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ACC Football Rankings: Week 3-4

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 the week between Weeks 3 and 3:

  1. Louisville.  The Clemson win at Auburn was nice, but what Louisville did to Florida State was staggering.  The Confidential actually expected the Cardinals to win, but to win so convincingly was a surprise.  Again, Lamar Jackson is the real deal. Louisville needs to handle Marshall and not look forward to the game at Clemson in two weeks.
  2. Clemson.  Clemson finally started looking like Clemson.  Unfortunately, it was against an FCS opponent.  Clemson needs to get it together ASAP against an improved Georgia Tech squad that is 3-0 with wins over Boston College and Vanderbilt.  If Clemson is looking ahead to Louisville, there could be trouble.
  3. Florida State.  Logically, Florida State should drop substantially given that they have one loss, while a few ACC teams are still undefeated.  But the win against Ole Miss is still better than the wins that Miami< Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest have put up.  As bad as Louisville made the Seminoles look, we’ll leave them at #3. They travel to South Florida this week, the second straight week of playing a team on the road that just beat Syracuse on the road.
  4. Georgia Tech.  The Yellow Jackets are 3-0, with wins over Boston College and Vanderbilt.  Nobody else below them in these standings has two wins over P5 teams (Louisville does, though).  If Georgia Tech can beat Clemson, they will be the early favorites in the Coastal.
  5. Miami.  Miami continues to win and is starting to make some noise about being an ACC contender.  The schedule strength is going to ramp up and we’ll learn a lot in two weeks when the Hurricanes make their ACC debut this year against Georgia Tech.
  6. Wake Forest.  Don’t look now, but the Demon Deacons are 3-0, and their next three opponents are @ Indiana, @ NC State, and home against Syracuse.  They still have Boston College, Army, and Virginia on the schedule.  It is not impossible for them to sweep all of these games en route to a 9-3 season, right?  We’ll see.  But better to be 3-0 than what the teams below have.
  7. Virginia Tech.  At 2-1, the Hokies have wins over Liberty and Boston College.  The latter was impressive, given that the Eagles defense is ordinarily quite stout and 49 points was surprising.  Still, it is “just” Boston College, so the Hokies are plugged in at #7.
  8. Pittsburgh.  At 2-0, Pitt had a real chance to make its mark against an Oklahoma State team that had lost to Central Michigan.  But the Panthers defense was not strong, allowing 45 points in a 45-38 loss.  For Pitt, this puts them squarely in the middle of these standings, and the team on their heels is, no pun intended, the Tar Heels–Pitt’s next opponent.
  9. North Carolina. The Tar Heels went to Illinois and won and then held serve against James Madison.  They get to host Pitt this week to battle for a more significant move up these standings.
  10. NC State.  NC State bounced back from the East Carolina loss to beat Old Dominion 49-22.  This puts them at 2-1 and the slight edge over what is likely a “better” Notre Dame team.  Of course, the Fighting Irish come to town on October 8, so this edge will have to be earned shortly.  Next up is Wake Forest, though.
  11. Notre Dame.  Notre Dame is 1-2, having lost to an improved Texas team and a solid Michigan State team.  Of the 1-2 teams, these are the two most impressive losses (so far, anyway).  Duke is up next.
  12. Boston College.  Boston College is 1-2, like Syracuse.  B.C.’s losses were to 2-1 Virginia Tech and 3-0 Georgia Tech.  The Eagles have a win over UMass, and FBS opponent.  This gives them the slight edge over Syracuse (and Duke).  Next up are Wagner and Buffalo–two good chances for wins.
  13. Syracuse.  The Orange “D” was atrocious against Louisville and not much better against South Florida.  After jumping out to a 17-0 lead, the Orange stopped moving the ball and stopped stopping the movement of the ball.  As Louisville and South Florida are better opponents than Wake Forest and Northwestern, Syracuse gets a clear edge over Duke for the #13 spot.  The FCS opponents favor Syracuse slightly too.  Up next, a chance for a win against similarly-talented UConn, albeit on the road.
  14. Duke.  Look, losing to Wake Forest at home is not the end of the world, but losing to a Northwestern team with losses to West Michigan and Illinois State is not great.  1-2 keeps them out of the basement, but Duke is trending down.  And Notre Dame is up next.
  15. Virginia.  The only 0-3 team–Virginia looked better against Oregon than Richmond, and looked much better against UConn.  Perhaps Virginia can pull out a few victories this year after all?  Well, with Central Michigan up next, you would think MAC opponent, but the Chippewas beat Oklahoma State on the road, which Pitt could not do.  We’ll see.

So, what do you think?  Should we have dropped Florida State farther?  Any other errors in your opinion?

ACC Football Rankings: Week 2-3

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 the week between Weeks 2 and 3:

  1. Clemson.  The Tigers did not look impressive against Troy, barely winning 30-24.  Troy did win their first game, however, by 40+ points.  So maybe this is a better than expected Troy team.  Regardless, Clemson gets the nod here because of its win AT the Auburn Tigers, which is the best win of the top 3 teams.
  2. Florida State.  The Seminoles took care of its FCS opponent, Charleston Southern, 52-8.  Coupled with a win on a neutral site against Ole Miss, FSU is a clear #2.  Whether they keep it after this week is another story.
  3. Louisville.  As good as Louisville looked in beating Charlotte, they looked even better beating Syracuse.  But Syracuse is no Auburn or Ole Miss.  So Louisville will have to earn its surge up these standings on the field… which comes this week in a game against Florida State.  Lamar Jackson is the real deal.  The Louisville defense looks stout.  Not only is Louisville “capable” of winning, Louisville may actually take it to the Seminoles.  We’ll see.
  4. Miami.  Miami continued its parade of games against middling Florida opponents, beating Florida Atlantic, 38-10.  With Kaaya at QB, the Hurricanes get to keep their slot–even if the true tests do not come until later.
  5. Georgia Tech.  The Yellow Jackets are 2-0, adding a win over Mercer to their resume.  Vanderbilt is up next–we shall see what happens.
  6. North Carolina. The Tar Heels went to Illinois and won–and, although Mac teams seem to do it every year–for a P5 team to win at a Big 10 school is always worthy of maintaining its spot in the standings.  So, we keep UNC here.
  7. Notre Dame.  Notre Dame beat Nevada, entitling it to also keep its place in the standings.  Next up for the Fighting Irish is Michigan State.  We’ll learn a lot about Notre Dame’s fortunes this week.
  8. Wake Forest.  Although most ACC power rankings had Wake Forest low, they had a win over Tulane, whereas other schools had wins over F.C.S. opponents.  Well, the Demon Deacons went to Duke and got another win.  At 2-0, with a win over Duke, Wake Forest deserves its #8 ranking all the more.  It stays ahead of Pitt by having a road win.  Not sure Penn State is any better than Duke.
  9. Pittsburgh.  5 teams were tied for #10 last week because they were 1-0 with a win against an FCS opponent.  only one pulled out a victory in Week 2, as the Panthers beat Penn State, albeit at home.  A win over Penn State has to be enough to put a 2-0 team ahead of a 1-1 team.
  10. Boston College.  Boston College is 1-1, with a loss to Georgia Tech and a win over UMass–an FBS opponent.  Despite the win, B.C. at 1-1 with a win over UMass simply cannot be atop Pitt with a win over Penn State.
  11. Virginia Tech.  There are 4 ACC teams at 1-1 with a win over an FCS foe only.  Of them, Virginia Tech lost on a neutral site to a top 15 team in Tennessee.  This is more impressive, or less unimpressive, than the other three teams combined loss/win characteristics.  Ergo, the Hokies get the nod.
  12. Syracuse.  The Orange “D” was atrocious against Louisville, but the Cardinals may make a lot of defenses look atrocious.  Compared to Duke losing at home to Wake Forest and NC State losing to East Carolina, Syracuse gets the #12 spot this week.
  13. NC State.  East Carolina may or may not be “better” than Wake Forest, but Duke lost at home, while NC State lost on the road.  Both teams were playing in-school opponents, but this loss just seems more understandable overall.  Edge to the Pack.
  14. Duke.  Look, losing to Wake Forest at home is not the end of the world, but it might just show that the Duke surge of recent years may be waning.
  15. Virginia.  The only 0-2 team–Virginia looked better against Oregon than Richmond.  Perhaps the Spiders are better than the Ducks?  Well, this happens from time-to-time.  At least there is some momentum for the Wahoos–who do have prior history to look at in terms of FCS losses and rebounds.

So, what do you think?  Should we have re-arranged Clemson, Florida State, and Louisville?  Are you finally ready to believe that Wake Forest is top 8?  

ACC Football Rankings: Week 1-2

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 the week between Weeks 1 and 2:

  1. Clemson.  The Tigers get the nod here because they did not fall way behind against Auburn.  That gives them a slight edge over Florida State.
  2. Florida State.  Again, Clemson looked slightly better in beating Auburn, but Florida State certainly dominated the second half.  Then again, the opposite happened in the first half.  These things will sort themselves out in due time.
  3. Louisville.  We are having some fun at Bobby Petrino’s expense, and others have REALLY taken him to task, but Louisville looked real, real good in beating Charlotte.  The Confidential may have under-valued Louisville by a win.  Still, need to take care of business against upstart Syracuse.
  4. Miami.  With a lot of teams beating FCS opponents, the nod has to go to a team beating an FBS opponent, even if a lesser opponent, but a substantial margin.
  5. Georgia Tech.  The Yellow Jackets beat Boston College, but it is possible that “hapless” may end up being a modifier for Boston College this year.  Then again, the Eagles have a pathetically easy schedule.  So we’ll slot Ga Tech behind Louisville and Miami, but ahead of the other winners.  Also skeptical that Georgia Tech can stay here, while the above teams have more perceived staying power.
  6. North Carolina. This came down to a battle between Notre Dame and North Carolina for the 6th spot, with the Tar Heels taking the edge this week.  Georgia was primed for a victory under its new coach and had a home field advantage (despite a technically neutral location).  If UNC cannot topple Illinois, could be a big step back for the Tar Heels this year.
  7. Notre Dame.  Losing to Texas usually is not shameful.  Losing to Charlie Strong usually is not shameful.  But the recent struggles suggest otherwise.  Plus, Texas played Notre Dame last year, so there should have been some familiarity.  Edge to the Tar Heels.
  8. Wake Forest.  On the one hand, Wake Forest beat Tulane–a well coached team in the American.  On the other hand, Tulane’s not a defensive team and the Demon Deacons mustered only 7 points.  On yet another hand, Wake Forest BEAT an FBS foe.  SO we give them #8.
  9. Boston College.  If losing to Texas and Georgia are enough to keep UNC and Notre Dame above Georgia Tech, what about losing to Georgia Tech?  Well, B.C. just did not look good enough to inspire confidence.  But fair is fair.
  10. Pittsburgh/Virginia Tech/Syracuse/Duke/NC State.  Rather than try to separate them this week, we can just lump them together into one slot–as they all did what they needed to against FCS opponents.
  11. Virginia.  If beating an FCS foe is unimpressive, losing to one is disastrous.  Being blown out is indescribable.  The easiest ranking of the week is Virginia in last.

So, what do you think?  Should we have dropped Wake Forest and BC behind the FCS beaters?  Swapped Clemson/FSU?  Let us know.

A Quick Look at the ACC Schools’ Out-of-Conference Opponents

The Confidential has already done its over-under projections for each team in 2016.  In doing so, it became obvious that some ACC teams are scheduling tough, and some ACC teams are scheduling weak opponents.  Let’s take a closer look (bold games are rivalries or conference-dictated games with Notre Dame).

  • Boston College: UMass, Wagner, Buffalo, UConn
  • Clemson: Auburn, Troy, S Carolina State, South Carolina
  • Duke: NC Central, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Army
  • FSU: Ole Miss, Charleston Southern, USF, Florida
  • Georgia Tech: Mercer, Vanderbilt, Georgia Southern, Georgia
  • Louisville: Charlotte, Marshall, Houston, Kentucky
  • Miami: Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Appalachian State, Notre Dame
  • North Carolina: Georgia, Illinois, James Madison, Citadel
  • North Carolina State: William & Mary, East Carolina, Old Dominion, Notre Dame
  • Pittsburgh: Villanova, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Marshall
  • Syracuse: Colgate, USF, UConn, Notre Dame
  • Virginia: Richmond, Oregon, UConn, Central Michigan
  • Virginia Tech: Liberty, Tennessee, East Carolina, Notre Dame
  • Wake Forest: Tulane, Delaware, Indiana, Army

The Annual Greg Schiano Pansy Scheduling Award:

Boston College–after years of decent, tough scheduling, the Eagles decided to go to the opposite extreme with UConn being the toughest opponent.  Not a single P5 opponent, which is unique to the conference and earns this spot.

Runner-up: Wake Forest gets the nod by having Indiana on its schedule.  Do not sleep on Tulane under its new coach. Army is never a pushover either.

The To Be The Best, You Must Beat the Best Award:

Pittsburgh: After a great leap last year, the Panthers are looking to not only win the Coastal, but make playoff noise if they can win out.  Villanova is a tougher-than-normal FCS opponent.  Then, Penn State and Oklahoma State will be two huge out-of-conference tussles.  Marshall is no slouch either, especially for a late-season game.

Runner-up: North Carolina is taking on an SEC foe and a Big 10 foe (albeit Illinois).  Although Virginia Tech has Tennessee and Notre Dame, the latter was dictated by the ACC.  Credit to the Hokies, but UNC did its two major conference opponents 100% voluntarily.

The That’s Just How Champions Schedule Award:

Clemson (tie): With South Carolina at the back end of the schedule, Clemson still went ahead and scheduled Auburn at the front end.  When you are in the hunt for the playoffs year-after-year, only then does scheduling matter and Clemson is doing the right thing by having two SEC schools.  Not Clemson’s fault if South Carolina is/becomes a dumpster fire.

Florida State (tie): Florida State added Mississippi to Florida,  This may be an even tougher combination than Clemson’s.  Or it may not be.  Either way, credit to the Seminoles for scheduling tough, as a potential playoff team should.

If we had to rank the schedule difficulty, without regard to how the teams were scheduled, we would do it this way

  1. Florida State–USF as a third opponent trumps Troy
  2. Clemson–see above
  3. Virginia Tech–Tennessee and Notre Dame are two very difficult opponents for the Hokies
  4. Pittsburgh–Penn State and Oklahoma State are two very difficult opponents scheduled voluntarily, while Villanova and Marshall are local teams with the motivation to ruin Pitt’s season
  5. North Carolina–like Pitt, UNC had to get Georgia and Illinois on its schedule without the ACC’s help.  Still, it is only Illinois.
  6. Duke–the ACC forced Duke’s hand on Notre Dame, but Northwestern is a quality add.
  7. Georgia Tech–Georgia is an annual foe, but Vanderbilt is a second P5 school.
  8. Louisville–Kentucky is what it is… the Indiana of the SEC.  Houston will/should be very good. A very challenging schedule, on top of Clemson/FSU.
  9. Syracuse–usually at the top of this list, Notre Dame keeps Syracuse above many schools, while USF is a good AAC team.  Probably.  Neither USF or UConn are P5 teams.
  10. Virginia–Oregon will be tough, the remainder is not
  11. NC State–Notre Dame is tough, East Carolina is good.  William & Mary and Old Dominion?
  12. Miami–Notre Dame and little else, although App State is always capable of the upset, while the local schools will WANT to win badly
  13. Wake Forest–Indiana is what keeps Wake Forest out of the basement.  Pretty sad.
  14. B.C.–when UConn anchors your OOC schedule, you have made your path as easy as possible.  A team that upset USC a few years ago is capable of a little bit more challenge than this.

What do you think?  Did we get these awards/rankings right or wrong?




The Confidential’s Preseason All-ACC Team

With football season about 30 days away, now is as good a time as ever to distribute the 2014 Preseason All-ACC teams.  So, without further adieu, here are the First, Second, and Third teams.


QB:       Jameis Winston, Florida State

RB:       Duke Johnson, Miami; Karlos Williams, Florida State

WR:      Jamison Crowder, Duke; Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh; Rashad Greene, Florida State

TE:        Nick O’Leary, Florida State;

OL:       Cameron Erving, Florida State; Sean Hickey, Syracuse; Tre Jackson, Florida State; Laken Tomlinson, Duke; Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech

DL:       Vic Beasley, Clemson; Mario Edwards, Jr., Florida State; Luther Muddy, Virginia Tech; Grady Jarrett, Clemson

LB:       Denzel Perryman, Miami; Stephone Anthony, Clemson; Kelby Brown, Duke; Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech

DB:       Anthony Harris, Virginia; Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech; Jeremy Cash, Duke; PJ Williams, Florida State

ST:        Roberto Aguayo (K), Florida State

Continue to 2nd and 3rd team…

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Syracuse Orange: Team of Destiny?

With the Syracuse Orange having recently ascended to their third #1 ranking in five years, a lot of the talk has been if Jim Boeheim’s squad is the team to beat.  The notion has been phrased different ways; “the national title Syracuse’s to lose”, “The title is there for the taking”, but all boil down to the idea that Syracuse is really, really good and deserve their share of time at #1.  The fact that Syracuse’s selection was the first unanimous one since  Duke in the 2010-11 season lends weight to that argument and, of course, a 23-0 record doesn’t hurt either.

Yet, looking back at that Orange this season, another phrase comes to mind when I think of this particular squad: a team of destiny.

Now, what do I mean when I say that?  Do I mean that I literally believe some cosmic entity has preordained the Orange to win a national title? Well…no, of course not.  What I mean is that whatever it’s taken for Syracuse to win, that’s exactly what has happened.

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Much-Maligned ACC Football Trending Well in Recruiting

According to ESPN’s latest football recruiting rankings, the ACC has three of the top 10 teams, with Notre Dame knocking at the top 10 at #11.  Specifically, Florida State is at #4, Clemson is at #8, and Miami is at #10.  The three traditional ACC powers are where they should be in the recruiting rankings.  But there is other good news.

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Louisville 2014 Football Recruiting Update

With the Louisville Cardinals historical 2012-13 year coming to an end with a disappointing CWS performance its time to start looking ahead. Before we focus in on the 2013 football season lets jump ahead a bit. It’s still early in the 2014 recruiting process but the Cardinals are putting together one of their best classes ever. Louisville first ACC class brought in 15 commitments already, a number that is highly unusual for them. ESPN, Scout and Rivals are still evaluating the 2014 class and as the athletes compete in their senior season there will be many changes in the rankings. Even though its still early, lets take a look at some of the Cards top commits. Read more…

Conference Comparisons: Football Recruiting

ESPN obviously does a very thorough job covering college football recruiting. Led by Tom Luginbill, has evaluations of players, schools, and conferences.  Yesterday, they updated the conference rankings for football recruiting.  The results may be surprising:

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Quick Poll: ACC Basketball v SEC Football?

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