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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?