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ACC Week In Review

Each conference has their power tier teams, a middle tier, and then.. the rest. The ACC is no different. We’ll go tier by tier and see if any teams have shifted each week. Coming into this season, that tiered system went as follows:

Tier 1: Clemson, North Carolina, Miami

Tier 2: Florida State, Virginia Tech, NC State, Pittsburgh, Virginia

Tier 3: Louisville, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Duke

Tier 1

Clemson

The top contender to make it back to the playoffs from the ACC, your Clemson Tigers! Clemson has had a huge amount of turnover at key positions, so it was expected by most that they’d take a step back. Not only that, but they had an incredibly difficult opening game against a team who has their own National Championship aspirations. From the defensive perspective, Clemson played as well as they conceivably could. They gave up 3 points. On offense, however, their line really struggled to keep the pocket clean or open running lanes. The biggest score of the game was the pick-6 thrown in the 2nd quarter. The game felt like it was dominated by Georgia, but the scoreboard didn’t reflect that. That’s something to hang your hat on if you’re Clemson. You’re not likely to face many front 7s like Georgia again this year.

Tier movement: none

North Carolina

Nothing says UNC football like being ranked and then immediately blowing it. The game was close throughout, but UNC never looked like they had it together. They struggled with consistency on offense and had some issues here and there on defense that allowed Virginia Tech to get up on them early. I don’t think they expected to be going into half down 14-0. They made adjustments at halftime and came back to make it a game, but ultimately couldn’t get it together. But look at it this way, at least now you don’t have so much pressure.

Tier movement: none

Miami

Speaking of pressure, Miami’s defense actually did a good job of generating it. Unfortunately for them, their secondary was unable to cover or tackle. This game was over early with a 27-3 halftime score. That penalty leading to the 3 points before halftime was a joke, too. It could’ve easily been 66-13 at the end, but Alabama took their foot off the gas in the second half. No one really expected Miami to win this game. I think they were a 17-point underdog by kickoff. That’s a crazy amount of points for a top-15 matchup. But it also shows that Miami is probably not a top-15 program yet. They have talent, but they need to put it together. App State will be a real challenge next week.

Tier movement: none


Tier 2

Florida State

FSU has had a nice steady decline since Jimbo’s national title team of 2013. He left the cupboard bare when he bolted for A&M, and FSU made a poor hire with Willie Taggart. Now they’re on year 2 of Norvell and things seem to be trending in the right direction. On the defensive side, they made Jack Coan look like an amazing QB. You can’t let that guy throw for 4 TDs and 366 yards. He was sacked 4 times, but they were inconsistent on getting pressure on him. Not only that, but when he did get a throw off, it was pretty much guaranteed the receiver would catch it. Those DBs were not sure how to defend a pass. They gave too much space in the middle and the TE really gave them fits. Offensively, they made too many mistakes. The starting QB Travis had some boneheaded plays that led directly to points. The run game looked great, though. Even when ND knew it was coming, they couldn’t stop it. Maybe that says more about Notre Dame.. FSU should be 4-1 going into their game @UNC.

Tier movement: none

Virginia Tech

Great win for a team that didn’t have very high expectations. Time is running out for Fuente, so he needed this win more than anyone. Give them credit, they showed up on defense. They shut down UNC’s attack completely before half and stymied it enough after halftime to hold on for the win. There’s a chance for VT to be 4-0 before playing Notre Dame, but the West Virginia game is going to be a challenge that they may not overcome. We’ll see how much of this result was because of VT being good rather than UNC choking under the pressure.

Tier movement: none

NC State

While not technically an FCS team, USF is much worse than many FCS teams. I can’t draw any real conclusions from this game.

Tier movement: none

Pitt

Speaking of FCS-quality teams, UMass might be D2-quality. They’re flat out awful. I guess it’s nice that Pitt blew them out, but I don’t expect this to be a regular thing for the Panthers. Their schedule is weak to start and they could get their fans excited about a 6-0 start before dropping 4 or so.

Tier movement: none

Virginia

FCS team blowout. They allowed 0 points, so that’s good. If they struggle with Illinois, we’ll know this game was a total joke.

Tier movement: none


Tier 3

Louisville

They really needed a good start to the year to help the general image of coach Sat. So far he’s a cool 12-12 at UL. Unfortunately, their week one opponent is trending up while Louisville is maybe holding steady as a lower tier ACC team. Their defense couldn’t stop anything and it took a full half before they got their offense going. It could be a long season.

Tier movement: none

Wake Forest

Wake gave ODU the business. ODU is bad. They also didn’t play last year at all. And they only technically played in 2019, going 1-11. Let’s wait and see on Wake. They have a true FCS team next week before they play FSU.

Tier movement: none

Syracuse

A solid win over a MAC team. Next week against Rutgers is an interesting matchup because both teams are currently a mystery. Rutgers is always tough under Schiano, but they played a miserable Temple team. Who knows how good they actually are. It may be a long wait to find out who Cuse really is. They play FSU on October 2nd.

Tier movement: none

Boston College

Congrats, you blew out an FCS team. They have 2 miserable teams before hitting Mizzou, who is probably not very good. Then they get Clemson, who they somehow always play tough. Overall, BC has a relatively easy schedule so we’ll see how good they really are.

Tier movement: none

Georgia Tech

A home loss to a MAC school to open the season. Not exactly what GT fans were expecting. Geoff Collins is very quickly becoming persona non grata. I expect this season to be his last. They have an FCS team next week and there’s no guarantee they win that. Then they go to Clemson. There’s a guarantee they will NOT win that.

Tier movement: none

Duke

Duke was beaten at home by a C-USA team. Hmm. Not a great start. The game was really fun, back and forth action. It looked like Duke had it wrapped up with a late TD before giving up yet another TD to finally blow the game at the end. Charlotte is not a total joke of a team, but they’re also not very good. Duke is truly the king of all cellar dwellers in the ACC. Next up is an FCS team, so I expect a win.

Tier movement: none