Here is this week’s Confidential Correspondents Football Poll! Still hard to differentiate a lot of these teams… even at the bottom.
13-15. Wake Forest (2-3); Virginia (1-3), and Virginia Tech (2-3)(0 points). Welp, these three teams did not receive ANY votes. Nothing to say, other than the obvious–only wins will change that.
12 Boston College (2-2)(5 points). So far, BC has lost to undefeated Florida State and once-defeated Duke. And somehow folks have Louisville, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina State ranked above them.
11. Georgia Tech (2-3) (7 points). With losses to Notre Dame, Duke, and North Carolina, the Yellow Jackets difficult season is going even worse than expected. No rest for the weary as they must travel to Clemson next. With Florida State and Georgia on the schedule, bowl eligibility is not a certainty.
10. Miami (3-1, 9 points). From 4 to 10, as the correspondents recognize that, once again, Miami is just not ready to return to prominence. A loss at Cincinnati is not the end of the world. But, needless to say, you are not a playoff team if you cannot beat ANY of the AAC teams on the road. The idea of Miami as a football powerhouse is simply as obsolete as referring to DePaul as a basketball powerhouse. An entire generation simply does not remember “the U” that way.
9. North Carolina State (4-1, 10 points). We mocked NC State’s schedule. Deep down, however, we wondered if they could be a very good football team. The loss to 1-3 Louisville is more reasonable in real life than the records suggest. With trips to Virginia Tech and Wake Forest (see above), this team could reach bowl eligibility by mid-October.
8. Pittsburgh (3-1, 13 points). After Iowa’s upset of Wisconsin, the Pitt loss to the Hawkeyes is not looking nearly as bad. And the Panthers welcome Virginia to town this week, a realistic chance at getting to 4-1.
7. Louisville (2-3, 17 points). Yes, two correspondents from Louisville lead to such things as the Cardinals being the only team below .500 in the top 10–and they are ranked #7 overall. In fairness, the Louisville schedule was very frontloaded–with a back six of BC, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Virginia, Pitt, and Kentucky. Much more daunting in hoops than the gridiron. With Florida State up next in two weeks, Louisville may be 2-4 heading into that back half.
6. Syracuse (3-1, 22 points). Winston Wolf had a particularly relevant quote in Pulp Fiction about getting excited prematurely. In other words, at 3-1, Syracuse has done exactly what was expected–even if Syracuse fans feared it might not happen. Now it comes down to whether Syracuse can exceed expectations the rest of the way. A trip to South Florida is the last OOC game and the first road game. The Orange cannot afford to lose this game.
5. UNC (4-1, 23 points). All of the sudden, North Carolina is making some serious noise in the Coastal. There is a potential Duke-UNC showdown for the division title looming. You know, just like ACC leadership expected when it added Miami, Virginia Tech, and Pittsburgh to that division. Kudos to the Tar Heels for taking care of business so far.
4. Duke (4-1, 34 points). The loss to Northwestern suddenly does not look so bad. It was not an indication that Duke was retreating into irrelevance again. Even better, Duke has a trip to Army coming up. This will be a tough matchup…tougher than one might expect. Duke’s defense will have to continue to carry the day. So far, this has not been a problem.
3. Notre Dame (4-1, 41 points). The Fighting Irish played valiantly in Death Valley, but this team is not ready for the playoff. Moreover, injuries are really starting to take a toll. Still, this is a team that could very well get back to and stay in the top 10 all season long. USC and Stanford are the only remaining ranked foes.
2. Florida State (4-0, 44 points). Florida State has not really looked great in a few seasons now, right? Seriously, has this team overwhelmed any competent opponent since the national title? At the same time, the Seminoles’ record speaks for itself over that same span. It will be interesting to see what FSU does with hapless Miami this week. Will the Hurricanes out-effort FSU and stay in the game? Or will FSU be up for the game and put its rival out if its misery early?
1. Clemson (4-0, 50 points, 5 first place vote). Clemson beat Notre Dame. In doing so, it made this poll very easy—as the Tigers were a unanimous #!. No other position had unanimity. But there are still 9 games standing between Clemson and the playoffs. Some will be obviously difficult (FSU, South Carolina). But it is games against desperate opponents–as in Georgia Tech this week–that has burst the Clemson bubble in years’ past. Has Dabo Swinney eliminated this from the program? We will see soon enough.
What do you think? How do you rank these teams?