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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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?