ACC football rankings heading into Week 10 of the 2016 season. Clemson and Florida State staged another classic under the lights of Doak Campbell Stadium.
Clemson entered the week in control of its own destiny in the ACC Atlantic, holding essentially a two-game lead in the division because of its head-to-head tiebreaker over Louisville. Florida State welcomed the No. 3 Tigers into Tallahassee on Saturday night looking to make their road to the conference title game a little more difficult. The result was another thriller.
Elsewhere, the Miami Hurricanes traveled up to South Bend for a rekindling of Catholics vs. Convicts. And Virginia Tech scored a 39-36 win against Pitt at Heinz Field on Thursday evening to move even closer to locking up the ACC Coastal Division.
Here’s a look at how the ACC teams rank heading into Week 10 of the season.
Week 10 ACC Football Rankings
14. Duke (Last Week – 14)
Is Duke going to lay a goose egg in conference play? With Virginia Tech, UNC, Pitt and Miami all upcoming, it certainly appears so. Looking back, it’s amazing this team beat Notre Dame. Too many turnovers put the Blue Devils in a hole they couldn’t crawl out of.
13. Boston College (13)
IT’S OVER! IT’S OVER! THE STREAK IS OVER! BC HAS WON AN ACC GAME (its first conference win since November 29, 2014 against Syracuse)!
Enjoy the taste of ACC victory, Eagles, because Louisville and FSU are next on the docket.
12. Virginia (12)
Virginia had Louisville on the ropes and let the Cards off the hook. Poor third down efficiency hampered the Cavaliers. First order of offseason business for Bronco Mendenhall must be to shore up the run game, which currently ranks No. 122 nationally.
11. North Carolina State (8)
Racking up nearly 100 yards in penalties is a surefire way to become the first ACC team to lose to Boston College since 2014. When looking back on the season, the best thing we might say about this team is that it played in a hurricane and won – the Wolfpack are 0-3 since beating Notre Dame. Dave Doeren, welcome back to the hot seat.
10. Georgia Tech (11)
Career day for Justin Thomas, with his 459 total yards (264 passing and 195 rushing) and four total touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets tried to give the game away midway through the fourth, but dug deep and ultimately pulled out a win in a game that was closer than it should’ve been. For all the doom and gloom on The Flats, Paul Johnson’s team is 5-3 and has a very good shot at reaching a bowl – something that was up in the air when sitting 3-3 midway through October.
9. Wake Forest (9)
Wake lost to Army for the first time since George Herbert Walker Bush was in the first year of his presidency (1989). This was supposed to be the game that sent the Demon Deacons bowling. Alas. At least Virginia and Boston College are still on the schedule.
8. Syracuse (10)
The Orange certainly earned their bye week, coming off two consecutive victories for the first time all season. Hopefully Syracuse rested up, because two of the next three games are against the ACC’s premier programs: Clemson on Nov. 5 and FSU on No. 19.
7. Miami (6)
Do we drop the hammer on Miami for falling into an early 20-0 pit against Notre Dame, or do we laud them for storming back and nearly winning the game? Probably somewhere in the middle. Notre Dame is not a good football team – as evidenced in the second half – but Miami sure propped them up. Mark Walton and Joseph Yearby were ineffective and nonexistent, in that order. Ten penalties for 86 yards is very concerning, as this team isn’t yet good enough to overcome self-inflicted mistakes.
6. Pittsburgh (7)
Pittsburgh went blow-for-blow with Virginia Tech in a stellar Thursday night game. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they were, again, unable to guard agains the pass (now giving up 312 passing yards per game), as Jerod Evans carved them up for 406 yards. Ultimately, two late 3-and-outs and some penalties on offense stifled any hope for a comeback.
5. Virginia Tech (5)
The Hokies received a major victory at Heinz Field on Thursday. Outside of dominating UNC in the middle of Hurricane Matthew, this was Virginia Tech’s biggest road victory of the season. Jerod Evans was fantastic while gutting out an ankle injury, and the running game was balanced. Pitt running back James Conner exploited a normally stout run defense, but when it mattered the Hokies clamped down and ground out the win.
4. North Carolina (4)
Having an extra week to prepare for Georgia Tech’s quirky triple option is a benefit. And then beyond that, games against Duke, the Citadel and NC State all make for a manageable closing slate. It’ll be a shock if the Heels don’t end the regular season at 10-2. Judging by the below tweet, the Tar Heels kept it loose during their bye week.
3. FSU (3)
This isn’t what Seminoles fans or Jimbo Fisher wants to hear, but FSU was not expected to beat Clemson. The ‘Noles were without their second leading receiver, and star defensive back Derwin James was still out with an injury. That the energy and emotion under the lights of Doak carried them within an eyelash of an upset should be lauded. Let’s all also take a moment and appreciate Dalvin Cook, who will go down as the best running back in program history. He lives for the big game, and put the team on his back in this one – rushing for 169 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries.
2. Louisville (2)
Louisville was very underwhelming for the first 45 minutes against Virginia before finally showing up in the fourth quarter. Todd Grantham’s defense forced a turnover early in the fourth, the Cardinals scored a touchdown off it, the defense forced a three-and-out, the Cards scored a field goal and it was off to the races. It wasn’t the prettiest of performances, but Louisville went on the road, battled and won. Not every game can be a blowout.
1. Clemson (1)
If “bring your own guts” was the theme for last year’s Notre Dame game, it must be the mantra for this whole season. It feels like every game has a BYOG component to it. In this one, it was giving up a long touchdown run to Dalvin Cook to close the third quarter, opening the final period down eight points, and then scoring 17 while trading leads to eke out a victory – Dabo Swinney’s first at Doak. When you’re undefeated and in a Power Five conference it doesn’t matter how you look doing it, just win, baby. Clemson is mastering the gut-check game right now. Up next is a dangerous Syracuse offense, followed by a physical Pitt team.