Miami 6-4.  After four straight wins, Miami loss four straight (including to Notre Dame).  Now, Miami has won two straight by a combined score of 85-42.  They beat Pitt, who just beat Clemson.  They also won @ Georgia Tech. They have been “back” and “not back” all season.  With a trip to NC State (who needs a win to get to bowl eligibility) and hosting Duke, perhaps we will really find out.  Next up: @ NC State.
  7. Pitt 6-4.  Pitt had a great win over Clemson, and has another great win over Penn State.  But losses to very good teams like Oklahoma State, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech also happened.  And Pitt also was blown out by Miami.  Against a tough schedule, Pitt has had a “good” season.  Winning out would be nice, with remaining home games against Duke and Syracuse (both teams are 4-6).  Next up: Duke.
  8. Georgia Tech 6-4.  Georgia Tech’s upset win over Virginia Tech got the Yellow Jackets to bowl eligibility.  With games against Virginia and Georgia, 8-4 is not out of the question.  Other than Virginia Tech, however, the wins are not all that impressive: Vandy, BC, Mercer, Duke, and Georgia Southern.  But that win over Virginia Tech separates Georgia Tech from Wake Forest.  Next up: Virginia.
  9. Wake Forest 6-4.  Wake Forest has six wins, but none of them are over teams that are bowl-eligible at the moment.  Wake has also lost to Army and NC State.  Kind of a gift to allow the Demon Deacons to be ahead of NC State, but it has had the better season overall.  Wake can get another win by beating Boston College at home.  Next up: Clemson.
  10. NC State 5-5.  At 5-5, NC State has a win over Wake Forest.  Otherwise, NC State’s wins are over teams below them in these standings (Notre Dame, Syracuse), Old Dominion, and William and Mary.  Losses to East Carolina and Boston College happened.  Really, this is a huge drop off from top 9 to #10 and beyond in the ACC.  Games against Miami and North Carolina can get NC State bowling, but it will not be easy.  Next up: Miami.
  11. Duke 4-6.  This Duke team is not very good, but it beat Notre Dame and North Carolina this year.  To get to bowl eligibility, the Blue Devils will need to win at Miami and Pittsburgh.  Possible, but 0-2 is also possible.  Also possible is that Duke will get one win and get a bowl invite at 5-7 due to APR standings.  Next up: @ Pitt.
  12. Notre Dame 4-6.  The Fighting Irish are 4-6.  The best win was Miami, who sits at 6-4.  The remainder of wins are Army, Syracuse, and Nevada.  With the exception of Navy (7-2), the losses are to programs all disappointed with their seasons so far, such as Texas (5-5), Michigan State (3-7), Duke (4-6), NC State (5-5), and Stanford (7-3).  Wow.  Next up: Virginia Tech.
  13. Syracuse 4-6.  Syracuse has had its moments, but the loss of QB Eric Dungey doomed them in a winnable game against North Carolina State.  There are theoretical ways for Syracuse to make a bowl game, but they will need wins against FSU and Pitt to do so.  Theory meet reality.  The Orange are trending in the right direction though.  Next up: FSU.
  14. Boston College 4-6.  The Eagles win over NC State was a nice boost, and with games against UConn and Wake Forest remaining, bowl eligibility is not out of the question.  But this Eagles team is a clear #14, having lost to Syracuse and having only one conference win overall.  Next up: UConn.
  15. Virginia 2-8.  With only two wins, Virginia is easily the #15 team.  Every other ACC team has at least 4 wins overall.  Anything can happen in the final two road games at Georgia Tech and at rival Virginia Tech, but a 2-10 record is a legitimate possibility.  Next up: @ Georgia Tech.

So, what do you think?  How would you change these rankings?

ACC Football Rankings: Week 10

Each week, the Confidential will rank the top 15 teams (includes Notre Dame) in the A.C.C. and provide a brief explanation for the decision.  Feel free to list your own below or otherwise comment.  Here it goes for week 10:

  1. Clemson 8-0.  The Clemson Tigers are 8-0, one of just four undefeated teams.  They have beaten Louisville and Florida State.  And Auburn.  And they still have four games left in the regular season…all against teams that are at least 4-4 as of today.  So it will be tough to go 12-0, much less 13-0.  But the easiest ranking spot to fill: Clemson.  Next up: Syracuse.
  2. Louisville 7-1. The Cardinals looked very pedestrian against Virginia.  This is not going to impress a playoff committee.  The good news is that the Cards will have a few more chances to do so, including an improved Kentucky squad to end the season to help offset Houston fading.  Averaging 50 points a game still also.  Next up: @ Boston College.
  3. Florida State 5-3.  The Seminoles may have three losses, but they are trending in the right direction–as their game against Clemson showed.  It will be interesting to see how FSU finishes.  Three winnable ACC games (Wake Forest, BC, Syracuse) before the finale against rival Florida, who is now 6-1.  Next up: @ NC State.
  4. Virginia Tech 6-2. The Hokies are bowl eligible with a win at Pitt.  And now it is on to bigger and better things: a Coastal division championship.  They have the edge with wins over NC, Miami, and Pitt.  A trip to Duke is next.  The Hokies stumbled at Syracuse and have to be careful not to allow another blemish.  Next up: @ Duke.  
  5. North Carolina 6-2. The Tar Heels had a week off to prepare for Georgia Tech, which is an advantage for any opponent of the Yellow Jackets and their unusual offense.  The Tar Heels do not need to leave the state for the rest of the year, as the remaining road game is down the street at Duke.  Next up: Georgia Tech.
  6. Pittsburgh 5-3.  Moving up after a loss?  Well, who else deserves this spot? Nobody.  Meanwhile, Pitt has three losses to 6-2 teams by a total of 11 points.  Does not get any easier for the Panthers, who have to travel to Miami and then Clemson.  But, for now, #6 is fitting.  Next up: @ Miami.
  7. NC State 4-4.  NC State remaining at #4 last week was an embarrassing mistake for the Confidential.  And NC State made it worse by being upset by hapless Boston College at home.  With home games against Florida State and Miami, and trips to Syracuse and North Carolina remaining, suddenly a bowl game is in doubt.  That’s what happens when you lose to Boston College.  Next up: Florida State.
  8. Wake Forest 5-3.  Wake Forest was having a GREAT season.  At 5-3 with several winnable games remaining, an 8 or 9 win season was possible.  And then Army beat the Demon Deacons.  At home.  All of the sudden, Wake Forest is looking at the upcoming Virginia game as a must-win.  With Clemson/Louisville to play, Wake Forest does not want to go into that Week 12 game against Boston College with 5 wins, because the Eagles may be playing that game for Coach Addazio’s job (although the BC win over NC State makes that less likely).  Anyway, disappointing week.  Next up: Virginia.
  9. Georgia Tech 5-3.  The Yellow Jackets had two weeks to prepare for Duke and pulled out the victory.  Before scheduling any bowl appearances, however, bear in mind that the next two opponents are road games against 6-2 UNC and Virginia Tech.  The good news is that Georgia is fading.  Next up: @ UNC.
  10. Miami 4-4.  From 4-0 to 4-4.  But it gets a bit easier for Miami.  The toughest remaining opponent is Pitt–and that is a home game.  And the remaining opponents of Virginia, NC State, and Duke are teams with less talent than Hurricanes.  First things first, Miami needs to stop the bleeding.  Next up: Pitt.
  11. Syracuse 4-4.  Syracuse is trending up.  The problem is that the next opponent is Clemson in Death Valley.  It just seems like a game that could be an upset, but is so possible an upset that an upset becomes less likely.  Kind of like a 5/12 matchup in the Big Dance that the #5 seed wins by 20.  Can Syracuse upset Clemson?  Any given Saturday, especially with Dino Babers.  But do not put too much hope into it, Syracuse fans.  Next up: @ Clemson.
  12. Boston College 4-4.  Job saving is the phrase that comes to mind with BC’s win over NC State.  Now the Eagles get a chance to be bowl eligible.  With Louisville, Florida State, UConn, and Wake Forest–there is a path.  All along, BC needed two wins over the group of NC State, Syracuse, and Wake Forest, as well as a win against UConn.  That is what happens with a cupcake OOC schedule.  It remains possible.  Next up: Louisville.
  13. Notre Dame 3-5.  A win over Miami suddenly becomes Notre Dame’s second win over a .500 P5 team.  Of course, if Syracuse and Miami lose this week, that will drop to zero.  At the same time, the Fighting Irish have a fighting chance to beat Navy/Army the next two weeks and get to .500 themselves.  With Virginia Tech/USC looming, they need to sweep the academies.  Next up: Navy (in Jacksonville, Florida).
  14. Duke 3-5.  At 0-4 in conference play, Duke football is fading a bit.  And with a remaining schedule of Virginia Tech, UNC, and trips to Pitt/Miami, this could be a very tough season result.  Next up: Virginia Tech.
  15. Virginia 2-6.  Virginia looked very good against Louisville.  The same team that lost to Richmond by 17, was in the game against Louisville from start to finish–which most opponents have failed to do this year.  Maybe the Wahoos can eke out another win or two this year.  Even if not, there is more reason in November 2016 to think that this thing might get turned around than there was 7 weeks ago.  Next up: @ Wake Forest.

So, what do you think?  How would you change these rankings?

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