With ACC football on the slate today and tomorrow, now is a good time to release the Confidential’s Correspondents’ Poll for this week. Note that few ACC teams have tested themselves yet, and the one that have have failed (UNC, Louisville, Virginia). This makes the poll quite varied, with all 15 teams getting votes. In any event, here is the poll results–working from last to first:
15. Wake Forest (1-1, 1 point). With a tough loss at Syracuse, it is hard to argue that Wake has a worst loss than Louisville’s home loss to Houston. And Auburn is hardly looking like world-beaters. Still, the correspondents have little to go on to put Wake Forest higher. Next up for Wake Forest? A trip back to NY to play Army.
14. Louisville (0-2, 3 points). Yeesh, 0-2 with Clemson coming to town? Cardinals fans certainly were braced for 1-2 and hoping for better. If they are 0-3, does the coaching seat get hot?
13. Pittsburgh (2-0, 5 points). Despite not having any losses, Pitt has lost its all-world running back and now has to face a difficult Iowa team. Pat Narduzzi should know what he is up against after all those years in the Big 10 though.
12. Virginia (0-2, 7 points). Virginia is exactly where we thought they would be–0 and 2. However, Virginia came “this close” to beating Notre Dame. Unlike Louisville, Virginia plays William & Mary (and presumably several dozen other folks) this week. A must-win obviously.
11. North Carolina (1-1, 8 points). An expected win and an expected loss. With Illinois up next–the same Illinois team that fired its coach a week before the season, this is a game that the ACC (and UNC) needs to show that it can play with the Big 10.
10. Virginia Tech (1-1, 15 points). As we get to the top 10, we see a Hokies team that lost its QB, which eliminated any chance of beating Ohio State. The win over Furman was nice, but it is just Furman. A trip to Purdue–another lower level Big 10 team–will tell a lot more.
9. Boston College (2-0, 17 points). The Eagles have dominated its two FCS opponents, outscoring them 100-3. That is obviously better than barely defeating them, much less losing. Still, has this prepared BC for its next opponent in FSU? Well, FSU has struggled to dispense with BC with better teams. This will be a very interesting game to watch.
8. Syracuse (2-0, 17 points, 1 first place vote). The Orange get the #8 spot based on getting a first-place vote. After all, Syracuse is the only team with a conference win. The Orange have a must-win game this weekend against Central Michigan. There is no room for upsets if Syracuse is to go bowling.
7. Duke (2-0, 20 points). The Blue Devils have not truly been tested yet. That changes when a decent Northwestern team comes to town. This is another very important game for the ACC to show it can play with the Big 10. And for Duke to show that it is a program on the rise for the long-term.
6. North Carolina State (2-0, 21 points). North Carolina State has been repeatedly criticized for playing only cupcakes and that continues this week. At least they travel to the next few cupcakes, with Old Dominion on the schedule this week. 3-0 is halfway to a bowl game.
5. Miami (2-0, 24 points). The Hurricanes have been a perpetual disappointment in the ACC. Miami has too much talent relative to its results. If Al Golden can get the home win against Nebraska, then maybe some momentum can build for Miami to challenge for the Coastal spot in the playoffs.
4. Notre Dame (2-0, 33 points). The Fighting Irish have beaten Texas and Virginia. And now a very good Georgia Tech team comes to town. Will ND get the QB play necessary to make a playoff run this year? First things first–can ND’s defense stop Georgia Tech?
3. Georgia Tech (2-0, 51 points, 1 first place vote). The Yellow Jackets have not been tested yet, but will be in South Bend. In fact, Georgia Tech has a challenging schedule moving forward. This is where we learn if Georgia Tech will be nationally relevant or merely Coastally interesting.
2. Florida State (2-0, 53 points, 3 first place votes). The Seminoles have looked OK. Is that good enough? The next two opponents–Boston College and Wake Forest–have been tricky opponents in recent years. A win this week should not be discounted.
1. Clemson (2-0, 54 points, 1 first place vote). The Tigers have a great QB. The Tigers always have a good defense. The schedule is tough though. Louisville may be 0-2, but they are battle tested and a difficult opponent on Thursday nights at home. Despite the Cardinals struggles, Clemson cannot be looking past the Cardinals to Notre Dame or Georgia Tech. In fact, Louisville should be all the more desperate with their season on the line. Should be a great game!
What do you think? How do you rank these teams?