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.