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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the tag “rankings”

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?

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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 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?

The Confidential’s ACC Basketball Preseason Rankings

The Confidential’s football top 15 rankings are a regular thing.  With basketball right around the corner, it is time to roll out a preseason ranking.  This is sure to fire up some folks–but, remember, no games have even been played yet.  And if bubble teams can make Final Fours every few years, even a middle of the pack team has a chance.  In any event, here are the preseason rankings:

  1. Duke. Duke is as stacked as ever, with top recruits and a lot of returning experience surrounding Grayson Allen.  More than enough ingredients for Coach K to bake a Final Four cake.     
  2. North Carolina.  The Tar Heels have lost considerable talent, but Virginia and Syracuse have lost a lot too.  It will probably be a step back, but don’t be surprised to see UNC in the hunt to win the ACC.
  3. Syracuse.  Huh?  Syracuse lost some players to the NBA off a team that barely eked into the Big Dance, but has had an influx of transfers to fill out the roster.  Hard to argue against that.
  4. Virginia.  The Wahoos are one of several teams battling for the #2 spot behind Duke, and a potential surprise to win it all.  One wonders if there will be a hangover from the difficult loss to Syracuse in the Big Dance last year.
  5. Louisville.  A very good team.  And even if it is not in November, Rick Pitino will find a way to make them even more dangerous by March.
  6. Florida StateThe second tier is led by Florida State, who is capable of threatening to rise to the top tier under Leonard Hamilton.
  7. MiamiThe Hurricanes take a step back this year, but don’t expect them to drop TOO far.  The Florida hoops teams are doing quite well of late.
  8. Notre DameThe Fighting Irish lost a great player, but still return three starters.
  9. Virginia TechSooner or later, Buzz Williams will have the Hokies making some noise.
  10. Clemson.  Clemson had a few nice upsets last year and will look to build on that this year.
  11. Wake Forest.  Danny Manning has things moving in the right direction.
  12. Pittsburgh.  The loss of Jamie Dixon will be felt this year.
  13. North Carolina State.  The offense will lag behind the defense this year.
  14. Georgia Tech.  Still rebuilding under Josh Pastner.
  15. Boston College.  Oh well.

Projected NCAA bids: BOLD.  Projected Post-Season bids: Italics.

What do you think?  How would you rank the top 5, top 10, and/or top 15? 

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?

ACC Football Rankings: Week 9

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 9:

  1. Clemson 7-0.  Two weeks to prepare for Florida State in another epic battle.  Florida State is trending up, so Clemson needs to be ready.
  2. Louisville 6-1. The Cardinals got back to normal against NC State, who was #4 in these standings heading into the game.  A game in which it was 44-0 in the first half.  Lamar Jackson may or may not win the Heisman, but he has been dominant more often than not.  Virginia comes to town next and it could get ugly quickly for the Wahoos.
  3. Florida State 5-2.  Bowl eligibility is a goal for some schools, but not Florida State.  A win against Clemson is for keeping alive the hope for an 11+ win season.
  4. NC State 4-3.  NC State lost big to Louisville, which has happened to nearly every Louisville opponent.  The schedule lightens up this week, as Boston College (who was handled by Syracuse) comes to town.
  5. Virginia Tech 5-2. The Hokies got back to being the Coastal favorite by defeating Miami, on the road, by a few touchdowns.  Next up is a Thursday trip to Pittsburgh and a chance to get to bowl eligibility already.
  6. North Carolina 6-2. The Tar Heels dominated rival Virginia to get to 6-2, making it two straight conference road wins.  UNC gets a week off before hosting Georgia Tech.
  7. Wake Forest 5-2.  Wake Forest has had a great season and gets Army next–with bowl eligibility on the line.  Louisville and Clemson are likely losses, but Virginia and Boston College are two remaining home games that Wake Forest can also win.  An 8-win season remains on the table.
  8. Miami 4-3.  From 4-0 to 4-3.  And now the Hurricanes are off to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish, who are desperate for a win.  All of the sudden, the Miami is back discussion has softened.  This will take some time, Miami fans.
  9. Pittsburgh 5-2.  After beating Virginia, Pitt is quietly 5-2.  But the schedule down the stretch is very tough.  Pitt can beat anyone, including Clemson.  They could also lose out.  The Coastal is that wild.  Needless to say, Pitt will be what it will be.  Next up: Virginia Tech on Thursday, with the winner getting bowl-eligibility.
  10. Syracuse 4-4.  At 4-4, Syracuse is about where it should be, realistically.  They could have beaten Wake Forest and USF.  They could have lost to Virginia Tech and at Boston College.  In any event, with two wins over ACC foes and a win over UConn, Syracuse gets the #10 spot this week.  Enjoy the “bye,” Syracuse.  Next up is a trip to Clemson.
  11. Georgia Tech 4-3.  The Yellow Jackets have had two weeks to prepare for Duke.  The problem is that Duke has had two weeks to prepare for Georgia Tech’s unique offense–which isn’t THAT unique to its Coastal foes anymore.
  12. Duke 3-4.  See above.  Duke will be on the road, which gives Georgia Tech the edge.
  13. Boston College 3-4.  Boston College used to be about defense, but Syracuse moved the ball fairly easily against them–with Syracuse stopping itself by several false starts and red zone turnovers.  Meanwhile, BC’s scoring came from a kickoff return and a QB scamper for a TD that caught the Syracuse defense flat-footed.  In the absence of sustained drives and solid defense, this is becoming a very tough season for the Eagles.  The remaining schedule include Louisville and Florida State, as well as trips to improved North Carolina State and Wake Forest.  At this point, even the game against UConn has to be in doubt, and with it the future of the coaching staff.  Next up is a trip to NC State.
  14. Notre Dame 2-5.  Miami comes to town next for Notre Dame.  Is it good timing for the Fighting Irish that the Hurricanes have lost three straight?  Is it bad timing that Miami will be hungry for a win?  Does it matter?  The only thing that is clear is that these two teams both need to win badly and only one of them will be happy.
  15. Virginia 2-5.  With only two wins, Virginia is stuck at #14.  And it is hard to find another win on the schedule.  Notre Dame, however, still hosts Army and Navy, while USC and Miami are very mortal.  Even Virginia Tech showed some vulnerability–losing to Syracuse.  In contrast, the combined record of the teams left on Virginia’s schedule is 24-11.  No easy games.  Next up is the toughest remaining–Louisville comes to town.

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

ACC Football Rankings: Week 8

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 8:

  1. Clemson 7-0.  Beating opponents is good, but Clemson has certainly kept it close and interesting all season long.  Live by the sword, die by the sword.  If you are going to do that, someone will trip you up eventually.  Two weeks to prepare for Florida State in another epic battle.
  2. Louisville 5-1. The Cardinals got a week off to rest and prepare for Duke, but looked like it never bothered to wake up.  While Duke’s defense may be stout, Louisville was still expected to score a bit more than 24 points.  A win is a win.  Next up: North Carolina State, who is not far down these standings at the moment.
  3. Florida State 5-2.  Look whose back!  After a win over a Wake Forest team that seems to be very real, especially on defense, the Seminoles are 5-2.  Like Clemson, FSU gets two weeks to prepare for their matchup.
  4. NC State 4-2.  NC State came a 33-yard field goal away from beating Clemson.  A loss in overtime shows that North Carolina State is legitimate.  Still a lot of work to do to keep and maintain what may be a temporary spot at #4.  Next up is a trip to Louisville.
  5. Wake Forest 5-2.  Yes, that is 5 straight Atlantic teams at the top of the standings.  Who else?  Wake Forest has lost to two teams–5-2 Florida State and 4-2 NC State.  Va Tech lost to Syracuse, but Wake Forest beat them.  Hard to NOT put the Demon Deacons here.  Two weeks to prepare for Army and bowl eligibility that comes with a win there.
  6. Virginia Tech 4-2. Syracuse is not yet a good team.  And they handled Virginia Tech at home.  While the Hokies were in the drivers’ seat in the Coastal entering this game, everything is a mess now.  Next up–5 days to prepare for Miami.
  7. North Carolina 5-2. The Tar Heels did fine at Miami to improve to 5-2.  When you start comparing losses, it is hard to put North Carolina up higher just yet.  The Coastal will sort itself out over time.  Next up is Virginia and a chance to get bowl eligibility already.
  8. Miami 4-2.  With a chance to put away the ghost of mediocre coaches past, Miami has now lost two straight.  While the talent at Florida State and North Carolina speaks for itself, Miami is again looking at a tough slate to get to 8 or 9 wins.  5 days to prepare for a trip to Virginia Tech.  Then a trip to Notre Dame, who may be fighting for bowl eligibility.  And so on.
  9. Pittsburgh 5-2.  After beating Virginia, Pitt is quietly 5-2.  The wins are OK–Penn State, Georgia Tech, etc.  But the schedule gets much tougher in the second half: Virginia Tech, @Miami, @ Clemson, Duke, Syracuse.  A bowl is likely, obviously, but can Pitt get that far beyond 6 wins?
  10. Georgia Tech 4-3.  As expected, Georgia Tech beat Georgia Southern to get to 4-3.  And now they get 14 days to prepare for Duke.  At least the Georgia game at the end of the season looks more winnable.
  11. Duke 3-4.  Who knows what Duke is?  They lost to Louisville, but played them very very well.  It is all Coastal down the stretch and it could get ugly.  But if they play like they played Louisville, maybe not.  Next up is a trip to Georgia Tech.
  12. Boston College 3-3.  Boston College used to be about defense, but they have been outscored 122-24 in conference play this year.  They have several more days to prepare for Syracuse.
  13. Syracuse 3-4.  “With hot Va Tech coming to town, it could get that much more unlikely that much faster.  Perhaps worse Syracuse teams have pulled upsets, but it is what it is.”  That what why Syracuse was #15 last week.  Instead of continuing to fade, Syracuse pulled one of its biggest upsets in history and earned its way a few spots up the standings.  Next up is Boston College and a chance to get back to .500.
  14. Virginia 2-4.  With only two wins, Virginia is stuck at #14.  And it is hard to find another win on the schedule.  Road trips to Wake Forest and the two Techs.  Louisville and Miami are still due to come to town.  Next up, rival North Carolina visits.
  15. Notre Dame 2-5.  Well, Notre Dame is in deep trouble now.  The only ACC team with 5 losses.  Sure, Army and Navy are still on the schedule, which should mean 4 wins.  But how can the Fighting Irish even get to 6 wins on a season with 8 home games and a neutral site game?  While Notre Dame beat Syracuse, the only other win was Nevada.  Syracuse’s wins over Virginia Tech and UConn are actually better, despite the head-to-head.

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

ACC Football Rankings: Week 7

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 7:

  1. Clemson 6-0.  Boston College used to have a great defense.  After allowing over 100 points in its last two conference games, maybe not.  Either way, Clemson rolled over B.C. on the road to get to 6-0.  They are now halfway to the Conference Championship game.  They need to take care of NC State and not look forward to Florida State though.
  2. Louisville 4-1. The Cardinals got a week off to rest and prepare for Duke.
  3. Virginia Tech 4-1. With a 34-3 drubbing of the Tar Heels in the inclement weather, the Hokies may officially be “back.”  North Carolina was flying high entering the game, but left with its Coastal tag between its legs.  Virginia Tech travels to Syracuse to face the fading Orange.
  4. Florida State 4-2.  Sure, it was not beautiful, but it was the 7th straight win for the Seminoles over Miami.  The trajectory of these two rivals is getting closer, but Jimbo Fisher got the win to keep FSU in the running for a major bowl.  Wake Forest is next and will not be easy.
  5. Miami 4-1.  Miami has narrowed the gap considerably–but still fell short against FSU 20-19.  So close.  But there is no time to rest as a hungry North Carolina team will be coming to town next.  To stay in the Coastal hunt, Miami needs to take care of business.
  6. NC State 4-1.  NC State has a win over Wake Forest, who at 5-1 is taking major steps forward.  NC State also has a win over Notre Dame, who has talent all over the field and handled Syracuse easily.   Oh, but things get very challenging with a trip to Clemson this week.
  7. Wake Forest 5-1.  Wake Forest just keeps winning.  After losing to NC State, they made several major mistakes and still put Syracuse away.  At the halfway point, the Demon Deacons need just one more win to go bowling… and Army, Virginia, and Boston College are all on the schedule.  Next up, a trip to Florida State, who may have just found some confidence with a win over Miami.
  8. North Carolina 4-2. The Tar Heels could be higher, with losses only to Georgia and Va Tech.  This shows just how deep the ACC is now.  Unfortunately, UNC must now travel to Miami, who will be looking to rebound from its disappointing loss to rival FSU.
  9. Pittsburgh 4-2.  The Panthers were able to beat Georgia Tech by a field goal, moving to 4-2.  A trip to Virginia is next.  While Syracuse and Duke will come to town to end the season, the next three weeks involve games against Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech.  A Virginia win is essential.
  10. Georgia Tech 3-3.  After starting 3-0, the Yellow Jackets are now 3-3, with losses to Clemson, Miami, and Pitt.  They need to defeat Georgia Southern, who (fortunately for Ga Tech) is not quite the same under its new coach.  A good opportunity to right the ship.
  11. Duke 3-3.  A win is a win, and Duke beat Army 13-6 to get to .500.  All six remaining games are against teams above Duke in these standings, so there is a real risk of Duke missing out on a bowl this year.  Next up: Louisville, who will be looking to take out two weeks of post-Clemson frustration on the Blue Devils.  Yikes!
  12. Boston College 3-3.  Boston College used to be about defense, but they have been outscored 122-24 in conference play this year.  They have 15 days to prepare for Syracuse.
  13. Notre Dame 2-4.  The loss to NC State shows just how far the Fighting Irish have fallen.  Someone joked that it is a good thing that Notre Dame is not in the ACC because it would drag down the conference S.O.S.  And that joke was true.  To get to bowl eligibility, Notre Dame will have to win four of these games: Stanford, Miami, Army, Navy, Virginia Tech, and @ USC.  Yes, that is five straight home games in a schedule with only three true road games.  And no Clemson, FSU, or Louisville on the schedule.  Stanford and USC are both down, while Texas and Michigan State are fading.  To miss a bowl in a season with THIS schedule would be dreadful.
  14. Virginia 2-3.  Virginia got the week off and gets to move up to #14.  After all, they have a better record and a win over a P5 program (which Syracuse does not).  Next up is 4-2 Pitt.
  15. Syracuse 2-4.  The Orange are fading fast.  With six games left, bowl eligibility is mathematically alive.  But the loss to Wake Forest may have put that reality out of its misery.  With hot Va Tech coming to town, it could get that much more unlikely that much faster.  Perhaps worse Syracuse teams have pulled upsets, but it is what it is.  With wins over Colgate and UConn, Syracuse deserves the #15 spot until the results prove otherwise.

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

ACC Football Rankings: Week 6

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 6:

  1. Clemson 5-0.  No knock on Louisville, but Clemson gets the spot at 5-0, with a win over Louisville.  Maybe Louisville wins this game if played at home.  Maybe Louisville wins this game if played on a neutral site.  Maybe Louisville wins this game 6 or 7 times out of 10.  Maybe Louisville wins this game with better refs.  But Clemson won THE GAME that was actually played.  The best way to keep refs out of the game is to make them irrelevant by winning by a large margin.
  2. Louisville 4-1. Despite the loss, the Cardinals have a win over Florida State already on the resume.  So that gets them the #2 spot.  Even if Miami beats Florida State, Louisville will likely keep the spot.  What Louisville must do is remain focused and realize that winning out may yet get them a playoff spot–especially if Clemson stumbles against Florida State down the road.
  3. Miami 4-0.  Miami did what they were supposed to do in beating Georgia Tech.  But this is exactly the type of game that Al Golden would lose.  So now Miami has cleared its first obstacle.  The next obstacle is Florida State–who has dominated the Hurricanes of late.  Mark Richt can put a huge stamp on the resurrection of Miami by winning this game.
  4. North Carolina 4-1. The Tar Heels have four straight wins, as 2016 is setting up exactly like 2015–a disappointing loss to an SEC team that fades into obscurity and then a lot of wins.  Only this year, North Carolina has now gotten past Florida State too.  While an argument can be made for Virginia Tech at #4, we’ll make the Hokies earn it on the field against the Tar Heels this week.
  5. Virginia Tech 3-1. This was a tough one.  Both Virginia Tech and North Carolina have one loss.  They play this week.  North Carolina lost to Georgia, while the Hokies lost to Tennessee.  Again, the Hokies can easily take the #4 spot with a win over UNC.  Earn it on the field.
  6. Florida State 3-2.  Sure, the Seminoles have two losses, whereas a few ACC teams still only have one loss.  But the Seminoles beat Ole Miss and have lost to two teams that have only one loss UNC and Louisville.  A loss to Miami may yet in the cards though, as this is becoming a real rebuilding year for Florida State.
  7. NC State 3-1.  NC State has a loss to East Carolina, which pales into comparison with how Virginia Tech dominated ECU.  The win over previously undefeated Wake Forest propels them into the #7 spot though.  With Notre Dame coming to town, this is a huge statement game.  More importantly, with consecutive trips to Clemson and Louisville following this game–a loss can mean the realistic possibility of being 3-4 heading into the final 5 games.
  8. Wake Forest 4-1.  Well, Wake Forest had a chance to get itself into bowl eligibility with a 6-0 start, but it was doubled-up by North Carolina State, 33-16.  This puts Wake Forest behind NC State in the standings also.  Now it must face a Syracuse offense that can put points on the board in ways that Wake Forest perhaps cannot.
  9. Georgia Tech 3-2.  The Yellow Jackets are 3-1, with losses to Clemson and Miami–two teams that are a combined 9-0.  No shame in that.  Now Georgia Tech must travel to Pittsburgh, to face another 3-2 team that finds itself a few teams back in the Coastal standings.
  10. Pittsburgh 3-2.  The Panthers recovered from consecutive losses by defeating Marshall.  As expected.  The schedule gets tough again, with Georgia Tech coming to town, followed by a trip to Virginia.  After that, there are games against Virginia Tech, Miami, and Clemson–a combined 12-1.  So the importance of these next two games cannot be understated.  A bowl remains likely, but can Pitt can beyond merely 6 or 7 wins?
  11. Boston College 3-2.  Boston College has now beaten UMass, Wagner, and Buffalo en route to a 3-2 record.  Things get very real with Clemson up next.  An argument could be made for Duke here (who beat Notre Dame), but they just lost to Virginia.  Notre Dame just beat Syracuse, but they lost to Duke.  Meanwhile, Syracuse and Virginia have no business at #11 yet.  So B.C. gets this position–however temporary–by default.
  12. Duke 2-3.  It is hard to put Duke ahead of the pack, having lost to Virginia, who is at the bottom.  But Duke did beat Notre Dame, so Notre Dame cannot be ahead of Duke with the same record.  Next up is Army, which should be an easier game for Duke.
  13. Notre Dame 2-3.  The Fighting Irish did what they needed to do–beat Syracuse.  With Stanford and Miami looming, they really need to defeat North Carolina State–which will be tough on the road.  For now, Notre Dame gets the #13 spot.
  14. Syracuse 2-3.  The ‘Cuse could be #15.  But Syracuse has had to play Louisville (4-1), USF (4-1), and a desperate, hungry Notre Dame team.  They get to keep the #14 spot for another week.  Dino Babers can get them back to .500 with a win @ Wake Forest.
  15. Virginia 2-3.  Virginia got another win–this time over Duke.  It just shows the depth of the coaching and talent in the ACC that the #15 team is this good.  If Virginia had only just taken care of Richmond–it remains an anchor on these standings.

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

ACC Football Rankings: Week 5

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 5:

  1. Louisville 4-0. The Cardinals are averaging 63 points per game.  That makes the 58 points against Marshall a disappointment.  And it is odd that Marshall scored more points against Louisville than Florida State.  But all eyes–including GameDay–turn to Death Valley where Louisville faces its toughest test of the regular season (well, maybe it will be @ Houston).  If Louisville can get by this one, look out.  But Clemson has the offense and defense to keep up with Louisville, and home field should be an advantage.
  2. Clemson 4-0.  While Louisville has looked impressive racking up its 4 wins, Clemson has not.  The nice win over Georgia Tech is another step in the right direction.  Louisville coming to town will be Clemson’s biggest challenge to date as Lamar Jackson is every bit the QB that Watson is.  The Heisman hype has shifted from Watson to Jackson too.  This should be a great game.
  3. Florida State 3-1.  Florida State’s offense put up 55 points on a decent South Florida defense.  But the defense is allowing a lot of points.  With North Carolina coming to town, things need to get righted pretty quick.  The playoff picture may be bleak for the Seminoles, but a prime bowl is still in the mix.
  4. Miami 3-0.  Miami got a week off… giving them two weeks to prepare for Georgia Tech’s unique offense.  That is a nice advantage.  This is the type of game Miami has lost during the past decade.  They are only cautiously slotted at #4.
  5. Wake Forest 4-0.  The Confidential told you that the Demon Deacons had the potential for 9 wins.  And they are already almost halfway there.  NC State is a big rivalry game, and it is on the road (again).  If they can win this one, a bowl is almost a certainty.
  6. Virginia Tech 3-1. This was a tough one.  Both Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech lost to highly ranked teams, with Clemson being a better team than Tennessee.  Both teams beat Boston College, Virginia Tech very handily.  But the Hokies are really starting to put up some offensive and defensive numbers… cannot ignore that.  East Carolina has been a thorn, but was quickly weeded and dispatched.  
  7. Georgia Tech 3-1.  The Yellow Jackets are 3-1, with only a loss to Clemson… no shame in that.  If the Yellow Jackets can beat Miami, they will rise substantially.
  8. North Carolina 3-1. The Tar Heels have three straight wins, as 2016 is setting up just like 2015–a disappointing loss to an SEC team that fades into obscurity and then a lot of wins.  But this year, Florida State is on the schedule.  And a trip to the Seminoles will show whether North Carolina is going to have a season similar to last year.
  9. Pittsburgh 2-2.  The Panthers have now lost two straight… albeit to decent teams.  Penn State is not the Penn State of old though, and Pitt seems to be taking a step back all of the sudden.  They get Marshall this week, who just got a taste of Louisville.  They will be ready.
  10. NC State 2-1.  NC State gets to host Wake Forest this week.  In August, this game looked like a tune-up game.  Now, Wake is 4-0 and has some momentum.  Things get pretty scary if NC State loses this game.  With Notre Dame replacing one of their four annual OOC cupcakes, and the other Atlantic foes looking solid, there are few spots for wins after this game.
  11. Duke 2-2.  Duke rebounded from the loss to Northwestern by beating Notre Dame at Notre Dame.  In fact, Notre Dame went ahead and fired its defensive coordinator thereafter.  Virginia comes to town, fresh off a win off its first win.  And with Army looming, Duke is still in the hunt for bowl eligibility.
  12. Notre Dame 1-3.  Notre Dame is in trouble.  Brian Kelly fired the defensive coordinator.  Texas is better, but not Texas.  Michigan State is good, but looked terrible against Wisconsin.  And Duke is not a juggernaut this year.  If Notre Dame cannot beat a Syracuse team that is giving up points aplenty, it is time to panic.
  13. Syracuse 2-2.  The Orange got past UConn, which is nice.  The offense is struggling to put up points, but generally moving the ball.  The defense is porous, but did better against UConn’s deliberate offense.  Few Orange fans expected a win against Notre Dame, and fewer still expected a win after the losses to Louisville and South Florida.  Somehow, however, Notre Dame’s struggles are giving the ‘Cuse optimism.  We’ll see.
  14. Boston College 2-2.  Boston College beat up on Wagner, and its embarrassingly easy OOC schedule continues with Buffalo next.  Not the Bills, but the Bulls–losers to Albany this year.  If B.C. is to have any chance of a bowl, it has to win this week.
  15. Virginia 1-3.  Virginia got a win!  A win is a win, and Central Michigan is no pushover.  Next up?  A trip to Duke.

So, what do you think?  Are we being too harsh on Georgia Tech for a loss to Clemson?  Is Florida State too high given their defensive woes?  Any other errors in your opinion?

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